New Incentives for Students of Respiratory Therapy
By Peter Vogt | Monster Career Coach
The statistics alone might lead you to explore a career as a respiratory therapist. The US Bureau of Labor predicts about 36,000 new respiratory therapists will be needed by 2010, and the respiratory care field is already experiencing a significant shortage of practitioners.
But if you need more motivation to explore the field, consider this: In many cases, once you’ve earned a two-year degree or a certificate in respiratory therapy, you can find a job that will help you pay for most, or even all, of the additional education you want to pursue.
Incentive programs that repay employees for part or all of their tuition are becoming common, as they are an effective tool for both recruitment and retention.
Richard Branson will have paid only about $7,000 to finish both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, thanks to the University of Cincinnati Hospital’s tuition reimbursement initiative.
Branson, a registered respiratory therapist and director of clinical research in the hospital’s department of surgery, began working there after obtaining his associate’s degree in science and a respiratory therapy certificate. With the hospital’s financial assistance, he has completed a bachelor’s degree in communication and will soon finish his master’s degree in clinical research.
“I picked communication, because it worked for me from a practical standpoint – I could attend weekend and evening classes – and because writing grants and publications is a big part of my job,” Branson says. And his master’s degree is improving his knowledge of clinical research. “It’s a perfect fit for my current position.”
Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, offers up to $3,000 per year for full-time employees who want to continue their educational pursuits. The employee must continue working at the center for one year following every $3,000 reimbursed.
The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon offers employees up to $5,000 in tuition assistance at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s levels. The money can be used not only for current educational expenses, but also to cover educational debt prior to hire as long as that debt isn’t more than two years old.
Work Your Way to a Degree
Tuition reimbursement programs aren’t the only financial resources available. Julie Clarke, manager of respiratory care services at Methodist Hospital Park Nicollet Health Services in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, paid for her own bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. She got a well-paying job with her associate of applied science degree in respiratory therapy from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.