A Personal Note from our president:
Are you concerned for the future of associate degree education? The threat to associate degree respiratory care is insidious but very real.
The National Association for Associate Degree Respiratory Care (NA2RC) has been monitoring changes in professional accreditation and credentialing, including the recent Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) change to deny new associate degree respiratory care programs the opportunity to become accredited.
The new CoARC Entry Standard 1.01 for entry into respiratory care professional practice states that:
“Except as provided in the following sentence, an educational sponsor must be a post-secondary academic institution accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and must award graduates of the program a baccalaureate or graduate degree upon completion of the program. For associate degree programs that applied for accreditation or were accredited prior to January 1, 2018, an educational sponsor must be a post-secondary academic institution accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency that is recognized by the USDE. These programs may continue to award graduates of the program an associate degree as long as they remain accredited by the CoARC.”
Although associate degree programs are not immediately and directly affected by this change, NA2RC sees this as part of an ongoing pattern promoting degree creep, artificially inflating entry-level requirements for the respiratory care profession.
At the March 2018 NA2RC Conference, Deans, Program Directors, students and organizational representatives heard our strong message opposing the threat to associate degree entry-level. We are preparing and implementing our plan to help others recognize the continuing value associate degree programs bring to our patients, communities, and employers, as well as to the professional respiratory care career pathway. Given recent actions of CoARC and other organizations, we realize that it may soon be necessary to consider more urgent actions, including the creation of an alternative accreditation pathway for associate degree programs.
We know that currently 81% of the respiratory care programs in the country are at the associate degree level. We also know that efforts to elevate entry-level respiratory care to baccalaureate level aren’t being driven by employers or by data. It’s time for us to join forces and make our voices heard before any next steps are taken.
Please join our campaign to defend and strengthen associate degree respiratory care. Go to NN2RC.org and join us now! Ask us how you can help spread the word at your institution.
Peggy Davis Spears, MS, RRT
National Association for Associate Degree Respiratory Care (NA2RC/NN2RC)
p.s. Please forward this message to all of your associate degree colleagues, both respiratory care faculty, students, advisory committee members and deans, all who should be concerned about the threat to associate degree entry-level.