Robert Ptacek and Danielle Kilburn practice bag masking and CPR. Both are second-year students in the Respiratory Therapy program at Kettering College.
Photo: Ken-Yon Hardy
Photo: Ken-Yon Hardy

Degree program with success: Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory Therapy

  • What: Associate degree
  • Where: Kettering College
  • Why: Every graduate has a job within one year
  • Salary: Kettering graduates earn between $18 and $20 per hour, the school said

Respiratory therapy at Kettering College is a unique program that students can realistically begin with just a high school education background, said Nancy Colletti, program director.

While the region is overproducing nurses, according to the Dayton Development Coalition, just 12 to 18 students each year earn a respiratory therapy associate degree from Kettering. The area now has a balance between graduates of local respiratory therapy programs and job openings, Colletti said, so Kettering students are passing their licensure exam and finding work within 10 to 12 months of graduation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said respiratory therapy is a field that will grow faster than average, at 28 percent between 2010 and 2020. Colletti said experts do expect the field to grow partly because of the needs of the aging baby boomer generation and because of reforms to health care.

The academic program trains students to work with patients in emergency room settings and with people to manage conditions such as asthma. An associate degree is considered entry-level education, and Colletti said select hospitals are beginning to ask the employees earn bachelor’s degrees.

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