Community colleges, health sciences schools and 4-year colleges and universities offer programs in respiratory therapy. An associate's or bachelor's degree and state licensure are required to work as a respiratory therapist; state licensure usually requires passing the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) national certification exam provided by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
10 Schools with Respiratory Therapy Programs
The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer undergraduate degrees in respiratory therapy.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered*||Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)**|
|Bunker Hill Community College||Boston, MA||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $3,576; Out-of-state $8,520|
|CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College||New York, NY||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $5,170; Out-of-state $8,050|
|Delaware Technical Community College - Stanton/Wilmington||Georgetown, DE||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $3,632; Out-of-state $8,522|
|Highline College||Des Moines, WA||4-year, Public||Associate's, Bachelor's||In-state $3,846; Out-of-state $4,253|
|Kansas City Kansas Community College||Kansas City, KS||2-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $3,240; Out-of-state $8,040|
|Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||4-year, Private||Associate's||$17,664|
|Middle Georgia State College||Macon, GA||4-year, Public||Associate's, Bachelor's||In-state $3,890; Out-of-state $10,919|
|Northern Michigan University||Marquette, MI||4-year, Public||Associate's||In-state $9,620; Out-of-state $15,020|
|Seattle Central College||Seattle, WA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||In-state $3,891; Out-of-state $9,083|
|South Texas College||McAllen, TX||4-year, Public||Associate's||In-district $3,486; In-state $3,770; Out-of-state $4,440|
Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
When choosing a respiratory therapy school, students may want to keep the following considerations in mind:
- When selecting a school, students should consider whether the program's curriculum fulfills all of the requirements for the NBRC's certification exam.
- Students with an interest in working in a particular field of respiratory care or with a specific population may want to attend a program that offers clinical experience or specific classroom instruction in their field of interest.
- Some programs may offer courses through online study, which allows for flexible scheduling for independent learners.
- Tuition costs vary widely based on the school type, location, and program length.
Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy
Students in an associate's degree program learn to recognize and treat breathing disorders, work with physicians and other medical professionals and provide care to respiratory patients. Most programs require two years of study and qualify students for entry-level opportunities in hospitals, clinics and physicians' offices. Some schools may require applicants to have completed prior college-level coursework or to have volunteered or observed in a respiratory care setting. Laboratory work and supervised clinical training are included in the curriculum.
Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy
A 4-year bachelor's degree program in respiratory therapy teaches students advanced medical knowledge and leadership principles. These programs may be more appropriate for students interested in pursuing supervisory positions in healthcare. In these programs, students learn how to treat respiratory patients by conducting various respiratory tests, record results and work with physicians and respiratory therapy technicians to find appropriate treatments. Additionally, many bachelor's degree programs offer internship and clinical training opportunities with local hospitals and medical clinics. Some programs are available to students with a high school diploma, while others provide continuing education to licensed respiratory therapists.
A number of 2- and 4- year colleges and universities offer respiratory therapy programs. Students can opt to pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in this field at a public or private institution.