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Penn Foster High School

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Respiratory Therapist Classes

Find out what you'll study in respiratory therapy classes. Learn what types of degrees are available and the certifications you may qualify for after your degree.

What Types of Respiratory Therapy Classes Will I Take?

If you want to study respiratory therapy, you probably won't take a single course; instead, programs in this field consist of many related courses that train you in anatomy, medical procedures and medical technology. Here is a sampling of respiratory therapy classes available:

Fundamentals of Respiratory Therapy

Students in this course should learn the fundamentals of respiratory care, including patient assessment and the medical terminology of respiratory therapy. Other topics might include how to evaluate vital signs and how to administer oxygen. This course may also cover such practical information as licensing and charting.

Cardiopulmonary Physiology

This course covers the symbiotic relationship between the cardiovascular, renal, and pulmonary systems. Students will most likely study breathing mechanics and control mechanisms of ventilation. Students may study various patient cohorts like neonatal or geriatric and how to approach their treatment. Other topics might include arterial blood gas readings and physiological control mechanisms that regulate breathing.

Neonatal Respiratory Care

Neonatal respiratory care courses usually cover the specialized techniques and skills needed for infants, such as lung development and neonatal resuscitation. Students might also learn assessment of vital signs and evaluation methods post-birth. Also discussed may be fetal circulation and pulmonary disorders, as well as neonatal ventilator management.

Respiratory Care Pharmacology

Respiratory therapy includes the administering of drugs in clinical practice. Students in this course may learn the differences between aerosol and non-aerosol therapy, and the classes of drugs used to treat patients. Dosages, side effects, and cardiovascular drug therapy may also be covered.

Clinical Practice Guidelines Respiratory Therapy Protocol

This course might include observing respiratory therapy procedures, including medical gas and aerosol therapy. Also covered may be studying research methodology to analyze treatment approaches. The GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) method may be explained as well.

Where Should I Look if I Want To Take Classes in Respiratory Therapy?

If you have a high school diploma, you could apply to undergraduate degree programs in respiratory therapy. You could enroll in an Associate of Applied Science or Bachelor of Science degree program. At the graduate level, you could enroll in a Master of Science degree program in respiratory therapy.

There are several levels of certification available. A CRT (Certified Respiratory Therapist) is required to have an associate's or bachelor degree and may take a national exam to receive credentials. Further certification after passing the CRT exam may be earned by taking a clinical exam for an RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist).