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Educational Requirements for Respiratory Therapists

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 qualification.

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 record keeping 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, 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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Platt College

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

Brightwood College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Respiratory Care - Associates
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Therapy Health Technician
Quick Summary:

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.


California College San Diego

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

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started


San Joaquin Valley College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Degree - Respiratory Therapy
Quick Summary:

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.


Fremont College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Los Angeles
Programs:
  • AA - Sports and Rehabilitation Therapy
Quick Summary:
Fremont College traces its roots to Platt College’s founding in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879, and the Southern California branch campus was established in 1986.

California University of Pennsylvania

[Campus]
Locations:
  • California
Programs:
  • Rehabilitation Sciences (Master of Science) - Online
  • Rehabilitation Sciences (Certificate) - Online
Quick Summary:

Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017


Ashworth College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Norcross
Programs:
  • Physical Therapy Aide
Quick Summary: Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.

Stratford Career Institute

[Online]
Programs:
  • Relaxation Therapist
Quick Summary: Earn Your Diploma from Home!

Southern California Health Institute

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Reseda
Programs:
  • Advanced Professional Massage Therapy Program
  • 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.

Grand Canyon University

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Phoenix
Programs:
  • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with Emphasis in Grief and Bereavement
  • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Christian Ministry
  • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics
  • More
Quick Summary: Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!

Mayfield College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Massage Therapy
Quick Summary: Give your career a boost with an education from Mayfield College.

Capella University

[Online]
Programs:
  • MS - Mental Health Counseling (CACREP-accredited)
Quick Summary: An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

National Holistic Institute

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Massage Therapy/Therapist
Quick Summary: At National Holistic Institute, our history and network of relationships in the field continue to help our graduates succeed. With campuses across California, we offer a comprehensive massage therapy training program that prepares our graduates for a successful career in massage therapy. Whether you are looking to start your career or take it to the next level, NHI has a program for you.

Blake Austin College Beauty Academy

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Vacaville
Programs:
  • Massage Therapy
  • Esthetician / Massage Therapy
Quick Summary: Start your career with training from Blake Austin College - Beauty Academy.

North-West College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • West Covina
Programs:
  • Massage Therapy
Quick Summary:

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