The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia today approved Dalton State College’s application to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy, bringing to 18 the number of four-year degrees offered by the College.
The new degree is offered as a completion program for practicing Registered Respiratory Therapists and will be effective fall 2014. Dalton State has offered the Associate of Applied Science in respiratory therapy, a two-year degree, since 2006.
The 2013 job placement rate for Dalton State respiratory therapy graduates was 100 percent.
“Although a BS degree is not yet required for entry level employment, practitioners holding the degree are given preference in promotions to administrative positions as well as broader clinical responsibilities,” said Dr. Sandra Stone, vice president for academic affairs.
“This new program provides current holders of the AAS credential a fast track for obtaining the BS degree while still allowing them to work and provide for their families,” she said. The program will be delivered using traditional classroom methods in combination with hybrid and/or fully online formats, and classes will be offered predominantly in the early evening one night a week to accommodate students’ work schedules.
Because the students have already achieved the advanced Registered Respiratory Therapy credential, there will be no additional clinical practicum requirement, and students should be able to complete the degree within five semesters.
“We have received strong support from regional hospitals and other health care providers in both Georgia and Tennessee for this program, and we have a number of former and current students, along with other practicing RRTs, who are eagerly waiting to enroll,” Dr. Stone said.
“The addition of this new bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy strengthens our program offerings in the health professions,” said Dr. Stone.
Work begins soon to renovate Dalton State’s former Technical Building into the new home for the School of Health Professions. The new space will be home to the College’s nursing and allied health programs, including the bachelor of science in nursing, associate of science in nursing, licensed practical nursing, respiratory therapy, radiologic technology, medical lab technology, medical office assisting, and phlebotomy.
Dalton State’s Respiratory Therapy program was recognized in 2012 with the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. Only eight percent of accredited programs nationwide receive such recognition, according to Max Pierce, director of the program at Dalton State.
“Dalton State has a proud tradition of producing highly skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals for the Northwest Georgia region,” said Dr. John O. Schwenn, president. “This new bachelor’s degree program will allow more respiratory therapists to broaden their knowledge base and skillset, making them more competitive in the marketplace and more proficient in the healthcare setting.”
Those interested in learning more about the Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy are invited to call Dalton State’s School of Health Professions at 706-272-2457.