Respiratory Assistant Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer respiratory therapy training through associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Read on to learn more about these programs, including course topics, program formats, and career opportunities.

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Working under the direction of respiratory therapists, respiratory assistants provide respiratory rehabilitation for individuals who have damaged lung functions. Programs for aspiring respiratory assistants are typically available as associate's or bachelor's degrees.

10 Schools with Respiratory Therapy Programs

At these schools, students can train to become respiratory therapy assistants:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Highline College 4-year, Public Des Moines, WA Associate, Bachelor $3,846 in-state, $4,253 out-of-state
Bunker Hill Community College Boston, MA 2-year, Public Associate $3,576 in-state, $8,520 out-of-state
Baker College Flint, MI 4-year, Private Associate $8,640
Kettering College Kettering, OH 4-year, Private Associate $10,944
Middle Georgia State University Macon, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor $3,890 in-state, $10,919 out-of-state
Andrew College 2-year, Private Cuthbert, GA Associate $14,924
Vermont Technical College Randolph, VT 4-year, Public Associate $13,490 in-state, $24,866 out-of-state
University of Rio Grande Rio Grande, OH 4-year, Private Associate $23,860
Seattle Central College Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Associate $3,891 in-state, $9,083 out-of-state
Rhode Island College Providence, RI 4-year, Public Bachelor $8,197 in-state, $19,858 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

These are some things to consider when choosing a respiratory therapy school:

  • If you want to study in a distance learning format, look for programs that offer some courses online and some in-person classes that provide hands-on experience with respiratory equipment and therapy procedures.
  • Those seeking to practice respiratory care will need to be licensed, so ensure that any potential program prepares students for exams.
  • Consider programs that emphasize life-saving methods, such as basic life support and advanced cardiac life support, since these skills can be especially beneficial when seeking employment.

Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy

Graduates of these programs are eligible for entry-level employment as respiratory therapy practitioners working under the supervision of a physician. Coursework in general education is combined with classes in therapeutic procedures and cardiopulmonary science.

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy

Some 4-year degree programs also allow students to work part-time as a respiratory assistant with a limited student permit. Students may wish to look for schools with a medical center on campus, so that they have access to state-of-the-art equipment.

A respiratory assistant job is often an entry-level position for aspiring respiratory therapists. To pursue a career in this field, students can enroll in undergraduate programs that provide general education, science-focused coursework and practical training in real-world settings.

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