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:

  • Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
Locations:  Fort Lauderdale

Programs offered:

  • Respiratory Therapy
Locations:  Alhambra

Programs offered:

  • Respiratory Therapy
Locations:  Orlando

Programs offered:

  • Nursing Assistant
Locations:  Visalia

Programs offered:

  • Massage Therapy Diploma
Locations:  Virginia Beach

Programs offered:

  • Patient Care Technician
Locations:  Paramus

Programs offered:

  • Rehabilitation Assistant
Locations:  Edmonton

Programs offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science (Post PTA)
  • Associate of Applied Science Physical Therapist Assistant
Locations:  Asheville

Programs offered:

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

Programs offered:

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

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
Missouri State University Springfield MO 17703
Mohawk Valley Community College - Utica Branch Utica NY 5092
Molloy College Rockville Centre NY 2478
Monroe County Community College Monroe MI 3555
Moraine Valley Community College Palos Hills IL 12972
Mott Community College Flint MI 8659
Mountain Empire Community College Big Stone Gap VA 2741
Mt Hood Community College Gresham OR 8556
Mt San Antonio College Walnut CA 28329
Muskegon Community College Muskegon MI 4311
Napa Valley College Napa CA 7152
Nassau Community College Garden City NY 19621
National - Louis University Chicago IL 7222
Naugatuck Valley Community College Waterbury CT 5116
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha NE 400
New Hampshire Community Technical College - Nashua/claremont Nashua NH 2176
New York University New York NY 37150
Newbury College - Brookline Brookline MA 2152
Newman University Wichita KS 1967
Nicholls State University Thibodaux LA 7326
North Central State College Mansfield OH 2813
North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo ND 9902
North Harris Montgomery Community College District The Woodlands TX 24554
North Shore Community College Danvers MA 6285
Northeast Iowa Community College - Calmar Calmar IA 3480
Northeast Mississippi Community College Booneville MS 2796
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay WI 7500
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Northern Essex Community College Haverhill MA 6580
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights KY 12080
Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa OK 2690
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale VA 37073
Northwest Arkansas Community College Bentonville AR 4058
Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia MS 4776
Norwalk Community College Norwalk CT 5377
O C Collins Career Center Chesapeake OH 502
Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills Campus Bloomfield Hills MI 23188
Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus OH 47952
Ohlone College Fremont CA 9444
Okefenokee Technical College Waycross GA 1263
Onondaga Community College Syracuse NY 7848
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa CA 23315
Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College Orangeburg SC 1861
Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield MO 6343
Palm Beach Community College Lake Worth FL 17326
Parkland College Champaign IL 8026
Passaic County Community College Paterson NJ 4633
Pearl River Community College Poplarville MS 2800
Penn Valley Community College Kansas City MO 4366
Pensacola Junior College Pensacola FL 9985
Piedmont Technical College Greenwood SC 4104
Pima Community College Tucson AZ 28078
Pima Medical Institute Mesa AZ 422
Pima Medical Institute Tucson AZ 364
Pima Medical Institute Denver CO 288
Pinellas Technical Education Center Saint Petersburg FL 1232
Pitt Community College Winterville NC 4973
Prince Georges Community College Largo MD 11563
Pueblo Community College Pueblo CO 4654
Pulaski Technical College North Little Rock AR 893
Quinnipiac University Hamden CT 6477
Quinsigamond Community College Worcester MA 5617
Raritan Valley Community College Somerville NJ 5751
Reading Area Community College Reading PA 2885
Roane State Community College Harriman TN 5099
Robeson Community College Lumberton NC 1843
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester MN 4778
Rock Valley College Rockford IL 7699
Rockland Community College Suffern NY 6262
Rogue Community College Grants Pass OR 4071
Rolla Technical Institute Rolla MO 280
Rose State College Midwest City OK 7471
Sacred Heart University Fairfield CT 5684
Saint Augustine College Chicago IL 1543
Saint Louis Community College - Forest Park Saint Louis MO 6749
Saint Paul College - A Community and Technical College Saint Paul MN 5247
Salisbury University Salisbury MD 6421
San Jacinto College - Central Campus Pasadena TX 10507
San Joaquin Valley College - Bakersfield Bakersfield CA 742
San Joaquin Valley College - Visalia Visalia CA 627
Sandhills Community College Pinehurst NC 2933
Santa Fe Community College Gainesville FL 12464
Santa Monica College Santa Monica CA 27868
Seattle Community College - Central Campus Seattle WA 6567
Seminole Community College Sanford FL 9042
Seward County Community College Liberal KS 1750
Shawnee State University Portsmouth OH 3280
Shelton State Community College Tuscaloosa AL 5330
Shenandoah University Winchester VA 2428
Siena Heights University Adrian MI 1972
Simi Valley Adult School and Career Institute Simi Valley CA 5902
Sinclair Community College Dayton OH 19026
Skyline College San Bruno CA 8689
South Plains College Levelland TX 6731
Southeast Community College Area Lincoln NE 7396
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland KY 2411
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale IL 22552
Southern Maine Community College South Portland ME 2334
Southern University at Shreveport Shreveport LA 1176
Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville GA 1465
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