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SDSU offers degrees in respiratory care

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South Dakota State University’s College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions is now offering associate and bachelor's degrees in respiratory care.

South Dakota State University’s College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions is the new home for the respiratory care program. The program will offer two degrees: an associate and a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care.

The program, which had been housed by Dakota State University since the program’s inception in 1980, will now be housed within the college’s Department of Allied and Population Health. The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the transition.

“We believe the transition of the respiratory care program from Dakota State to South Dakota State is in the best interest of the students and program,” said Jim Moran, Dakota State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We have confidence that the program will thrive at SDSU.”

Fifty-eight students are in the major and will now be South Dakota State students. Students will continue to complete their respiratory care degrees at the two clinical sites in either Rapid City or Sioux Falls, partnering with Monument Health, Avera McKennan and Sanford USD Medical Center.

“We are excited to welcome students and faculty from the respiratory care program into our college,” said Dan Hansen, interim dean for the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. “The program not only expands our portfolio of offerings but given its tradition of success, aligns perfectly with the rich history of this college.”

Graduates work in 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.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the respiratory care profession is expected to add almost 28,000 new jobs between 2018-2028, making it one of the fastest-growing occupations. This increase in demand is expected because of an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia.

“It will be an honor to lead a department that trains the next generation of practitioners caring for patients with respiratory conditions. COVID-19 has accelerated timelines to train practitioners prepared to deal with situations like the pandemic. It has also heightened the need to have practitioners from various disciplines working together to solve a health care crisis. Our department is the first in the nation to house an interdisciplinary team of faculty training practitioners currently on the front lines. The respiratory care team join faculty in our department from medical laboratory sciences, public health, pharmacy and population health in improving care through teaching, research and practice,” said Sharrel Pinto, head of the Department of Allied and Population Health.