By Penny Conners, Dean, Allied Health
The new Bachelor of Science in cardiopulmonary sciences program, now offered on the West Campus, is designed to assist healthcare professionals by meeting industry demands and employer expectations in the Central Florida region. This program is especially ideal for working professionals, since the majority of courses, except for laboratory and practicum, are offered online.
The cardiopulmonary sciences Bachelor of Science degree program curriculum offers advanced practice concentrations in polysomnography technology, noninvasive cardiology and community health. This bachelor’s degree in cardiopulmonary sciences was designed for allied health professionals who have completed an associate degree in respiratory care, cardiovascular technology or cardiopulmonary technology.
While the associate degree is considered adequate for entry-level positions in cardiopulmonary professions, post-professional education in the form of degree-advancement programs is becoming increasingly more common at the baccalaureate level and at the master’s level, according to the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care: Career Entry Pathways and Academic Progression in Respiratory Care Education. Opportunities for advancement within the profession often require additional education, such as a bachelor’s degree and advanced clinical skills, which are provided through this degree program.
Once completed, this bachelor’s degree opens many doors for advancement in a healthcare professional’s career. In an advanced position within the cardiopulmonary sciences, these professionals will manage high-tech equipment and oversee clinicians and the procedures they perform. This is a challenging and growing field with career opportunities in areas such as polysomnography technology, cardiac sonography, clinical specialization, quality assurance, department management, research methods and education.
The program has 20 students enrolled for the spring semester and will continue to accept students for each semester.
Sharon Shenton, professor, cardiopulmonary, is the program chair and respiratory therapist with 35 years of experience as a clinical respiratory therapist, leader and educator. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy and Master of Arts degree in education from the University of Central Florida.
Prior to coming to Valencia, Sharon was the respiratory care department director at Florida Hospital in Altamonte Springs. She also served as director for two respiratory care programs in New Jersey and is an active member of a respiratory care professional society.