As the demand for respiratory care continues to increase across the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, is launching a master’s degree program to help fill the need for more respiratory therapists. Developed in partnership with Rush University, a nationally recognized leader in respiratory care education, the program is the only one of its kind in the state of Florida.
Respiratory therapists played a central role in treating COVID-19 patients, and only eight comparable respiratory care programs in the U.S. are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19% by 2029, outpacing the average for all health care occupations. The U.S. Department of Labor projects an average of 770 annual openings for respiratory therapists in Florida alone through 2028. An aging population and a growing emphasis on reducing hospital admissions are the two key drivers of this demand.
Through its partnership with Rush University and a donation from Baptist Health South Florida, an 11-hospital system, the new program will help strengthen the pipeline of qualified respiratory therapists.
"We invest a great deal of our time and energy trying to help address future needs for our students and our community," said Tim Cost, Jacksonville University president. "COVID-19 continues to challenge communities all over the world, and there is an urgent need for more respiratory therapists to treat the most critically ill patients. Jacksonville University is proud to work with our world-class partners at Rush University and Baptist Health to answer that call with talent and training."
As the only graduate-level respiratory care program in Florida, the Master of Science in Respiratory Care at Jacksonville University combines a supportive academic environment with immersive technology and will include Rush University's award-winning curriculum and clinical expertise in respiratory care.
"Rush University is proud to partner with Jacksonville University to develop this program for northeast Florida, a region that has become a prominent hub for cutting-edge medical care, and where advanced respiratory care training is greatly needed," said David Vines, PhD, MHS, RRT, FAARC, FCCP, professor and director of the respiratory care program at Rush University's College of Health Sciences. "At Rush University, we are passionate about improving the care and quality of life for patients through exceptional, highly-individualized education of future health care providers, and Jacksonville University shares that mission."
The program offers leadership and advanced practice preparation in multiple areas, including critical care, neonatal care and cardiopulmonary diagnostics. Jacksonville University is now accepting applications for a limited number of students in the first class of the two-year graduate program, scheduled to begin in 2022.
Eligible students must have a bachelor’s degree in any field and 29 credit hours of prerequisites outlined here. Interested students can sign up to attend a virtual information session with Jacksonville University's graduate admissions team to learn more about the program and ask questions.