JUNE 2016

SJR State respiratory care program achieves third consecutive national distinction

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For a third consecutive year, St. Johns River State College’s respiratory care program has been honored with the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award.  SJR State is one of only 77 colleges and universities nationwide (7 of 24 Florida programs) to be honored with the award - an achievement that places the College’s program in the nation’s top 18%.

The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) awarded the College after measuring the program’s success using several rigorous criteria. The CoARC Board selects colleges by using key accreditation metrics the programs must meet or exceed, including passing rates for the national certification exam and job placement.

SJR State President Joe Pickens, J.D., said he is extremely proud that the College’s vision for academic excellence and student success has positioned the respiratory care program to receive the esteemed recognition for three consecutive years.

“While our commitment to provide an exceptional respiratory care program is evident among our students and health care industry partners, this national recognition is a much-deserved honor for our dedicated faculty members who go above and beyond their role as educators,” Pickens said.

Nancy Hemmert, Flagler Hospital’s manager of respiratory services, said the well-deserved national distinction affirms what they already know. “We are fortunate to have the St. Johns River State College's respiratory care program right here in our community,” she said. “The students graduating from this stellar program possess the knowledge, attitude and skills required to provide world-class care to our patients.”  

The award is presented as part of the CoARC’s continued efforts to value the RRT credential as a standard of professional achievement. From a program effectiveness perspective, the CoARC views the credential as a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve its highest educational and professional aspirations.

Susan Pilbeam, MS, RRT, a retired respiratory therapist and author of one of the College’s textbooks said to receive the award for a third year in a row is an extremely high achievement. “The benchmarks that must be accomplished by the faculty and by the college administration are formidable,” Pilbeam said. “This national recognition award is due in large part to the hard work, dedication and love of learning of its two key faculty members, Holly Coulliette, program director and associate dean of allied health, and Debra Maugeri, director of clinical education.”

SJR State’s respiratory care program will accept applications for the 2017 spring semester from August 1 to September 15.  Classes will begin in January and are based on the St. Augustine campus with selected clinical courses scheduled in health care facilities within the regional area. 

SJR State’s Respiratory Care program provides students with the knowledge, attitude and skills required to help meet the demands for respiratory therapists in the health care industry. Students will be trained in the skills needed to work in areas such as pediatric care, nursing homes and in hospitals. Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer and pneumonia are some of the conditions that require the care of a respiratory therapist.

Upon successful completion of the degree requirements, students will be eligible to apply to take the national certification exam for Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential, which is administered by the National Board of Respiratory Care.   

For more information, call (904) 808-7465 or visit the College online at



For a third consecutive year, SJR State's respiratory care program has been honored with the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award - an achievement that places the program in the nation's top 18%. Pictured are program instructor Debra Maugeri, Associate Dean of Allied Health Holly Coulliette and instructor Joan Holdman.