Respiratory Therapist School and College Program Overviews

Respiratory therapy is a field commonly taught at the associate's degree level through many community colleges. For advanced study and research, several 4-year colleges and universities offer this field of study through bachelor's and master's degree programs.

Those interested in completing a respiratory therapy program can choose between public and private schools at 2- and 4- year colleges and universities. Interested individuals only need an associate's degree in order to obtain entry-level positions; however, they often need a bachelor's or master's degree to work as teachers, supervisors or managers in their field.

10 Schools with Respiratory Therapy Programs

Students interested in respiratory therapy programs in the United States can find programs offered at the institutions listed here:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland, MD 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $3,660; In-state $6,660; Out-of-state $7,950
Amarillo College Amarillo, TX 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $2,010; In-state $3,042; Out-of-state $4,578
Ball State University Muncie, IN 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $9,498; Out-of-state $25,016
Baltimore City Community College Baltimore, MD 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $2,578; Out-of-state $6,070
Boise State University Boise, ID 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $6,876; Out-of-state $20,926
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-year, Public Associate's In-state $2,753; Out-of-state $8,875
California College San Diego San Diego, CA 4-year, Private Associate's, Bachelor's $16,968
Community College of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $4,920; In-state $9,360; Out-of-state $13,800
Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL 4-year, Public Associate's In-state $3,282; Out-of-state $12,352
Galveston College Galveston, TX 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $1,900; In-state $2,380; Out-of-state $4,270

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Compare schools with the following criteria in mind:

  • Enroll in programs that are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Evaluate programs based on the number of clinical training hours required, putting you in a position to receive a future job offer.
  • Some institutions offer the option of accelerated study, or the option of completing courses online.
  • It may be possible to transfer from some associate's programs to another institution to complete a bachelor's degree. Students may want to explore transfer agreements between schools or otherwise ensure associate's-level credits easily transfer to related programs.

Associate of Science in Respiratory Care

These programs prepare students for further education in their chosen field and for taking the NBRC entry-level examination. Students also participate in clinical training at local hospitals.

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care

Respiratory therapy majors receive advanced clinical training that can be applied to managerial, teaching and research careers. Students complete coursework, clinical sessions and laboratory work.

Master of Science in Respiratory Care

Licensed respiratory therapists who wish to expand their leadership opportunities within careers as practitioners or educators can complete a master's degree program. Students focus on testing and interpreting research data, developing career advancement strategies and applying medical research findings to clinical practice. Graduate-level programs may also offer concentrations such as respiratory therapeutics, health management, respiratory care education or clinical trial design. Depending on the student's chosen concentration, a project or thesis may be required.

Aspiring respiratory therapists can prepare for entry-level careers through an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Master's programs are often designed for students with work experience seeking career advancement. Some important considerations when choosing a program include program costs, clinical practice requirements, program accreditation and more.

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