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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.

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.


American Career College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Ontario
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.


Brightwood College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • San Diego
Programs:
  • Patient Care 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.


Ashworth College

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

Milan Institute

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Visalia
Programs:
  • Nursing Assistant
Quick Summary: Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

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.

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.

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: Does the Human Mind Fascinate You? Study Psychology at Grand Canyon University - Bachelor's and Master's Degrees Available!

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.

Mayfield College

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

Liberty University

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Lynchburg
Programs:
  • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
  • Doctor of Philosophy: Counselor Education and Supervision
  • MA in Professional Counseling - 60 Hour
  • More
Quick Summary:

100% Online & No Standardized Testing


Northcentral University

[Campus]
Locations:
  • San Diego
Programs:
  • Health Psychology - PhD of Psychology
  • Master of Science in Health Psychology
Quick Summary:

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.


Milan Institute of Cosmetology

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Esthetician
Quick Summary: Get hands-on training for a beauty industry career at the Milan Institute of Cosmetology.

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