Students looking for a high-paying profession with strong demand may want to consider respiratory therapy. With a new early acceptance program just announced by UT Health San Antonio and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), students could enter the field with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years instead of the usual six.
“Not only will this save students money by skipping a year’s worth of undergraduate tuition, fees and living expenses, but they will have an extra year of earning a salary,” said David Henzi, Ed.D., associate dean for academic and student affairs in the UT Health San Antonio School of Health Professions.
The mean salary for respiratory therapists is $62,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects a 21% increase in the need for respiratory therapists through 2028.
Respiratory therapists help patients improve their breathing. With the large number of Baby Boomers, many RTs will work with older people who have illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or with young children with breathing issues. Many of the jobs are in hospital emergency rooms, intensive care units and pediatric units, Dr. Henzi said.
“There is more demand because most people don’t know about respiratory therapists. They know about doctors and nurses, but just aren’t aware of this profession,” he said.
“Most respiratory therapists have an associate degree, but many employers are moving away from this and want employees with bachelor’s or master’s degree. This degree will prepare students for careers in management or as leaders in the clinical setting,” he said.
After completing the program, students will be awarded a bachelor’s degree in biology or kinesiology from UTSA and a master’s degree in respiratory care from UT Health San Antonio.
To be eligible, UTSA students must complete three years of the Bachelor of Science curriculum in biology or kinesiology, with an overall 3.0 GPA and 3.0 GPA in science classes, and submit an application. The application deadline for the first cohort is April 1. Once accepted, the UTSA students will begin the two-year the respiratory care master’s program at UT Health San Antonio.
Learn more about the Respiratory Care Early Acceptance Program.