Online Respiratory Therapy Degree Programs

Respiratory therapy education programs explore human science, theory and treatment methods. Learn about undergraduate degrees, courses of study, licensing requirements and career options after graduation. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Respiratory Therapy Degrees Are Available to Me?

In a respiratory therapy associate's degree program you can learn how to work with patients who have difficulty breathing. Working under the supervision of a physician, you may evaluate and diagnose breathing problems and provide therapeutic treatments for patients in need.

A bachelor's degree program in respiratory therapy can prepare you for administrative job duties in the field. These programs can also give respiratory therapists the opportunity to increase their skill levels.

Degree LevelsAssociate's, bachelor's
Online AvailabilityBachelor's programs are more widely available than associate's
Common Course TopicsPhysics, microbiology, advanced pharmacology, advanced cardiac life support, neonatal care
Possible CareersRespiratory therapist in a variety of healthcare settings, administrative position
LicensureLicensure requirements vary by state; after completing an accredited program, students can sit for the NBRC's credentialing exam
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (for respiratory therapists)*
Median Salary (2018)$60,280 (for respiratory therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Complete These Programs Online?

Due to the hands-on nature of training in this field, online associate's degree programs are rare. However, a few schools may offer blended programs. Coursework can be completed online while clinical lab requirements are completed on campus.

Online respiratory therapy bachelor's degree programs are more widely available. If you have an associate's degree in respiratory therapy, these programs allow you to finish the 2-year bachelor's degree portion entirely online.

What Will I Learn?

In a respiratory therapy associate's degree program, you can learn therapeutic protocols and air management techniques. You can also learn how to administer mechanical ventilation therapy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and diagnostic procedures. Programs also cover topics in cardiopulmonary system pathology, cardiopulmonary science, neonatal and pediatric theory, critical care monitoring, patient evaluation techniques and health science.

Coursework in a respiratory therapy bachelor's degree program may include anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology and statistics. You'll also take core courses in advanced pharmacology, pulmonary diseases, advanced cardiac life support and neonatal respiratory care techniques. Some online programs highlight management course topics, such as program design and administration.

What Will a Respiratory Therapy Degree Prepare Me For?

With an associate's degree you can work as a respiratory therapist in hospital emergency rooms, operating rooms, neonatal care units and intensive care units. You may also find opportunities to work in long-term care facilities, home care or rehabilitation clinics. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree can prepare you to oversee a staff of respiratory therapy technicians (

Do I Need to Be Licensed?

Respiratory therapists must be licensed to practice in most states. According to the BLS, most state licensing requirements are similar to those for receiving the National Board for Respiratory Care's (NBRC) Certified Respiratory Therapist credential. Students who graduate from an associate's or bachelor's degree program accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) or Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) can sit for the NBRC's written certification exam.

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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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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