Schools with Respiratory Care Training Programs

Find tips for locating a school with respiratory care training programs. Learn the education, certification and licensure requirements for respiratory therapists. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Students interested in respiratory care have educational options at the graduate and undergraduate levels, both online and on campus. See what's involved with the coursework, and find out how these programs can lead to licensure and work as a respiratory therapist.

How Can I Locate a School with a Respiratory Care Program?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is an excellent source of post-secondary schools and programs. A search of the NCES online database yields over 400 schools that offer undergraduate programs in respiratory care or therapy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that although an associate's degree is the standard minimum requirement, with a post-secondary certificate, you may be able to qualify for an entry-level position as a respiratory therapy technician (

However, if you intend to practice as a respiratory therapist, it might be more expedient for you to deal with the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). CoARC maintains an online directory of schools that offer accredited programs leading to associate's and bachelor's degrees in respiratory care.

What Degree Will I Need?

The minimum education required to become a respiratory therapist is an associate's degree. The BLS further states that a bachelor's or master's degree might increase your chances for advancement to a position in management, administration, research or education.

A 2-year program often leads to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree. Some typical courses might include respiratory therapy principles, pathophysiology, mechanical ventilation, home respiratory care, pulmonary rehabilitation, airway management, pharmacology, bronchial hygiene and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). All programs include general education requirements and have a large amount of lab work and clinical practicums.

Schools can offer a bachelor's degree or degree-completion program, for which you may qualify if you hold an associate's degree and have been certified. Bachelor's degree programs allow you to place emphasis on a certain area. Master's degree programs allow you to choose a concentration and submit a thesis.

Which Schools Offer Associate Degree Programs in Respiratory Care?

Respiratory care associate degree programs are common at numerous colleges, such as these schools:

  • Independence University provides an Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree program.
  • Skyline College has an Associate of Science Degree in Respiratory Care degree program.
  • Malcolm X College in Chicago offers an Associate in Applied Science in Respiratory Care degree program.

Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degree Programs in Respiratory Care?

Many colleges and universities allow students to earn a bachelor's degree in respiratory care. Here are a few:

  • Millersville University offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology with specialization in respiratory care.
  • Missouri State University has a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy.
  • University of North Carolina Charlotte has a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree program available online.

Which Schools Offer Master's Degree Programs in Respiratory Care?

At the graduate level, a wide range of schools offer master's degree programs in respiratory care both online and on-campus. The programs below are a few examples:

  • Rush University in Chicago offers a Master of Science in Respiratory Care.
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has a Master of Science in Respiratory Care degree program.
  • Georgia State University hosts a Master of Science in Health Sciences with a specialization in respiratory care.

What Are Some Online Opportunities?

Because of the necessity of hands-on, practical training, there are no online associate's degree programs available. Once you've earned your associate's degree and have been certified, you qualify for an online degree-completion program, leading to a Bachelor of Science. In addition, online master's degree programs are available and will lead to management positions. You can also find online continuing education courses offered by organizations such as the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

Which Schools Offer Online Respiratory Care Degrees?

  • University of Missouri offers a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Respiratory Therapy degree program online.
  • Boise State University hosts an online Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care degree program.
  • Northeastern University delivers an online Master of Science in Respiratory Care Leadership degree program.

What Can You Tell Me about Licensure and Certification?

Schools do not grant certification or licensure. If you have completed at least a CoARC-accredited associate's degree program, you may qualify to sit for a written certification examination. Certification exams are administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). The designation earned is entitled the certified respiratory therapist (CRT).

Once you become a CRT, you're immediately eligible to sit for the examination leading to the more advanced designation of registered respiratory therapist (RRT). The RRT exam consists of a written portion and a clinical simulation portion.

The BLS mentions that nearly all states require you to hold a license in order to practice as a respiratory therapist. Licensure is largely dependent upon holding either CRT or RRT certification. You can access the NBRC website to learn the specific requirements of your state.

For undergraduate students, associate and bachelor's degree programs are offered in respiratory care and can lead to entry-level work in the field. A master's degree program expands on this knowledge and experience, allowing students further opportunities in research and their careers.

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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