The California Community Colleges Board of Governors gave initial approval to 15 colleges, including Skyline College, to develop bachelor’s degree programs in fields such as respiratory therapy, dental hygiene, automotive technology and aerospace manufacturing technology as part of a pilot program approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown.
Skyline College received initial approval to develop a Bachelors of Applied Science Degree in Respiratory Therapy. The program will undergo additional review by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as well as further consultation with the California State University and University of California before final approval is considered by the Board of Governors at its March meeting.
“These colleges are embarking on a new mission for the California Community Colleges that will expand opportunities in public higher education,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “Students will have a range of programs from which to choose to earn high quality, affordable and in-demand degrees. California employers win too, as they will have improved access to highly qualified candidates in these fields.”
In its current form, Skyline College’s Respiratory Therapy program is an advanced practice two-year program that prepares students to administer respiratory care and life support to patients with breathing disorder and cardiopulmonary abnormalities through classroom instruction and clinical practice.
Why it is important for Skyline College to offer this new program:
- Demand for respiratory therapists is significant and growing. Increasingly, respiratory therapists are taking on tasks formerly conducted by physicians, requiring a greater level of critical thinking and analytical skill and expertise than ever before
- The American Association for Respiratory Care and CA Society for Respiratory Care have recommended the baccalaureate degree as the minimum standard for licensing in CA, to meet evolving health care demands
- There is only one other accredited Baccalaureate-degree granting programs in Respiratory Care in California, at a private college in Southern California (vs. 53 accredited programs on the East Coast and Midwest)
- The 4-year program offers a greater ability for students to advance to management/ leadership roles within the profession, advanced care-giving roles, and higher education
Pending final approval of the Respiratory Therapy Bachelor’s Degree program, Skyline College will spend the remainder of this year, and early 2016 collaborating with other pilot groups to develop coursework at the state level. The first new classes would begin in Fall 2016, with the first graduates matriculating in Spring 2018.
Article by Connor Fitzpatrick