Samford University’s School of Health Professions is now accepting applications for two new programs in the Department of Cardiopulmonary Sciences. The baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in respiratory care are set to begin in fall 2016.
According to Jonathan Waugh, department chair, Birmingham and the surrounding region are experiencing unprecedented demand for respiratory therapists, and the time has never been better to pursue a career in the field. “A national shortage of respiratory therapists, combined with the increasing need to care for an aging population and the rapidly changing landscape of health care, creates a critical need for highly trained clinicians in this specialty,” said Waugh.
“A large portion of the population is expected to face breathing problems, and these individuals will need high-quality, compassionate health care,” Waugh added. “Our programs prepare graduates to make a difference in these people’s lives.”
Both the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care and the Master of Science in Respiratory Care are entry to profession degrees that prepare graduates to take national board examinations to obtain a state license to practice immediately following graduation, Waugh said. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of respiratory therapists will grow by more than 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than average for all occupations.
Samford’s Master of Science in Respiratory Care is the only program of its kind in Alabama, and the bachelor’s degree program is one of only two in the state. Waugh cited a number of factors that set Samford’s program apart from others, including unique clinical and research experiences.
“Our students will have access to clinical experiences that are not available in most programs. They will have the opportunity for specialization, including medical flight transport experiences with the Pediatric Pulmonary Center at Children’s of Alabama and allergy and asthma clinics,” said Waugh.
“Students will also be a part of small research teams that allow them to work alongside experienced faculty to solve real-world problems,” he added.
Applications to the Master of Science in Respiratory Care program will be accepted through July 15. Undergraduate students interested in respiratory care can declare the major at any time.