Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Howard R. Gordon

Second Committee Member

Clifford McClain

Third Committee Member

Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson

Fourth Committee Member

Cecilia Maldonado-Daniels

Number of Pages



The field of Respiratory Therapy (RT) is expected to experience a workforce shortfall over the next decade. The numbers of both program applicants and graduates have declined in recent years, necessitating strategies to improve board exam pass rates for future graduates. In response to the pending employment crisis, the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care has published Programmatic Outcomes Data detailing individual program statistics. A theoretical framework adapted from Pierre Bourdieu's Concepts of Field and Capital was proposed to explain a possible re-stratification of RT programs. It states, in part, that a modification of position-takings within the RT educational field may be a consequence of this publication and the resources (capital) of students, clinical sites, faculty, and financial advantage will accompany the newly established positions. A descriptive study utilizing e-mail survey methodology was developed to gather baseline data from RT program directors in the areas of program characteristics, selected demographics, and average board exams scores in 17 curricular content areas. A convenience sample of programs was solicited from the top and bottom thirds of all programs with published programmatic outcomes. Comparison of results between the top and bottom thirds of the sample population was anticipated to discern which types of programs were more successful than others, what resources impacted credentialing success, and which curricular alignment indicators demonstrated the greatest disparities. Results seemed to indicate that optimal credentialing outcomes are frequently associated with public, not-for-profit programs; resources of entry-limitation, faculty numbers and degrees, utilized pedagogy, low teacher-to-student ratios, laboratory, clinical, and simulation practice hours, and hiring practices were not restricted to either sector of the population; and assessment of curriculum alignment indicators derived from board exam scores may be a vehicle for early recognition of program weaknesses. Results further indicated the need for follow-up studies to evaluate the long-term impact of the programmatic outcomes and how the results of this study may be utilized to focus program curricular remediation for improved outcomes.


20/20 analysis; Accreditation (Education); Board exam success; Bourdieu; Pierre; Credentialing success; Curricular alignment indicators; Curriculum planning; Health occupations licensing boards; Respiratory therapy – Study and teaching (Higher)


Circulatory and Respiratory Physiology | Education | Medical Education | Respiratory System | Science and Mathematics Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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