WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNCW will begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy in the fall of 2021 as the newest degree program at the university.
Respiratory therapists operate the life-giving ventilators widely needed and discussed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Never has the role of a respiratory care professional been more important than it is today with the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need for more respiratory care professionals and we believe that the timing of our new program will provide a much-needed service to society,” said School of Health and Applied Human Sciences Director Steve Elliot.
However, as a career, it is expected to show huge growth since 2019.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a growth of 19 percent by 2029.
Therapists receive national certifications that allow them to work at hospitals nationwide.
In a statement, the school says this program was of highest priority for a new degree program which has been fully approved.
Jamy Chulak is a respiratory therapist and will serve as program coordinator.
“There’s a lot of pride, I think, that respiratory therapists have, as far as being recognized and being part of the front line workforce that is shared with nurses and physicians as well as the environmental workers. Everyone who is leaning in and supporting and serving the patients and their community [amidst the pandemic]. We are a part of that conversation in ways that I’ve never experienced in my profession,” he said.
Thomas Nietman will be the director of clinical education, he says this path offers people a pipeline to well paying jobs in high demand.
The program will be part of the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences.