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CoARC Announces Change in Exam-Based Program Outcome Measure

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April 23, 2010

In an effort to bring respiratory care accreditation inline with accreditation programs for other health care professions, the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) will soon be using the CRT exam as its sole measure of exam-based program outcome.

The change will be instituted with the next review of annual reports due April 15, 2011.

“Exam-based program outcomes will now be evaluated by an entry-into-practice exam, as are all other health care professions,” says CoARC Executive Director Tom Smalling, PhD, RRT, RPFT, RPSGT, FAARC. “Accreditation of respiratory care educational programs will be more consistent with the practices of other health care accreditation agencies regarding exam-based program outcomes as an evaluation measure.”

Previously, CoARC measured this outcome using credentialing success rates from both the CRT and RRT exams (e.g., the number of graduates who earn the credential compared to the total number of graduates averaged over a three-year period). But since the RRT exam is not required for entry into practice, and many graduates defer the exam to a later date or decline to take it at all, it reduces the utility of the RRT examination as a uniform measure of educational program effectiveness, explains Dr. Smalling.

However, CoARC will still require programs to report success on the RRT exam. According to a position statement issued by the organization, “CoARC will begin posting RRT, as well as CRT credentialing success for each program when the new CoARC website is unveiled in 2010. The express intent is to allow potential students to use this information as a measure of programmatic quality when selecting a respiratory care education program.”