The Dakota State University Respiratory Care Program is located in Madison. It holds continuing accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com), with the main clinical location in Sioux Falls (CoARC program number 200070) and a satellite location in Rapid City (CoARC program number 300015). The program awards both AS and BS degrees upon completion.
Respiratory Care is the health care discipline that specializes in the promotion of optimum cardiopulmonary function and health. Respiratory Therapists use science and technology to assess, treat, and manage care by use of diagnostic evaluation for patients with respiratory illnesses which would include the cardiac system. Knowledge of the scientific principles underlying cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, as well as biomedical engineering and technology, enable respiratory therapists to effectively assess, educate, and treat patients. Respiratory Therapists use technology in the education of patients about their disease and prevention of disease progression.
As a health care profession, Respiratory Care is practiced under medical direction across the health care continuum. Respiratory Care is specifically focused on the assessment, treatment, management, control, diagnostic evaluation, education, and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system as well as on the prevention of the development of these deficiencies. Critical thinking, patient/environment assessment skills, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines enable respiratory therapists to develop and implement effective care plans, patient-driven protocols, disease-based clinical pathways, and disease management programs. A variety of venues serve as the practice site for this health care profession including, but not limited to: acute care hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities, patients’ homes, patient transport systems, physician office, convalescent and retirement centers, educational institutions, and wellness centers.
The respiratory care programs at Dakota State University (DSU) are designed as either an associate or bachelor’s degree in respiratory care. The first fall and spring semesters of the A.S. program are spent on a university campus completing general education requirements. After the first year’s classes are completed, the student has class and clinical experiences at the primary clinical affiliate hospitals (Avera McKennan and Sanford Hospitals in Sioux Falls or Rapid City Regional Hospital in Rapid City). Both semesters of the third year and the fall semester of the fourth year are mostly general education classes, and the fourth spring semester is a clinical semester at the Sioux Falls or Rapid City hospitals.
Immediately upon graduation from either the A.S. or B .S. program, you may begin employment as a graduate therapist. You are immediately eligible to take the credentialing examination of the National Board for Respiratory Care to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist. Following certification, you will take the clinical simulation examination of the NBRC to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist.
The field of respiratory care provides excellent opportunities for those interested in a dynamic and exciting career in cardiopulmonary sciences. Salaries for respiratory therapists are excellent and compare favorably with other allied health fields. Job opportunities for new graduates are also very good. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the respiratory care profession is expected to add almost 15,000 new jobs between now and 2024, increasing the size of the profession by 12 percent and making RC one of the fastest growing occupations. This increase in demand is expected because of substantial growth of the elderly population, and increases in the numbers of patients with asthma and chronic lung disease.