What Education Programs Are Available in Respiratory Therapy?
Respiratory therapists specialize in pulmonary issues like asthma or emphysema. Read on to learn about the different educational programs you can enter to become a respiratory therapist.
Overview of Respiratory Therapy Educations Programs
Several different levels of education are available for respiratory therapists, depending on their desired career path. This article covers the types of education programs available in respiratory therapy, looking at the educational requirements for certification in the field and explaining the need for respiratory therapists who have pursued graduate education.
Important Facts About This Field of Study
|Common Courses||Medical terminology, general science, and pulmonary anatomy|
|Possible Careers||Respiratory therapist, clinical education coordinator, postsecondary educator in respiratory therapy|
|Online Availability||Fully online programs available|
|Concentrations||Clinical education and respiratory therapy management tracks|
|Median Salary (2020)||$62,810|
|Job Growth (2019-2029)||19%|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Most associate's degrees in respiratory therapy will prepare you for certification as a respiratory therapist. The entry-level CRT (certified respiratory therapist) certification issued by the National Board for Respiratory Care requires, at minimum, an associate's degree. Occasionally, an associate's degree program may require you to have already earned your CRT certification and will instead prepare you for the more advanced RRT certification (Registered Respiratory Therapist). Eligibility for this examination, in part, can be demonstrated by completion of an advanced respiratory therapy educational program.
Respiratory therapy bachelor's degrees, such as a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy or Bachelor of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy, are similar to associate's degrees in that they prepare you for the NBRC Respiratory Therapy examinations. In some programs, passing the National Board for Respiratory Care's entry-level examination is a prerequisite for graduation. You should expect a substantial component of a bachelor's program in respiratory therapy to consist of clinical practice.
At the graduate level, respiratory therapy educational programs are no longer about obtaining certification - indeed, certification is generally required before beginning the program. According to the American Association for Respiratory Care (www.aarc.org), the comparatively small number of graduate programs has led to a fairly high vacancy rate for respiratory therapy instructors and a need for qualified managers and supervisors with advanced-level education. You should therefore expect that a graduate degree program, such as one for a Master of Science in Health Science in Respiratory Therapy, will train you as a researcher, manager, or educator.