School of Health Professions

Division of Respiratory Care to hold white coat ceremony Feb. 8


By Kate Hunger 

Thirty students will receive their white coats at the White Coat Ceremony and Lambda Beta Honor Society induction ceremony next month. Twenty-two of the students are master’s students and eight are undergraduates, said  Richard Wettstein, MMEd, RRT, FAARC, Respiratory Care Program Director and Associate Professor.

The ceremony marks students’ introduction to the profession, as their white coats represent the privilege and responsibility of caring for patients. The program honors the Class of 2020 and is scheduled for Feb. 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Holly Auditorium. Cake and light refreshments will be served.

Employment prospects for respiratory therapists are strong, with a projected 23 percent job growth for the profession between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The appeal of the profession has not gone unnoticed: U.S. News & World Report ranked respiratory therapist 26th in its 100 Best Jobs of 2019. 

Wettstein noted that job placement for program graduates is excellent.

“We have 100 percent employment for all our graduates that seek employment in the profession,” he said.

The field offers opportunities to grow professionally, as well.

“In addition, there are many opportunities for motivated and well-educated therapists to move up within the field,” Wettstein noted. “Between the rapid growth in the field and many of the leaders taking retirement, there is an acute shortage of qualified applicants for open leadership positions. This makes the field very attractive for motivated individuals.”

In other program news, program alumna Laura Martinez, MS, RRT, is now serving as course director for the online course, Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care, as well as teaching the course’s laboratory section. She is teaching as an adjunct faculty member through the spring semester, Wettstein said.

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