At the AARC, the 1950s and 1960s will always be remembered as decades of professional development. The key objective for Association leaders: work with physician champions to establish educational and credentialing systems that would put the field on par with other disciplines.
It began in 1950 when the New York Academy of Medicine issued a report titled “Standard of Effective Administration of Inhalation Therapy.” That document is widely hailed as setting the stage for formal educational programs for RTs.
It continued in 1954 with the formation of a Special Joint Committee in Inhalation Therapy by the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists and the Medical Society of the State of New York. The group was charged with establishing “the essentials of acceptable schools of inhalation therapy.”
A year later, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates adopted a resolution calling for the use of those “essentials” in the creation of school programs, and a year after that, the Essentials for an Approved School of Inhalation Therapy Technicians were adopted. A three-year trial period began, and formal approval came in 1962.
In 1963, the Board of Schools of Inhalation Therapy Technicians was formed to oversee school programs.
In tandem with the development of formal education came the development of a formal credential for people working in the field. The American Registry of Inhalation Therapists was formed in 1960, and the very first registry exam took place on Nov. 18 of that year.
While progress was being made on the education and credentialing fronts, the AARC was busy with other initiatives during the ‘50s and ‘60s as well. The Association held its first annual conference Nov. 7-11, 1955, and began publishing its own science journal, then titled Inhalation Therapy, in 1956.
By 1966, the ITA had become the American Association of Inhalation Therapy and was hosting its first-ever Education Forum, the precursor to today’s Summer Form, too.
As the ’60s drew to a close, the profession had grown from one that boasted only a few hundred clinicians to one growing so rapidly that it was hard to keep up with demand.
The last major milestone of the decade came with forming the Technician Certification Program. Launched in 1969, it would offer a credential for practitioners who didn’t qualify to sit for the registry exam and was expected to open the door to an even more rapid expansion of the field.
The 1970s were looking bright, and the Association was well-positioned to meet them head-on.