Respiratory Therapy Program Gains Accreditation


by Brett Buckner

JSU’s Respiratory Therapy Program has gained continued accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). 

“It is a complete, and I do mean complete, and thorough examination of the program,” said Ed Goodwin, program director. “They look at everything from the curriculum – making sure you’re covering the most up-to-date content to application rates, acceptance rates, pass rates, community support and support from the university – making sure we have the facilities that we need. They want to make sure we’re doing the absolute best to prepare our graduates to enter the field of respiratory therapy.” 

In 2015, the program was granted an “Approval of Intent” from CoARC to start the accreditation process. Provisional accreditation was awarded in July 2017, with the program admitting its first cohort of students in Fall 2017 and graduating its first class in Spring 2019. It took three years for the program to build up enough graduate data to gain continued accreditation. 

“This is just the next step in the journey,” Goodwin said. “This proves that JSU is committed to the program. JSU has provided phenomenal resources, classroom space, state-of-the art facilities. Everything we need, we have – all of which allows us to become the largest bachelor’s program in the state.” 

CoArc will repeat the process again in five years. If that is a success, it moves to every 10 years. 

“This shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are preparing our graduates to become respiratory therapists,” Goodwin said. “It’s such a needed field. We often hear of shortages of health care workers in other fields, but respiratory therapy is not often mentioned. RT gained a lot of press during the pandemic discussing our staffing shortages due to the ventilator shortage, but those staffing issues started before the pandemic. The profession continues to evolve and grow, and RT programs are seeing a lot of growth in our state. JSU RT is a part of that.” 

JSU offers two options for the bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy: 

  1. Entry-Into-Practice: This traditional option is designed for students wanting to enter the field. It requires approximately two years of prerequisite coursework before beginning the five-semester respiratory therapy program. Graduates become eligible to take their national credentialing exams that lead to the RRT credentials.
  2. RRT-BSRT Bridge Program: This degree advancement option is designed for practicing respiratory therapists who have completed an accredited associate degree in respiratory therapy and earned their RRT credential. They can advance their degree to the baccalaureate level at JSU through this online option. 

Applications for the Entry-Into-Practice option are open between Feb. 1-June 1 each year, for admission into the fall semester. This option only admits into the fall semester. The RRT-BSRT Bridge Program, or degree advancement option, is 100% online and accepts applications every semester.  For more information, visit the Respiratory Therapy website.