JSU to Offer Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy

JSU to Offer Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy


The Alabama Commission on Higher Education has cleared the way for Jacksonville State University to begin offering a new Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy through its College of Nursing. It will be the only program of its kind offered by a university in North Alabama.  

“In evaluating the need for this program, we heard from a number of our community partners,” said Christie Shelton, dean of nursing. “Our constituents wanted more health care degree options at JSU, as health care jobs are prevalent and offer stability and opportunities for advancement. We are most excited to add this option! We will now have the ability to allow students to experience inter-professional collaboration, a concept that epitomizes the health care team of today.”

One of the fastest growing fields in the world of medicine, respiratory therapy has an above-average projected job outlook of 19 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to providing emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks or strokes, respiratory therapists assist patients of all ages with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea and chronic bronchitis.

“Jacksonville State University identified a need for this baccalaureate program in respiratory therapy and thoughtfully responded to that need by working closely with professionals in the field and academic experts in higher education,” said JSU Provost Rebecca Turner.

The program will provide students the skills and knowledge required to meet the changing respiratory needs in the medical community. Training will be provided through a combination of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience in association with some of the top health care providers in the region. The professional phase of the program will take approximately two years to complete, at which time successful graduates will be eligible to sit for their national credentialing exams.

The university tentatively plans to begin admitting students in Fall 2016. Shelton said the college must first is seek accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. Once this process is completed, admissions can begin. The College of Nursing is already accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing.

In addition to the new degree in respiratory therapy, JSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing, and a RN to BSN program for nurses with associate degrees who want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After successfully launching the traditional BS program in respiratory therapy, the college plans to explore offering a bridge program that would enable those with associate degrees in respiratory therapy to earn a BSN.

Learn more about the JSU College of Nursing please click here