Respiratory Therapy Technician

Respiratory therapists are trained medical professionals who perform a variety of duties within the healthcare field. Respiratory therapists usually work in hospitals, nursing homes, or in a patient's home. They often treat patients who have respiratory issues from conditions such as asthma or cystic fibrosis among other illnesses. The patients treated by respiratory therapists range in age and conditions. Some patients are premature babies who have underdeveloped lungs, while others are geriatric patients with emphysema.

Respiratory therapists use a variety of techniques to evaluate and then treat patients with medications, ventilators, or chest physiotherapy. Respiratory therapists can also opt to specialize in a particular area. Some areas of specialization include asthma specialists, neonatal and pediatric intensive care, cystic fibrosis, and sleep disorder specialists. Because respiratory therapists work in hospital settings, their schedule is often varied and could consist of weekend and evening hours.

To enter the field, a respiratory therapist degree is needed which can be obtained at an accredited respiratory therapist school. Many state or community college offer associate degree respiratory therapist programs. If a student wishes to obtain a bachelor's or master's degree, then he or she will need to attend a college or university. Respiratory therapy is governed by The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), so prospective students will need to choose a school accredited by this organization. Although an associate's degree is the minimum degree needed to find employment in this field, a bachelor's or master's degree can increase the ability to obtain employment. The rate of pay and opportunities for advancement will also be greater with a bachelor's or master's degree.

Associate's Degree in Respiratory Therapy

There are hundreds of associate degree programs in respiratory therapy in the United States, and most programs are offered at state or community colleges. A high school diploma or equivalent is required to gain admission to a college, and once enrolled, students can expect to spend several semesters taking general education classes such as English, math, and science. In addition to general coursework, students will also take specific courses related to the respiratory therapy field. Many programs require prerequisites of Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, and Algebra to be completed before admission to the program. Other courses a student in an associate's degree program can expect to take before graduation are:

  • Fundamentals of Respiratory Care I, II, III, and IV
  • Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Applied Physics

Other than coursework and labwork, students in the program will be required to complete clinical internships in the field. These are usually conducted at local hospitals. Clinical internships will generally consist of about 12 credit hours. The entire associate's degree program will usually take two years to complete, and after graduating, students will then be eligible to take the certification test. If they pass, they can then seek entry level employment in respiratory therapy in areas such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • In-Home Care
  • Clinics

Bachelor's Degree in Respiratory Therapy

Although an associate's degree in respiratory therapy is sufficient education to practice as a respiratory therapist, some colleges and universities offer a Bachelor's of Science degree in the subject. The Bachelor's of Science in Respiratory Therapy can open many doors for graduates that they wouldn't otherwise have access to with an associate's degree.

The bachelor's degree program takes four years to complete, and it is usually divided into two parts. The first part involves coursework related to the field of respiratory therapy which generally takes one year, and the second part involves a professional component that is completed in a hospital setting. There are also required prerequisite courses needed including Chemistry, Biology, and Algebra. In addition to the prerequisites, during the program students will need to take a number of classes in respiratory therapy including:

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • General Respiratory Care
  • Introduction to Human Disease for Respiratory Therapists
  • Neonatal/ Pediatric Respiratory Care

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program are eligible to take the examinations offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). After obtaining certification, graduates can then look for employment in fields such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Nursing Homes
  • Medical Supply Manufacturers
  • In-Home Care

Master's Degree in Respiratory Therapy

A master's degree in respiratory therapy is designed for those students looking for managerial positions in the field. A bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy is required for admission to a program, as well as letters of recommendation, and the completion of prerequisite courses including Physics, Microbiology, and College Algebra. Most master's programs take two years to complete and involve coursework, research, and clinicals. Possible courses in a Master's of Science program could include:

  • Advanced Cardiopulmonary Physiology
  • Applied Research in Respiratory Care
  • Department Leadership

After finishing the program, graduates will have opportunities in careers such as:

  • Health Management
  • Non-profit Management
  • Clinical Instructor
  • Higher Education Administration

Featured Schools

Programs offered:

  • Respiratory Therapy
Locations:  Ontario

Programs offered:

  • Respiratory Therapy
Locations:  Orlando

Programs offered:

  • Patient Care Technician
Locations:  Paramus

Programs offered:

  • Patient Care Technician
Locations:  Clearwater

Programs offered:

  • Patient Care Technician (10-month diploma program)
Locations:  Miami

Programs offered:

  • Rehabilitation Assistant
Locations:  Edmonton

Programs offered:

  • Physical Therapist Assistant - Associate's
Locations:  Newport News

Programs offered:

  • Massage Therapy Diploma
Locations:  Chesapeake

Programs offered:

  • Nursing Assistant
Locations:  Visalia

We found 374 schools offering respiratory therapist degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 374 Respiratory Therapy Technician Colleges in the U.S.

Respiratory Therapist Schools By Total Enrollment

Ohio State University - Main Campus
Columbus, OH  |  Total Enrollment: 47952

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
Miami Dade College
Miami, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 46834

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
Houston Community College System
Houston, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 40929

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
New York University
New York, NY  |  Total Enrollment: 37150

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
Northern Virginia Community College
Annandale, VA  |  Total Enrollment: 37073

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 33713

Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's
Community College of Southern Nevada
North Las Vegas, NV  |  Total Enrollment: 29905

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
College of Dupage
Glen Ellyn, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 28862

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
American River College
Sacramento, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 28420

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Mt San Antonio College
Walnut, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 28329

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years

Browse All 374 Colleges With Respiratory Therapist Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Hannibal Career and Technical Center Hannibal MO 50
California College - San Diego San Diego CA 75
Franklin Technology - Mssu Joplin MO 110
California Paramedical and Technical College Long Beach CA 169
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau MO 169
Carver Career Center Charleston WV 212
Great Plains Technology Center Lawton OK 234
Mayo School of Health Related Sciences Rochester MN 248
Ati College of Health Miami FL 269
Rolla Technical Institute Rolla MO 280
Pima Medical Institute Denver CO 288
Long Technical College Phoenix AZ 299
Concorde Career Institute Kansas City MO 320
Concorde Career Institute Lauderdale Lakes FL 349
Pima Medical Institute Tucson AZ 364
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha NE 400
Pima Medical Institute Mesa AZ 422
Louisiana Technical College - West Jefferson Campus Harvey LA 422
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences Memphis TN 432
California Paramedical and Technical College Riverside CA 436
Concorde Career College North Hollywood CA 444
Arkansas Valley Technical Institute Ozark AR 455
Wood Tobe - Coburn School New York NY 455
Kettering College of Medical Arts Kettering OH 498
O C Collins Career Center Chesapeake OH 502
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke VA 508
Cumberland Valley Technical College Pineville KY 516
Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis Memphis TN 604
San Joaquin Valley College - Visalia Visalia CA 627
Maysville Community and Technical College Morehead KY 630
San Joaquin Valley College - Bakersfield Bakersfield CA 742
Concorde Career College Memphis TN 755
T H Pickens Technical Center Aurora CO 765
Francis Tuttle Technology Center Oklahoma City OK 821
Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield ME 834
D G Erwin Technical Center Tampa FL 853
Bowling Green Technical College Bowling Green KY 854
Pulaski Technical College North Little Rock AR 893
Midland Lutheran College Fremont NE 1025
Columbia Union College Takoma Park MD 1030
Big Sandy Community and Technical College - Mayo Campus Paintsville KY 1052
Heart of Georgia Technical College Dublin GA 1068
Suny Health Science Center at Syracuse Syracuse NY 1096
University of Charleston Charleston WV 1096
Hannibal - Lagrange College Hannibal MO 1150
University of Arkansas Community College - Hope Hope AR 1176
Southern University at Shreveport Shreveport LA 1176
Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX 1192
Pinellas Technical Education Center Saint Petersburg FL 1232
Black River Technical College Pocahontas AR 1239
Okefenokee Technical College Waycross GA 1263
Marian College Indianapolis IN 1271
Bainbridge College Bainbridge GA 1311
Labette Community College Parsons KS 1338
Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville GA 1465
Carteret Community College Morehead City NC 1470
Bowling Green State University - Firelands Huron OH 1471
Jefferson Community College Steubenville OH 1482
Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling WV 1515
West Kentucky Technical College Paducah KY 1518
Stanly Community College Albemarle NC 1532
Saint Augustine College Chicago IL 1543
Southwestern Community College Sylva NC 1665
Seward County Community College Liberal KS 1750
Dakota State University Madison SD 1806
Robeson Community College Lumberton NC 1843
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock AR 1855
Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College Orangeburg SC 1861
Edgecombe Community College Tarboro NC 1877
Copiah - Lincoln Community College Wesson MS 1885
Washington State Community College Marietta OH 1911
Gwynedd Mercy College Gwynedd Valley PA 1913
Madisonville Community College Madisonville KY 1915
The University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston Galveston TX 1927
Medical College of Georgia Augusta GA 1932
Newman University Wichita KS 1967
Siena Heights University Adrian MI 1972
Hacienda La Puente Unified School District - Adult Education City Of Industry CA 2030
Georgia Highlands College Rome GA 2090
Newbury College - Brookline Brookline MA 2152
New Hampshire Community Technical College - Nashua/claremont Nashua NH 2176
Big Sandy Community and Technical College Prestonsburg KY 2207
Howard College Big Spring TX 2260
Sussex County Community College Newton NJ 2286
Coosa Valley Technical College Rome GA 2313
West Virginia University Institute of Technology Montgomery WV 2326
Southern Maine Community College South Portland ME 2334
University of Mary Bismarck ND 2343
University of Kansas Medical Center Kansas City KS 2409
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland KY 2411
Shenandoah University Winchester VA 2428
Molloy College Rockville Centre NY 2478
West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling WV 2486
Berkshire Community College Pittsfield MA 2494
James A Rhodes State College Lima OH 2521
Champlain College Burlington VT 2530
The University of Texas Health Science - San Antonio San Antonio TX 2543
Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs WY 2579
Mid - State Technical College Wisconsin Rapids WI 2584
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland MD 2592
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