Respiratory therapists care for people with cardiopulmonary disorders like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. Individuals interested in working in this field can find education programs at community colleges, technical schools and 4-year colleges and universities.
10 Schools With Respiratory Care Programs
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Programs Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Bunker Hill Community College||Boston, MA||2-year, Public||Associate||$3,576 in-state, $8,520 out-of-state|
|Dalton State College||Dalton, GA||4-year, primarily associate's, Public||Associate, Bachelor's||$4,052 in-state, $12,032 out-of-state|
|George C Wallace State Community College-Dothan||Dothan, AL||2-year, Public||Associate||$4,260 in-state, $7,710 out-of-state|
|Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale||Fort Lauderdale, FL||4-year, primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit||Associate||$17,664|
|Mercyhurst University-North East Campus||Erie, PA||2-year, Private not-for-profit||Associate||$33,314|
|Midland University||Fremont, NE||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$29,400|
|Northern Michigan University||Marquette, MI||4-year, Public||Associate||$9,620 in-state, $15,020 out-of-state|
|Seattle Central College||Seattle, WA||4-year, primarily associate's, Public||Associate, Bachelor's||$3,891 in-state, $9,083 out-of-state|
|University of Rio Grande||Rio Grande, OH||4-year, primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit||Associate||$23,860|
|Northeastern University||Boston, MA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's||$21,801|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Here are some considerations for students in this field:
- Different degree programs prepare students for different careers; for instance, associate's degree programs provide training for entry-level technician jobs, while master's degree programs prepare students for leadership positions in the field. Students can choose between programs based on their future aspirations.
- Prospective students may want to find out what the pass rates are for graduates on the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) certification exams, which are offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care.
- It can be helpful to get information about the school's laboratory facilities, in order to ensure that students gain experience with the latest respiratory care technologies.
- Prospective students who are considering programs that include internships may want to make sure that work experience opportunities are available in the setting in which they hope to pursue a career, such as a large hospital or small family clinic.
Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Programs
In an associate's degree program, students learn how to operate basic respiratory therapy equipment, like nebulizers and oxygen analyzers. Advanced clinical classes often take place during the second year of study. Students also take basic biomedical science courses and fulfill general education requirements.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs
Bachelor's degree students explore topics like pulmonary function testing and electrocardiogram interpretation. Program prerequisites may include classes in physiology, microbiology and chemistry. A significant number of clinical practicum hours are required for graduation.
Master of Science (M.S.) Programs
This 2-year degree program is often available to students who have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field. Some schools offer an integrated B.S./M.S. program. In addition to classroom and clinical training in respiratory therapy, some master's programs allow students to choose a concentration area such as healthcare management, clinical trial design or higher education administration. Students may be able to choose between thesis and non-thesis program options. A master's degree may prepare students for supervisory roles in the respiratory therapy field.
Educational programs for aspiring respiratory care practitioners are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prospective students should consider their career goals and the school's facilities when choosing between programs.