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 (10-month diploma program)
Locations:  Miami

Programs offered:

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

Programs offered:

  • Nursing Assistant
Locations:  Visalia

Programs offered:

  • Patient Care Technician
Locations:  Clearwater

Programs offered:

  • Massage Therapy Diploma
Locations:  Chesapeake

Programs offered:

  • Rehabilitation Assistant
Locations:  Edmonton

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
Southwest Virginia Community College Richlands VA 3819
Southwestern Community College Sylva NC 1665
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville IL 13351
Spartanburg Technical College Spartanburg SC 3030
Spokane Community College Spokane WA 7767
Springfield Technical Community College Springfield MA 6705
St Petersburg College Clearwater FL 19900
St Philips College San Antonio TX 7921
Stanly Community College Albemarle NC 1532
Stark State College of Technology Canton OH 4507
Stony Brook University Stony Brook NY 19924
Suny Health Science Center at Syracuse Syracuse NY 1096
Suny Westchester Commmunity College Valhalla NY 10819
Sussex County Community College Newton NJ 2286
T H Pickens Technical Center Aurora CO 765
Tacoma Community College Tacoma WA 5302
Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee FL 10816
Tarrant County College Fort Worth TX 26868
Temple College Temple TX 3404
Tennessee State University Nashville TN 8640
Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis Memphis TN 604
Texas Southern University Houston TX 6886
Texas Southmost College Brownsville TX 7776
Texas State University - San Marcos San Marcos TX 22423
The Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk MD 18168
The University of Texas Health Science - San Antonio San Antonio TX 2543
The University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston Galveston TX 1927
Tidewater Community College Norfolk VA 20184
Trident Technical College Charleston SC 10246
Triton College River Grove IL 16927
Tulsa Community College Tulsa OK 16270
Tyler Junior College Tyler TX 8319
Union County College Cranford NJ 8655
University of Akron Main Campus Akron OH 21363
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham AL 14951
University of Arkansas Community College - Hope Hope AR 1176
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock AR 1855
University of Central Arkansas Conway AR 8481
University of Central Florida Orlando FL 33713
University of Charleston Charleston WV 1096
University of Hartford West Hartford CT 6895
University of Kansas Medical Center Kansas City KS 2409
University of Louisville Louisville KY 19771
University of Mary Bismarck ND 2343
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark NJ 4666
University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia MO 23309
University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown Johnstown PA 3031
University of South Alabama Mobile AL 11673
University of Southern Indiana Evansville IN 9012
University of the District of Columbia Washington DC 5358
University of Toledo Toledo OH 19491
Valencia Community College Orlando FL 27565
Victor Valley Community College Victorville CA 9221
Victoria College Victoria TX 4022
Vincennes University Vincennes IN 9169
Volunteer State Community College Gallatin TN 6567
Walters State Community College Morristown TN 6163
Washburn University Topeka KS 5917
Washington State Community College Marietta OH 1911
Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor MI 11089
Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove IL 7602
Wayne County Community College District Detroit MI 9008
Weatherford College Weatherford TX 2788
Weber State University Ogden UT 16050
West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester PA 12272
West Kentucky Technical College Paducah KY 1518
West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling WV 2486
West Virginia University Institute of Technology Montgomery WV 2326
Western Wisconsin Technical College La Crosse WI 4928
Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs WY 2579
Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling WV 1515
Wood Tobe - Coburn School New York NY 455
York College Pennsylvania York PA 5254
Youngstown State University Youngstown OH 11787
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