Sep 06, 2019 | Health Sciences , Student Success

Columbia State’s Respiratory Care Program Wins National Award

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Sept. 6, 2019) - - - For the fourth consecutive year, Columbia State Community College’s respiratory care program has received the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist Credentialing Success Award.

Awards are presented by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care at the annual American Association for Respiratory Care Summer Forum.

“It is humbling to receive this award for four consecutive years," said R. David Johnson, program director and associate professor of respiratory care at Columbia State. “An award like this is the product of many people working together for a common goal. Roger Major, director of clinical education and associate professor, the many adjunct instructors and the support of our clinical sites all come together to develop and graduate respiratory therapists that are sought after by area employers. This year I’ve also been contact by hospitals in Ohio, Indiana and Virginia seeking to recruit our graduates.”

On a recent program survey form, one graduate commented: “Mr. Johnson and Mr. Major prepared me as well as possible for working as an RRT. I feel I could go anywhere in the world and work in this field due to their hard work in the classroom with my classmates and I.” 

The award recognizes the small group of respiratory care programs that meet the following criteria:(1) have three or more years of outcomes data; (2) hold accreditation without a progress report; (3) document first-attempt RRT credentialing success rates of 90% or above; and (4) meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for certified respiratory therapist credentialing success, attrition and positive in-field placement of graduates.

According to the 2017 CoARC outcomes data report, Columbia State graduates’ three-year average RRT credentialing rate is 92 percent compared to a national three-year average of 75 percent. Columbia State graduates’ three year average in-field employment rate is 96 percent compared to a national three-year in-field placement rate of 85 percent.

Only 112 of the 451 respiratory care programs in the country were awarded. Out of the nine programs in Tennessee, only two received this recognition.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job outlook for all occupations in the nation will increase by 7 percent between 2016-2026. The job outlook for respiratory therapists will increase by 23 percent. 

“The success of respiratory care graduates is evidence of outstanding learning taking place during this rigorous and rewarding program,” said Dr. Kae Fleming, Columbia State dean of the Health Sciences Division and professor of radiologic technology. “Columbia State’s respiratory care program is making a habit of being recognized nationally for excellence.”

At the last re-accreditation visit, Columbia State’s respiratory care program was granted full re-accreditation by the CoARC with zero deficiencies. 

For more information about the respiratory care program, contact R. David Johnson, Columbia State program director and associate professor of respiratory care, at 931.540.2663 or online at 

Photo Caption: (Pictured, left to right):
Roger Major, clinical director and associate professor of respiratory care;Mike West, respiratory care adjunct faculty member;Aimee Luna, respiratory care adjunct faculty member; and R. David Johnson, program director and associate professor of respiratory care.