El Camino College will offer a new bachelor’s degree in respiratory care this fall, the first baccalaureate degree program in the community college’s 76-year history.
Starting in fall 2023, students will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory care, designed to expand on El Camino’s existing two-year accredited associate degree program, which has been in place for 50 years. The college’s Respiratory Care program prepares students for careers as respiratory therapists, ready to care for patients and to access opportunities for leadership, education, and case management roles. The accelerated 18-month bachelor’s degree program includes 41 units and will be offered in an online format across three semesters.
“We are proud to launch El Camino’s first-ever bachelor’s degree program, which will help students further their education in respiratory care while training in areas such as personnel management, policy design, and case management of patients in a clinical setting,” said El Camino College President Dr. Brenda Thames. “After 76 years of serving the South Bay, we are proud to continue finding new and innovative ways to offer career advancement opportunities and academic resources to our community.”
El Camino’s respiratory care graduates have consistently high licensure exam pass rates, among numerous other indicators of student success. Many graduates find employment throughout the South Bay in respiratory therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, home respiratory care, and other specialties, putting their skills to work in their communities.
The 2014 approval of Assembly Bill 927 opened opportunities for community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees, which provide an excellent pathway for students to access education and training for high-demand and well-paying careers. Through these programs, students can also complete a bachelor’s degree at a much lower cost than earning a degree from a four-year college or university, and potentially continue with a program they are already familiar with. Workforce data indicates there is a growing need for respiratory therapists and that need will continue to grow for graduates with bachelor’s degrees.
“Graduates of the Bachelor of Science degree program will have an earning potential of $82,000-$95,000 per year, an increase of $25,000 when compared to those with an associate degree,” said Russell Serr, dean of health sciences and athletics. “This is an opportunity for El Camino College students who would not usually pursue a bachelor’s degree to do so, expanding their job opportunities, increasing their salaries, and enhancing their abilities to better serve our communities with an emphasis on equity.”
El Camino’s respiratory care bachelor’s degree program will accept its first cohort of 20-25 students for fall 2023. Applications for the first cohort are open now and are due June 30. Applicants must already have graduated from an accredited respiratory care program and have an associate degree in respiratory care from an accredited community college. Graduates must complete the 39 required CSU-GE or IGETC transfer pattern units.
The degree includes nine upper-division respiratory care classes and three upper-division general education courses. Upper-division course fees are $130 per unit for a total of $5,330. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. Students can make an appointment to see a counselor for transcript review or connect with program coordinator Roy Mekaru at [email protected] for more information. Learn more about the program on the El Camino College Respiratory Care webpage.