Online Respiratory Therapy Schools and Courses

Respiratory therapy programs and courses teach students about asthma, bronchitis and emphysema and how they affect the lungs. Read on to learn about what types of programs are offered online, what topics will be covered, how to choose a school and what the career outlook is for respiratory therapists. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Respiratory therapy schools offer degrees in this subject at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Many degrees are offered 100% online, or as hybrid programs, allowing you to complete some of your work in person. After you receive training through a number of medical classes, you are prepared to begin your career by testing for your respiratory therapist license.

Schools You may want to research the amount of in-person work each school requires
Degrees Schools offer associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees
Courses Mechanical ventilation, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, respiratory care, pulmonary diagnostics, cardiopulmonary disease, healthcare management, pharmacology and pathophysiology

What Types of Online Respiratory Therapy Programs are Available to Me?

Many colleges and universities offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in respiratory therapy. Often, these respiratory therapy programs are found within a school's department of kinesiology. Some schools offer online studies only in degree completion programs. Although rare, graduate degree programs in respiratory care leadership may allow you to specialize in health management, clinical trial design and higher education administration.

Some schools that have online or hybrid degree programs in respiratory therapy include:

  • Independence University
  • University of Southern Indiana
  • Middle Georgia State University
  • University of Missouri
  • University of North Carolina - Charlotte
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center - San Antonio
  • Youngstown State University

What Topics Will I Study?

An online respiratory therapy program has courses that focus on how to analyze behavioral, cultural and social tendencies within a healthcare environment. You will learn when a patient requires respiratory care, how to administer care and how to prove that a course of treatment is successful. Many programs offer anatomy and physiology, microbiology, respiratory care and pulmonary diagnostics classes. Courses you may take within an online respiratory therapy program include:

  • Cardiopulmonary disease
  • Healthcare management
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Critical care management
  • Airway management
  • Mechanical ventilation

How Do I Choose a School?

Before you choose a school, you should find out whether or not the online respiratory therapy program is offered completely or partially online. Since respiratory therapists interact with patients on a daily basis, most online programs require you to participate in hands-on patient care in addition to Internet-based coursework. In an online bachelor's degree program, you may need to complete a capstone project, such as a research paper or presentation focusing on respiratory care.

Will I Need to Be Licensed?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), currently, all states except for Alaska require licensure to practice as a respiratory therapist ( Alaska does recommend certification, but it's not a requirement. Once you graduate from a degree program, you may be eligible for the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) certification examinations, which are offered through the National Board for Respiratory Care (

How Is the Job Market for Respiratory Therapists?

In order to become a respiratory care therapist, you need at least an associate's degree and license to practice as one. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that future employment for respiratory therapists is favorable. Between the years of 2016 and 2026 employment of respiratory therapists is expected to increase by 23% ( The increasing demand is due to growth of the elderly population who suffer from cardiopulmonary disease and other respiratory ailments. You may be able to find work at hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians' offices and home health agencies.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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