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Training and Educational Requirements for Respiratory Therapists

While the field of respiratory therapy continues to offer new job opportunities and is growing faster than the national average, most of the positions will be given to those with the highest level of training.

To pursue a career in respiratory therapy, you will need formal training. Respiratory therapy technicians need at least an associate's degree, although a bachelor's degree is sometimes preferred by employers. You will need to take courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, and math. Then you can proceed to more detailed coursework on the specifics of respiratory therapy, such as the diagnostic tests, equipment, and therapies that respiratory therapy technicians use. You will also have to learn about proper recordkeeping and insurance reimbursement.

At the postsecondary level, there are 51 entry-level and 329 advanced respiratory therapy programs accredited in the United States. Most programs award associate’s or bachelor’s degrees and prepare graduates for jobs as advanced respiratory therapists. All States (except Alaska and Hawaii), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico require respiratory therapists to obtain a license to practice.

Respiratory Therapy Licensing and Certification Programs

After completing your education and training, you will need to apply for certification and registration to the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). To become a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) you will need to pass an additional examination. Further study and an additional two exams will then let you advance to a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). However, respiratory therapist technicians only need to qualify at the CRT level. You will only need to obtain an RRT certification if you wish to become a supervisor or work in an intensive-care unit. A master's degree also helps with job advancement opportunities.

On the job itself, a respiratory therapist will usually start in general care and then move on to the critically ill, especially those with problems in other organ systems. Or you can move on to a teaching position and advance in that direction.

Additional Resources for Individuals Pursuing a Career in Respiratory Therapy
Bureau of Labor Statistics Information for Respiratory Therapists
The American Association for Respiratory Therapy
Respiratory Therapist Job Summary

 

Featured Respiratory Therapist Schools

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Southern California Health Institute

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program
Quick Summary: Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.

Fortis Institute

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Scranton
Programs:
  • Patient Care Technician
Quick Summary:

At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

Please call on  844-252-4552 to talk to a respresentative.


Pima Medical Institute

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
Quick Summary:

Explore a new career with Pima Medical Institute.


American Career College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Associate of Occupational Science in Respiratory Therapy
Quick Summary:

American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California.


McCann School of Business & Technology

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Sunbury
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy - Associate of Specialized Technology
Quick Summary: Whether preparing to enter the professional world or expanding your skills, education should be available wherever, whenever. With McCann you can rely on challenging programs, interesting curriculum, and a friendly educational environment.

If quality is what you want then McCann is where you want to be.


Miller-Motte Technical College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Clarksville
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy - Associate of Applied Science
Quick Summary: With Miller-Motte you can expect the focus to be on you, the student, and your career. We are committed to Changing Futures, Changing Lives, and it all starts with you. You can rely on challenging programs, interesting curriculum, and educators with industry experience preparing you for your new future.


Keiser University Campus

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy, AS
  • Physical Therapy Assistant, AS
  • Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
Quick Summary:

Keiser University offers degrees in fields that are in demand and provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.


New England Institute of Technology

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Warwick
Programs:
  • Associate in Science Degree in Respiratory Care Technology
  • Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant Technology
Quick Summary:

New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit, co-educational technical college offering over 30 Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs.


California College San Diego

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy (BS)
  • Respiratory Therapy (AS)
Quick Summary:

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

 

Congratulations! Your interest in California College San Diego is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.


Platt College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Alhambra
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy
Quick Summary: Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

Kaplan Career Institute

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Philadelphia
Programs:
  • Associate in Specialized Technology: Respiratory Care
Quick Summary: Give yourself a competitive edge with a degree from ICM School of Business & Medical Careers.

Independence University

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy (AS)
Quick Summary:

Congratulations! Your interest in Independence University is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.


Spencerian College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Louisville
Programs:
  • Respiratory Therapy, AAS
Quick Summary: Get your career started with an education from Spencerian College.

Platt College (Oklahoma)

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Oklahoma City
Programs:
  • Respiratory Care - AS
Quick Summary:

Pursue your education with Platt College (Oklahoma).


Carrington College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Physical Therapy Technology
Quick Summary:

Welcome to Carrington College - The Starting Point for Health Care Careers.


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