Associate’s degree in Respiratory therapy – An Overview
Respiratory therapy is a healthcare profession in which specialists work with patients suffering from cardiopulmonary and respiratory difficulties. Respiratory therapists work to identify, suggest treatment and monitor the progress of these patients.
Respiratory therapists work with respiratory technicians and other healthcare professionals such as physicians, pharmacists and nurses to help provide relief to patients of all ages, right from infants to the elderly. The field of respiratory therapy involves testing a patient’s lung capacity; determining the concentration of oxygen and other gasses in the blood, measuring the patient’s pH level in the blood, etc.
Education & qualifications
An associate degree of science in respiratory therapy is the minimum educational requirement (and in most cases the first step) towards becoming a respiratory therapist. However, those looking to advance their careers with higher paying and administrative jobs can always opt for a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in respiratory therapy.
Successful completion of the associate degree program enables the student to take the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) entry level Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and advanced level Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credentialing exams.
The NBRC offers the Certified Respiratory Therapy credential to those students who have completed an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) of the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Students looking for respiratory therapy programs should be careful to choose one that has been accredited by either one of these accrediting agencies.
Independence University is an example of a college that offers online degree programs in respiratory therapy at the associate and bachelor levels. If you look at an Independence University review, you will find that the college has been accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and their respiratory therapy program has been accredited by the CoARC.
Other reviews of Independence University shed light upon the college’s financial aid assistance programs, career services and FAFSA help. One of the biggest attractions to the college is the fact that students are asked to select an instructor (a Registered Respiratory Therapist) before the program begins, who serves as their clinical instructor throughout the tenure of the program. They are also asked to choose a local sponsoring facility where they can complete their clinical instruction.
Career Prospects over the next few years
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for respiratory therapists are expected to grow by 21 percent between 2008 and 2018. Respiratory therapists can earn salaries ranging from anywhere between $37,920 and $69,800. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos321.htm
Respiratory therapy is a field that deals with intricacies of cardiopulmonary and breathing disorders. If you love to help sick people, have a keen eye for detail and are able to work as a team to diagnose these problems, respiratory therapy might make a great career choice for you.
How to find the right online degree program
Finding the balance between education and other responsibilities can be a monumental task especially when you take into consideration factors such as managing the tuition, traveling expenses, the commitment to your program along with daily responsibilities. This is where an online degree comes into play.
But how can you find the right online degree program? What can you do to make sure you make the right choice about your degree? The following points should help you find the right online degree program to fit your needs, personal interests and professional goals.
Self-motivation & discipline
One of the biggest advantages of pursuing a degree online is the freedom to study at a pace most convenient to you. However, it is important for you to remember that in order to complete assignments and meet deadlines, a certain amount of self-motivation and discipline is required on your part. If there is no doubt in your mind about doing what is required to complete your program (and do it well!), should you look into an online degree program.
Know your interests & do your research well
Take time to identify your interests; the level of education you’d like to obtain and the career you envision for yourself. List your interests and search for colleges that provide online programs in these areas. Independence University is an example of an accredited college that offers online degree programs in healthcare and business.
The Internet acts as a great tool to help you narrow down your choices by providing reviews and testimonials by students who have studied at these colleges. A look at an Independence University review will give you more information about the legitimacy of their programs. Most of the Independence University reviews give details about their accreditation, the financial aid programs it supports, and the overall satisfaction of students with the college, but it’s always good to call the college directly and speak to the admissions office.
Once you find an online degree program that suits your liking and needs, spend some time asking the college’s admissions office a few questions:
· Is the college accredited? If yes, then is it a recognized accrediting body? You can check with the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), as both these organizations maintain databases of recognized accrediting bodies.
· How many students are currently enrolled in the degree programs?
· What is the student-teacher ratio?
· What financial aid programs are supported and/or offered?
· Are career services offered to the students?
· What technical support and student services are offered to the students during their program?
· What is the college’s refund policy should you decide to discontinue with your program?
Utlimately your success in the degree program will largely depend upon the conscious efforts you take in familiarizing yourself with how an online class works, how actively you participate in student chat rooms and discussion boards, and how well you maintain a healthy flow of communication with your instructors and complete your assignments.
Is My Online Degree Valid?
It is a known fact that over the last decade online education has fast gained popularity.Online education makes a viable option for working professionals and adults with work or family commitments to pursue higher education without really having to alter their current lifestyles.Employers too have become more accepting of online degrees and have started giving employees with online degrees the recognition they deserve.
Today, a large number of well-reputed colleges offer online degrees, but there is always the fear of getting scammed by a diploma mill. How can you tell if a college is a diploma mill? How can you be sure of the validity of your degree?
What is a diploma mill?
A diploma mill is a fraudulent organization that hands out academic degrees and diplomas to students with very little or no academic study for a certain sum of money. The organizations hold accreditation by unrecognized accreditation bodies and hence, degrees or diplomas earned from these organizations hold no value.
How can you tell if a college is a diploma mill?
· If the college has a name closely resembling another well-known university
· If they provide you with the name of a fake accrediting organization
· If they fail to provide you with an address
· If they offer no interaction with the professors or faculty
· If the degrees can be earned in far less time than normal. (For example: 15 days)
· If there is very little or no study required to obtain the degree
How can you be sure of the validation of your degree?
· Do a background check on the accreditation. A legitimate accreditation agency will be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and both these organizations maintain databases of legitimate accrediting agencies on their websites. Independence University is an example of a distinguished online university that offers associate, bachelor and master level degree programs in healthcare and business. Independence University accreditation is that of the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) recognized by U.S. Department of Education.
· Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to make sure that the college is operating legally and to gain an insight into the complaints filed against the college.
· Read student and alumni reviews about the college and the programs they offer.
· Question the college about its faculty, their level of expertise, their educational qualifications etc.
· Inquire about financial aid and student services.
A well-reputed, accredited college, (online or on campus), will offer its students career services, tutoring, financial aid, access to the college’s library system, advising and many other such services to help make education fruitful and wholesome; but most of all, it will provide you with a degree that is valid. Do your research well and pick a college best suited for you.