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Masters Degree in Respiratory Therapy: Program Information

If your career goal is to provide treatment to patients with breathing problems, you can benefit from a master's degree in respiratory therapy. Learn what you can expect from these programs and what graduates are qualified to do with their degrees.

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Essential Information

Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy programs train students in all areas of respiratory care, such as breathing treatments for patients with lung disease and maneuvers used during hospital Code Blue alerts. Students can also expect to learn about general research methodologies and gain experience assisting physicians through practicums in healthcare facilities.

Full-time students can usually finish the program within two years. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in the healthcare field. Students must also submit GRE scores, a resume, and a certificate of immunization. In addition, some programs require applicants to have at least one year of respiratory care work experience.


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Masters Degree in Respiratory Therapy

These programs typically combine classroom instruction, lab work, and clinical experience. Common courses include:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pediatric respiratory care
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Cardiopulmonary pathophysiology
  • Medical terminology

Popular Career Options

Graduates are prepared to work with physicians and other medical staff in healthcare settings like hospitals and outpatient centers. Some of the most common careers in the field include:

  • Respiratory therapist
  • Pulmonary function technologist
  • Neonatal-pediatric specialist
  • Medical and health services manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), respiratory therapists could expect job growth of 12%, faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. The BLS reported a median annual salary of $57,790 for these professionals as of May 2015. Medical and health services managers could expect job growth of 17% from 2014-2024, and as of May 2015, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $94,500.

Continuing Education

Graduates of these programs are qualified to take the entry-level National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) examination to become certified respiratory therapists and gain state licensure. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reports that all states, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, require respiratory therapists to be licensed. To become a Registered Respiratory Therapist, individuals must pass additional written and clinical examinations offered through NBRC.

Through a master's degree program in respiratory therapy, students gain the expertise and practical experience they need for successful careers working alongside physicians to assist in managing patient airways and executing appropriate medical treatments.

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