Online Schools for Respiratory Therapy Technicians
Read about your options for studying respiratory therapy online at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Find out how online programs work in this field. Check some of the course topics you'd study in a 2-year or 4-year respiratory therapy program, and review the education and certification requirements for respiratory therapy technicians.
It's possible to find respiratory therapy degree programs delivered online or in a hybrid format at multiple degree levels. This article will look at these programs, their coursework and their formats in order to prepare you for choosing the best school for your needs.
Are Online Degrees Available for Respiratory Therapy Technicians?
The minimum educational requirement for a respiratory therapy technician is an associate degree, though online programs at this level are very rare. Schools that provide online instruction in a respiratory therapy associate's program do so in a limited capacity, offering some courses online and requiring classroom or on-site attendance for necessary practice. Depending on the subject matter, schools may employ one or more distance learning methods such as streaming video lecture, synchronous classroom communication or online reading materials. Graduation from an accredited associate degree program qualifies you to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT), a standard for entry-level positions in the field.
Bachelor's degree completion programs in respiratory therapy are found more frequently in an online format. You will need an associate degree in respiratory care to be admitted to the program. Completion programs are typically designed for certified respiratory therapy technicians to become respiratory therapists. While you may earn the advanced Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential with an associate degree and two or more years' experience, as a student enrolled in a bachelor's degree program, you are eligible to test for the designation prior to graduation.
What Will I Learn in an Associate Degree Program?
Associate degree programs are the foundational educational components of respiratory therapy training and, therefore, require most or all studies to be performed on-campus. These 2-year programs usually contain a number of clinical practicums and lab courses that must be completed in person. In addition, classes such as technical respiratory intervention, perinatal pediatrics, cardiopulmonary care, neonatal resuscitation and therapeutic intervention require physical participation for hands-on labs and practicums. Some schools may allow you to complete portions of professional courses and general education online. Specific courses available online include case studies, sleep studies, pulmonary function testing and a comprehensive review, which prepares you to sit for the CRT exam.
Which Schools Offer Online Associate Degree Programs in Respiratory Therapy?
While some associate degree programs in respiratory therapy may be offered entirely online, most will take the form of a hybrid program. Take a look at these programs:
- Southeast Community College provides an Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Care degree program available in a hybrid format
- Independence University hosts an online Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree program
- Ferris State University has a hybrid format Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Care degree program
What Sort of Courses are Required for a Bachelor's Degree Program?
In order to qualify for any online bachelor's degree completion program in respiratory therapy, you'll need an associate degree. Some schools require you also obtain some experience and the RRT credential prior to enrollment. In order to sit for the RRT certification exam, you must first hold the CRT designation and provide proof of experience or a certificate of completion for specific baccalaureate coursework.
Although most schools allow you to complete your degree online, your previous educational experience will likely be reviewed by an admissions committee. If you lack the required hours of practical training necessary for the program, you may need to participate in additional supervised rotations. Usually, clinical requirements can be met at an approved facility near your home.
Bachelor's degree courses typically include pharmacology, cardiovascular physiology, respiratory theory, sleep studies, patient monitoring and current issues in respiratory therapy. Usually, a Web-based course management system, such as Blackboard, is used to deliver the program.
Which Schools Offer Online Bachelor Degree Programs in Respiratory Therapy?
Many online bachelor degree programs in respiratory therapy or care are offered as degree completion programs. Take a look at the ones below:
- Boise State University houses an online Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care degree completion program
- University of Missouri delivers an online Bachelor of Health Sciences in Respiratory Therapy degree completion program
- Oregon Institute of Technology has a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care degree completion program available online
When looking to become a respiratory therapy technician, you can earn either an associate's or bachelor's degree; both can be earned through online learning. Associate degrees will likely require some on-campus work or clinical work, though bachelor degree completion programs can usually be completed entirely online.