National Board for Respiratory Care Examination outcomes and the influence of entry-to-practice academic degree
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Accredited programs of study in respiratory care award the associate or baccalaureate degree upon completion. A task force appointed by the national professional association for respiratory care has recommended a policy change that would prevent respiratory care programs from awarding the associate degree beginning in 2020, despite the fact that approximately 92% of individuals who applied to challenge respiratory care credentialing examinations in 2011 did so after having earned the associate degree. A literature review conducted for the present study failed to identify published research that has examined the effect of academic degree on respiratory care credentialing examination results. The present quantitative study analyzed respiratory care board examination data to identify the effect of academic degree on examination results. The study employed a statistical technique to reduce bias associated with the fact that individuals self-selected into academic degree programs. Results of this study did not identify a statistically significant effect of academic degree on respiratory care credentialing examination results. This study concludes that completion of a baccalaureate degree-granting program of professional study in respiratory care does not result in gains in respiratory care competence, as this is measured by National Board for Respiratory Care examination results.
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