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UT Health Science Center To Offer New Respiratory Care Degree

UT Health Science Center

SAN ANTONIO — A new Master of Science in Respiratory Care degree will be offered by the School of Health Professions, part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, with an eye on the number of people that suffer from respiratory diseases — from asthma to COPD — in the U.S.

The school received approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer the degree. Students can begin the application process for the new master’s degree program. The first class of students for the two-year program will begin in fall 2015.

The program is open to students with no prior health care experience. Current respiratory therapists who want to earn their master’s degrees will be able to participate in an accelerated program based on their education and experience.

David C. Shelledy, Ph.D., RRT, FAARC, dean of the School of Health Professions, said millions of Americans suffer from cardiopulmonary diseases and need the specialized care a respiratory therapist with a graduate-level degree can provide. “More than 34 million people have asthma in the United States. Approximately 13 million suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, which is the third leading cause of death in America. Because of under diagnosis, we believe the actual number of those suffering from COPD is closer to 24 million,” he said.

Respiratory therapists bring help and relief to patients suffering from asthma, emphysema, COPD, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, respiratory distress syndrome, and other conditions.

They are involved in specialty areas in the hospital, including newborn labor and delivery, neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, pulmonary function laboratories, sleep laboratories, and adult intensive care units.

Students have to have completed a bachelor’s degree in any major from a regionally accredited college/university. They also must have completed prerequisite coursework prior to program entry. For application information, visit http://uthscsa.edu/shp/rc/about.asp

According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, the average salary for respiratory therapists is more than $62,000 per year.