BISMARCK, N.D. • The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) has recognized University of Mary’s/CHI St. Alexius Health’s Respiratory Therapy (MS) program with The President’s Award for Excellence in Credentialing Success.

It’s the CoARC’s highest distinction and the first time the organization has bestowed the honor.

“The President’s Award for Excellence is presented as part of the CoARC’s continued efforts to value the RRT credential as a standard of professional achievement,” according to the CoARC commendation.

“From a program effectiveness perspective, the CoARC views the RRT credential as a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations.”

The award recognizes a program based on rigorous criteria, but most distinctly and importantly, that 100% of its graduates earn the RRT credential.

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“We are extremely humbled by this honor as we challenge our students inside and outside the classroom, in their labs, and at their clinicals through our partnership with CHI St. Alexius Health," said Dr. Christine Sperle, director and chair of University of Mary’s Respiratory Therapy program.

“The respiratory therapy profession is unique in that students take the Therapist Multiple-Choice licensure exam to receive the Certified Respiratory Therapist credential. They then sit for a second CSE exam, and after passing that they receive the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential."

Beyond the RRT credentialing, programs are also judged on three or more years of outcomes data, holding accreditation without a progress report, and meeting or exceeding established CoARC thresholds for TMC high cut score and retention.

In total, only 26 RRT programs were recognized with this 2021 award among the hundreds offered at colleges and universities across America.