Jacob Burd, MSc, RRT, RRT-NPS, knew he wanted to go into a medical field after earning his bachelor’s degree in biology and exercise science from St. Ambrose University in 2013, and he wanted one where he could be in direct contact with patients. He shadowed clinicians in several different disciplines before deciding on respiratory care.
“Respiratory care was appealing to me for a number of reasons,” Burd said. “I liked the very technical nature of respiratory care, as well as the opportunity to use hands-on problem solving and critical thinking in caring for patients.”
Since he already had his bachelor’s degree, it only made sense to enter the field via one of the master’s degree programs now available across the country. Burd chose the Master of Science, Respiratory Care program at Rush University in Chicago, IL, and graduated in 2016.
Surrounded by excellence
“Deciding to earn my MSRC was a combination of a personal goal for myself to earn an advanced degree as well as a desire to advance my career through gaining knowledge on leadership, education, and research in the field of respiratory care,” said Burd, who today works as a neonatal/pediatric respiratory therapist III and ECMO specialist at Rush University Medical Center, and is also on the adjunct faculty at the teaching facility.
He knew he’d be learning from some of the best and brightest in the field and that the relationships he would develop through his participation in the program would help him advance his career in the ways in which he was envisioning.
“I needed to surround myself with the type of RTs who were doing the things I wanted to do and were in positions I hoped to be in,” Burd said.
Burd says the program provided him with foundational knowledge and experiences he will be able to draw from throughout his career in the profession, and he believes other MSRC programs do the same for their graduates.
“The faculty in the master’s level respiratory care programs are some of the most knowledgeable and experienced therapists in the field,” he said. “Just having the opportunity to learn from and form a working relationship with these individuals has been invaluable in helping advance my career in the past several years since earning my degree, as I know it will continue to be in the years to come.”
Words of wisdom
Jacob Burd offers these words of wisdom for other young RTs who may be considering the MSRC –
- Pursuing an advanced degree in respiratory care can open up many career avenues for those at the AS or BS level; RTs who have earned an advanced degree certainly stand out as having gone beyond the requirements of entry into the practice.
- I would say you can expect a higher level of respect from your colleagues, even outside of respiratory care, but it also means others will expect more from you.
- I do think young therapists should understand that simply having the extra credentials will not open up every door for them, but for those looking to advance their level of practice or pursue a position in research, education, or leadership/management, an advanced degree will be essential in getting you where you want to go.
- Earning an advanced degree will lay a strong foundation on which to build a challenging and rewarding career for yourself in respiratory care.
You can find a complete list of CoARC-accredited master’s degree programs in respiratory care here. (Click “MS Degree” in the Degree box.)