Master's Degrees in Respiratory Therapy

Earning a master's degree in respiratory therapy could allow you to teach others or take on leadership roles in a clinical setting. Find out program details and certification requirements. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Study in a Master's Degree Program in Respiratory Therapy?

The goal of your respiratory therapy program is to prepare you for advanced clinical practice and teaching in the field. You will take a combination of lecture-based and lab-focused courses. The lab courses include practical training in a clinical setting, such as a local hospital. Additionally, you may have to complete a thesis or research project.

You will study topics covering the breadth of respiratory therapy, including respiratory equipment, cardiopulmonary physiology, mechanical ventilation and current trends in respiratory care. To best prepare you for a career in respiratory therapy education, you may be required to complete courses in educational theory and a teaching practicum. Due to the clinical and teaching requirements of these programs, they are generally not available online.

Common Courses Mechanical ventilation, respiratory equipment, respiratory care, cardiopulmonary physiology
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree is required; schools may also require standardized test scores, previously related coursework and healthcare work experience
Licensure Required in all states, except Alaska; requirements vary by state
Certifications NBRC offers the entry-level CRT and the advanced RRT credentials
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (for respiratory therapists)*
Median Salary (2018)$60,280 (for respiratory therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Prerequisites Are Required for This Degree?

You must possess a bachelor's degree prior to entering a master's degree program in respiratory therapy. Though you can have an undergraduate degree from any field, you must have successfully completed relevant coursework, including anatomy and physiology, microbiology, statistics, public health, chemistry and physics. In some cases, you will also be required to have at least one year of professional experience in a healthcare setting. If you are already employed as a respiratory therapist, you may have to provide proof of your credentials.

To prepare for the master's program in respiratory therapy, you can take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). A resume or curriculum vitae may also be required, as well as professional references.

What Licensure Will I Be Required to Earn?

If you are new to the field of respiratory therapy, you will need to obtain licensure upon completion of your master's degree before beginning professional practice, except in Alaska. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers both the entry-level Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and advanced Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) designations. The RRT is most commonly required for leadership roles in respiratory therapy and can only be obtained upon completion of an advanced program - such as a master's degree program - and successful completion of two exams. For positions at all levels, most employers also require respiratory therapists to hold certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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