News Release

Published on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A new credit transfer agreement between Cardinal Stritch University and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), including Western Technical College, will allow system graduates with associate’s degrees in respiratory therapy the ability to continue their studies in Stritch’s new Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy Completion Program, which is the first to be offered in Wisconsin.

Students earning a Respiratory Therapist A.A.S. degree from a WTCS college as of May 1999 may transfer up to 70 credits toward the B.S. in Respiratory Therapy at Stritch. Stritch’s new program will allow existing respiratory therapists an opportunity to advance their careers by completing a bachelor’s degree. The program will be offered online and is designed to take two years to complete, with an anticipated start date of fall 2014.

Although associate degree programs in respiratory therapy can be found across the state, Stritch will be the first institution of higher education in Wisconsin to offer a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy completion program, which will fill a critical need across the state.

A recent study conducted by the American Association for Respiratory Care reiterated that the current healthcare environment requires more skills than ever before. The volume of knowledge and skills that a respiratory therapy student must learn increases yearly, yet the amount of hours in the classroom, lab and clinical settings are limited at the associate degree level.

“The growing complexity of healthcare and federal regulation changes has resulted in the need for more respiratory therapists to be prepared at the baccalaureate level,” said Dr. Kelly Dries, dean of the Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing. “We are excited that this new relationship with Wisconsin’s technical colleges will allow their respiratory therapy graduates to meet the growing needs of the healthcare community. We are proud to give practicing respiratory therapists the first opportunity for advancement beyond an associate degree within Wisconsin.”

“This program will offer a great option for our Respiratory Therapy students,” said Diane Neefe, dean of Health and Public Safety at Western Technical College. “While Western has a number of articulations for allied health program degree completion in Health Care Management, this is the first four-year articulation with content emphasis in advanced respiratory therapy topics along with leadership and management courses. In addition, this program offers graduates an avenue to pursue coursework online and provide content theory and practice to support advanced credential exams and certifications in the respiratory therapy field.”
The online format of the program will allow students great flexibility to further their education while maintaining their work schedule. Based upon need, separate online and face-to-face versions of the program may be implemented in the future.

This credit transfer agreement is based upon Wisconsin Technical College System curricula beginning in 1997 to the present. For students who earned degrees with a pre-1997 curriculum, every effort will be made to maximize credit transfer, applying standard transfer policies. A minimum of 120 credits is required for Bachelor of Science degree completion.