I like the idea of respiratory therapists being better educated. I like the idea of having us obtain a Bachelor's Degree. However, the way it is set up right now, there is not really an incentive to do this. Here, allow me to explain.
Right now, I'm a respiratory therapist. I have an associates' degree. Every other RT I know has the same qualifications that I do, including a license. Most of us are great at what we do, and further education will not make us better. However, further education "might" garnish more respect for us.
However, that said, I actually thought about getting a BA. Two colleges near where I live now offer the program. I discussed this with a good friend of mine who said this:
"Why would you get a BA in respiratory therapy when you are not going to get paid more. If you are going to get a BA in something, you might as well choose a program that, when you graduate, you can get a job that pays you $75,000 a year."That point stuck. I mean, really, there is only one reason to get a bachelor's degree, and that is if you are planning to head your department some day. And that's taking a great risk, considering there are many great therapists to choose from to run any department. And, quite frankly, I'm not sure I'd want that job.
Now, if I decided to get a BA in respiratory the institution I work for would probably pay for it. Still, to participate will involve the sacrifice of a lot of time, and probably some of my own money, as I'm sure there would be many related expenses along the way. Plus there will be a rise in my stress level, and less time with my wife and kids. All this for, what, respect? Pride?
So, that said, what is the current incentive to take the time, and spend the money, to get a BA? I do not see any. It will not make me a better therapist. It will probably give me a better overall understanding of how hospitals work (maybe), but it will not make me better at doing my job, and it will not earn me more money (unless I joint the small number of therapists who move into administration or some other similar job).