Respiratory Therapist Schools
Respiratory therapist schools in the US are seeing continual growth – and it’s not surprising. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics*, respiratory therapy as a profession is itself growing rapidly. In 2008, there were around 106,000 respiratory therapist positions, but by 2018 this is expected to increase to more than 128,000 positions as the country’s population ages. Schools for respiratory therapy within the major universities are of course the focal point of professional training for this vocation.
What is respiratory therapist school?
It’s worth just briefly looking at the profession that respiratory therapy school prepares students for: respiratory therapists are trained to work with patients suffering from breathing and cardiopulmonary problems, often relating to issues like asthma, emphysema, stroke or heart attack. Though they are not doctors per se (respiratory therapy is an allied health field), respiratory therapists work side by side with doctors to diagnose and treat these issues, and very often they are consulted by doctors for their specialist knowledge of the human respiratory system and its disorders. It should be noted that respiration is not just narrowly connected with breathing – the human respiratory system includes the entire cardio-pulmonary system and the exchanges of gases through the blood stream. Responsibilities of an RT may include taking medical histories, instructing patients on how to use inhalers and other breathing equipment, monitoring patient progress and performing tests to determine the correct diagnosis for patients.
A selection of respiratory therapy programs
Keiser University eCampus Online
For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions. Degrees are offered with a curriculum that is in pace with technology and workforce demand trends in business, criminal justice, healthcare and computer technology. Our “one-class-at-a-time” approach allows busy students to focus on their education and balance the demands of work and family.
- Keiser University eCampus Online
- Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
AmeriTech College was founded in 1979, two blocks west of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In 2005 a new non-main campus was opened to serve the Salt Lake City area.
AmeriTech College focuses on providing technical training to students who want to move rapidly into the work force, and creating career opportunities for people in the medical professions. AmeriTech has a unique educational model that delivers a hand’s on approach to learning with an emphasis in bringing the “real world” of medical professions into the classroom in order to provide the best possible training for our students.
- Medical Assistant
At Keiser University we are here to help you succeed by providing the professional and academic foundation to meet your educational goals and objectives. Keiser University continues to be a valuable partner to employers, the community, and, above all, a valued choice for students serious about their education and career.
- Port St. Lucie
- Pembroke Pines
- West Palm Beach
- Ft. Myers
- Daytona Beach
- Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
Respiratory therapist licensing
In order to practice as a respiratory therapist, after completing their course of study students are required to sit the examination of their state regulatory board in order to gain their license, which then must be renewed every few years (usually 3). The exception to this is the state of Alaska which does not require licensure for respiratory therapists. This was also the case for Hawaii until recently, but as of July 2011, RTs in that state are also required to be licensed.
Accredited respiratory therapy schools
Respiratory therapy schools must be accredited by the national Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) or by CAAHEP (the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education). One of these two bodies certifies that school programs satisfy the requirements laid down by them and are providing adequate training for professionals in the field. Students should take great care that the respiratory therapy program they are looking at is indeed accredited by a national body.
What are the prerequisites for respiratory therapy programs?
Respiratory therapist schools offer a variety of different programs to fit the needs of students. A 2-year associate’s degree is required for an entry-level position in the field. A bachelor’s or master’s degree will give students advanced training that can lead to more career options. Schools for respiratory therapist training accept adult students over the age of 18 that have completed high school or received their GED. Schools that offer respiratory therapy suggest that incoming students have a history of coursework in mathematics, health, chemistry, physics and biology, and indeed many require these for admission. Knowledge of these subjects are in any case a huge advantage and will prepare the student for the top respiratory therapy schools.
What type of classes does respiratory therapist school include?
A 2-year associate’s degree program at accredited respiratory therapy schools will include courses in medical terminology, anatomy, math, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), pharmacology, microbiology, disease assessment and prevention, chemistry and procedures to diagnose medical problems. Final modules may include subjects such as advanced clinical life support simulation training. Many schools with respiratory therapy programs offer accelerated courses, night classes and even online respiratory therapy programs that may enable students to finish their degree in less than two years.
Schools offering respiratory therapy programs prepare students for this exciting and rewarding career field by offering practical experience in addition to classroom instruction. Students should complete their state’s recommended number of hours in the field, gaining hands on experience that tests the knowledge gained in the classroom.
Some examples of respiratory therapist schools
Here are a couple of examples of RT programs in various colleges, selected in no particular order of priority:
Stevens-Henager College is one of the country’s best respiratory therapy schools. The 20-month program offered at the campuses in Boise, Idaho and Salt Lake City, Utah allows students to learn from the country’s best respiratory therapists. A combination of seminars, lab work and clinical experience gives students the skills they need to confidently pursue careers in the field.
Platt College is another one of the best registered respiratory therapist schools in the world. Students at the campuses in Los Angeles and Ontario get first hand experience working with physicians and patients in a clinical setting. Program director Robert Wandel brings over 30 years of experience teaching respiratory therapy and trains students to perform with confidence.
You can find more information about different programs around the country in our schools section.
Respiratory therapist salary
Certified respiratory therapists enjoy salaries of between $35,000 and $65,000 annually. Employed in a wide range of medical departments like anesthesiology, emergency rooms and pulmonary care, the median income of respiratory therapists that work in hospitals is $44,000. Respiratory therapy technicians earn a median salary of $39,000. Those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field can earn much more and find work as managers of home health care clinics, teachers or managers of respiratory therapy departments. This exciting and rewarding field offers students room to grow and use their skills to help others. Read more about the salary potential of the respiratory therapy field here.
It should be noted that after completing respiratory training school and possibly gaining some experience, there are also job opportunities in physicians offices and those of other health practitioners who require the services of an RT, nursing homes and in home healthcare services. There are also potentially sales positions for RTs in companies supplying respiratory equipment to hospitals, individuals etc.
As we mentioned at the beginning, this area is growing steadily and RTs have very good job prospects. Correspondingly, prospective RTs are spoilt for choice as regards schools. You can find a complete list of national respiratory therapist schools here.
Thinking of a career in respiratory therapy?
Find the school that will get you there.
Browse our catalogue of RT programs.