The status of respiratory care education in Saudi Arabia: a national survey of program directors

Mohammed Almeshari, Ziyad Alshehri, Jaber S. Alqahtani , Ali M. Alasmari, Ahmed A. Alzahrani, Fahad H. Alahmadi, Abdullah S. Alsulayyim, Faraj Alenezi, Khalid S. Alwadeai

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Background: Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) is a vital healthcare professional in Saudi Arabia (SA). Many factors regarding the education of RCPs in SA are unknown, including the number of active institutions, levels of education and barriers to promoting the profession.

Methods: A cross sectional-based survey was conducted between June 1st, 2020 and September 20th, 2020 in SA to explore the status of RCPs education. Institutions that offered RCP programs were identified through the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Defense academic programs websites. The RCP program directors were invited to participate in an electronic survey.

Results: Among the 74 institutions searched, 23 indicated that they offered RC programs. Only 13 (56.52%) responded to the survey. Among all programs, four (17.39%) were inactive, 17 (73.91%) were governmental institutions, and only one (4.35%) obtained a national accreditation. From the 13 respondents, there were 1297 students enrolled and 123 full-time faculty members. None of the institutions reported offering postgraduate RC degrees. The respondents reported many barriers; however, shortage of staff (76.92%), lack of postgraduate programs (69.23%), lack of research activity (69.23%), and ineffective communications between institutions (61.54%) were the most reported barriers.

Conclusion: The RC education in SA is developing but not well distributed throughout the country. The shortage of staff and the limited number of postgraduate degree holders potentially contributed to the delay in establishing postgraduate RC degrees, obtaining accreditation, and implementing subspecialties to advance the profession in terms of research and quality of care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-628
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Medical Education and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • Saudi Arabia
  • education
  • respiratory care
  • respiratory therapy


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