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:  Orlando

Programs offered:

  • Respiratory Therapy
Locations:  Ontario

Programs offered:

  • Patient Care Technician
Locations:  Paramus

Programs offered:

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

Programs offered:

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

Programs offered:

  • Patient Care Technician
Locations:  Clearwater

Programs offered:

  • Massage Therapy Diploma
Locations:  Chesapeake

Programs offered:

  • Rehabilitation Assistant
Locations:  Edmonton

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
Francis Tuttle Technology Center Oklahoma City OK 821
Franklin Technology - Mssu Joplin MO 110
Frederick Community College Frederick MD 4343
Fresno City College Fresno CA 19351
Front Range Community College Westminster CO 12962
Gannon University Erie PA 3377
Gateway Community College Phoenix AZ 7895
Genesee Community College Batavia NY 4521
George C Wallace Community College - Dothan Dothan AL 3612
George C Wallace State Community College - Hanceville Hanceville AL 4696
Georgia Highlands College Rome GA 2090
Georgia State University Atlanta GA 23625
Gloucester County College Sewell NJ 4669
Great Plains Technology Center Lawton OK 234
Greenville Technical College Greenville SC 10786
Grossmont College El Cajon CA 16309
Gulf Coast Community College Panama City FL 5341
Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville GA 4814
Gwynedd Mercy College Gwynedd Valley PA 1913
Hacienda La Puente Unified School District - Adult Education City Of Industry CA 2030
Hannibal - Lagrange College Hannibal MO 1150
Hannibal Career and Technical Center Hannibal MO 50
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg Harrisburg PA 7572
Hawkeye Community College Waterloo IA 4263
Heart of Georgia Technical College Dublin GA 1068
Henry Ford Community College Dearborn MI 12742
Highline Community College Des Moines WA 6327
Hillsborough Community College Tampa FL 18497
Hinds Community College Raymond MS 16032
Houston Community College System Houston TX 40929
Howard College Big Spring TX 2260
Hudson County Community College Jersey City NJ 4854
Hudson Valley Community College Troy NY 9304
Illinois Central College East Peoria IL 11053
Indian River Community College Fort Pierce FL 13186
Indiana University - Northwest Gary IN 4649
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis IN 27525
Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus Indiana PA 13410
Itawamba Community College Fulton MS 3467
Ivy Tech Community College - Central Indiana Indianapolis IN 6748
Ivy Tech Community College - Lafayette Lafayette IN 3013
Ivy Tech Community College - Northeast Fort Wayne IN 3392
Ivy Tech Community College - Northwest Gary IN 4675
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College Richmond VA 10091
Jackson State Community College Jackson TN 3726
James A Rhodes State College Lima OH 2521
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke VA 508
Jefferson Community College Louisville KY 9520
Jefferson Community College Steubenville OH 1482
Johnson County Community College Overland Park KS 16383
Kalamazoo Valley Community College Kalamazoo MI 9319
Kankakee Community College Kankakee IL 3120
Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City KS 5238
Kapiolani Community College Honolulu HI 6760
Kaskaskia College Centralia IL 2676
Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield ME 834
Kettering College of Medical Arts Kettering OH 498
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids IA 11645
Labette Community College Parsons KS 1338
Lake Superior College Duluth MN 3972
Lakeland Community College Kirtland OH 7722
Lamar University Beaumont TX 11550
Lane Community College Eugene OR 9957
Lansing Community College Lansing MI 16011
Lexington Community College Lexington KY 7214
Lincoln Land Community College Springfield IL 6789
Loma Linda University Loma Linda CA 3153
Long Technical College Phoenix AZ 299
Los Angeles Valley College Valley Glen CA 17393
Louisiana State University - Eunice Eunice LA 2704
Louisiana Technical College - West Jefferson Campus Harvey LA 422
Luzerne County Community College Nanticoke PA 5920
Macomb Community College Warren MI 22001
Macon State College Macon GA 4116
Madison Area Technical College Madison WI 14474
Madisonville Community College Madisonville KY 1915
Manatee Community College Bradenton FL 7834
Manchester Community College Manchester CT 5135
Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Mansfield PA 3113
Marian College Indianapolis IN 1271
Marshall University Huntington WV 15640
Marygrove College Detroit MI 5744
Massachusetts Bay Community College Wellesley Hills MA 4458
Massasoit Community College Brockton MA 6706
Mayo School of Health Related Sciences Rochester MN 248
Maysville Community and Technical College Morehead KY 630
Mclennan Community College Waco TX 5731
Medical College of Georgia Augusta GA 1932
Meridian Community College Meridian MS 3096
Metropolitan Community College Area Omaha NE 11534
Miami Dade College Miami FL 46834
Mid - State Technical College Wisconsin Rapids WI 2584
Middlesex County College Edison NJ 10398
Midland College Midland TX 4842
Midland Lutheran College Fremont NE 1025
Midlands Technical College West Columbia SC 9702
Midwestern State University Wichita Falls TX 5809
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee WI 14296
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston MS 8768
Missouri Southern State University Joplin MO 5785
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