What is respiratory therapy?

Respiratory therapy is the medical process of evaluating, diagnosing, and treating injuries, diseases, or disorders relating to the lungs.

What should I look for in an online respiratory therapy school?

The best online respiratory therapy schools should possess either regional or national accreditation from an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition, you can often recognize top online respiratory therapy schools based on:

  • The school's name and status
  • The school's history
  • Teacher credentials
  • Alumni network
In choosing the best online respiratory therapy school for you, you should consider the following factors:
  • Admission requirements
  • Residency requirements
  • Class and teaching style
  • Testing methods used
  • Course content and presentation
  • Program length
  • Class size
  • Student-teacher interaction
  • Technology use
  • Tuition and financial aid
  • Transferability of credits
  • Availability of a dedicated administration team and resources

What levels of online respiratory therapy programs are available?

The following levels of respiratory therapy degree online programs are available:

  • Online Respiratory Therapy Certificate Programs
  • Online Associates in Respiratory Therapy
  • Online Bachelor in Respiratory Therapy
  • Online Masters in Respiratory Therapy
  • Online PhD in Respiratory Therapy

How long does it take to get an online respiratory therapy degree?

The amount of time it takes a student to earn an accredited online respiratory therapy degree depends on the level of respiratory therapy degree being pursued and the pace of the student.

Typically, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Online Respiratory Therapy Certification Programs - 6 months to 1 year
  • Online Respiratory Therapy Associates Degree - 2 years
  • Online Respiratory Therapy Bachelor Degree - 4 years
  • Online Respiratory Therapy Masters - 2 years
  • Online Respiratory Therapy PhD - 2 to 5 years

What are some examples of online respiratory therapy courses?

Top online degrees in respiratory therapy require students to have a background in the hard sciences of biology, physics, and chemistry. Mathematics and advanced science classes are also commonly part of the best online respiratory therapy school programs in addition to respiratory therapy major classes such as:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
    This advanced biology course looks in-depth at the human body's organization, internal and external structures, and healthy system functions.
  • Pharmacology
    The study of medicine and pharmaceutical treatments for online respiratory therapy schools also includes the common respiratory medicines of aerosol gas treatments for lung disorders and medications for cystic fibrosis.
  • Principles of Chest Physiotherapy
    One of the most commonly used skills of online respiratory therapy degree graduates is the soothing positioning-vibration therapy of chest physiotherapy to loosen congestion in the lungs and facilitate better breathing.
  • Cardio-Pulmonary Assessments
    This course addresses the detailed diagnostic assessment for respiratory care patients, including a patient's general health assessment, breathing-specific functions, and making therapeutic recommendations for care.
  • Respiratory Disorders
    One of several courses that investigates the specific traumas, genetic and behavior-dictated injuries, disorders and diseases of the lungs and respiratory system including cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, pleurisy, underdeveloped lungs, and others.

What areas of respiratory therapy specialization are available?

Top online respiratory therapy degrees are a specialization within general medical training. However, as online respiratory therapy graduates move into respiratory therapist jobs, it may be beneficial to have one of these concentrations to their studies:

  • Emergency and Trauma Respiratory Care
  • Infant and Child Respiratory Health
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Respiratory Issues Due to Smoking
  • Respiratory Pharmacology

What can I do with a respiratory therapy degree?

The most popular and available respiratory therapy jobs are in hospitals, since most major respiratory care is done in emergency or serious care settings. With a top online respiratory therapy degree, graduates find respiratory therapist jobs as:

  • Hospital Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Therapy Technician
  • Emergency Respiratory Therapist
  • Disaster Rescue Worker
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Neo-natal or Pediatric Respiratory Specialists
  • Pulmonary Function Technologists
  • CPR Trainer
  • Home Health Care Respiratory Therapist

What is a respiratory therapist?

A respiratory therapist works with patients of cardiopulmonary, lung, and breathing disorders or injuries, to perform diagnostic assessments, provide treatment recommendations, and practice therapeutic interventions to help improve the breathing functions and comfort of patients.

What does a respiratory therapist do?

A respiratory therapist meets with patients to assess what breathing, lung, or cardiopulmonary issues need treatment. Online respiratory therapist graduates will perform lung capacity breathing exams, teach and demonstrate for patients how to properly use aerosol medications, ventilators or oxygen to increase breathing or perform chest physiotherapy to lessen congestion and promote breathing. Certified respiratory therapists from online schools may work in emergency care, treating heart attack, drowning or stroke patients or in neo-natal units facilitating the breathing of infants with improperly developed lungs.

How much does a respiratory therapist earn?

Licensed respiratory therapists earn the best salaries when working in hospital settings, ranging from $37,920 to $69,800 per year. There are great prospects for respiratory therapist jobs with at least online bachelor's degrees in respiratory therapy according to estimates of 21% job growth lasting until 2018. More respiratory therapist jobs will be necessary as the baby boomer generation ages and develops more cardiopulmonary health care needs, both in home health care and hospital settings.

How do I become a respiratory therapist?

To become a respiratory therapist, an individual must complete at least an accredited online associates or bachelors in respiratory therapy as a starting point of training. All U.S. states, except Alaska and Hawaii require state licensing for respiratory therapists with online respiratory therapy associate's degrees and higher. Additionally, two levels of professional certification, "certified" and "registered" respiratory therapists, are available from the National Board for Respiratory Care. Advanced certifications and licensing both require completing written and skill-based examinations from the state or certification agency. Most states also require practicing respiratory therapists to maintain current certification in CPR. After receiving a top online respiratory therapy bachelor's degree, pursue state certifications and advanced training to move into supervisory respiratory therapist positions.

Respiratory Therapy Schools (Campus)

School Certificate Associates Bachelors Masters PhD
University of Phoenix-Online Campus
3157 E. Elwood Street
Phoenix, AZ, 85034
http://www.uopxonline.com
X X X
Arizona State University
1151 S Forest Ave
Tempe, AZ, 85287
http://www.asu.edu/
X
Miami Dade College
300 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL, 33132
http://www.mdc.edu/main/
X
Ohio State University-Main Campus
190 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH, 43210
http://www.osu.edu
X
Houston Community College
3100 Main Street
Houston, TX, 77266
http://www.hccs.edu
X
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL, 32816
http://www.ucf.edu/
X
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN, 55455
http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/index.php
X X
University of Florida
355 Tigert Hall
Gainesville, FL, 32611
http://www.ufl.edu/
X X
Ashford University
400 N Bluff Blvd
Clinton, IA, 52733
http://www.ashford.edu
X X
Northern Virginia Community College
4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd
Annandale, VA, 22003
http://www.nvcc.edu
X
Lone Star College System
5000 Research Forest Drive
The Woodlands, TX, 77381
http://www.lonestar.edu
X
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA, 98195
http://www.washington.edu
X
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
201 Old Main
State College, PA, 16802
http://www.psu.edu/
X X X
Tarrant County College District
1500 Houston St
Fort Worth, TX, 76102
http://www.tccd.edu
X
College of Southern Nevada
6375 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV, 89146
http://www.csn.edu
X
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
440 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109
http://www.umich.edu
X
Walden University
155 Fifth Ave S Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN, 55401
http://www.waldenu.edu
X
University of South Florida-Main Campus
4202 East Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL, 33620
http://www.usf.edu
X X
Florida International University
11200 S. W. 8 Street
Miami, FL, 33199
http://www.fiu.edu
X X X
Valencia Community College
190 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL, 32801
http://valenciacc.edu
X X
University of Arizona
1401 E University
Tucson, AZ, 85721
http://www.arizona.edu
X
Broward College
225 E las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301
http://www.broward.edu
X
University of Maryland-University College
3501 University Blvd East
Adelphi, MD, 20783
http://www.umuc.edu
X
Pima Community College
401 North Bonita Avenue
Tucson, AZ, 85709
http://www.pima.edu
X
University of California-Berkeley
Gayley Rd & Stadium Rim Way
Berkeley, CA, 94720
http://www.berkeley.edu
X
East Los Angeles College
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park, CA, 91754
http://www.elac.edu/index.htm
X
California State University-Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA, 90840
http://www.csulb.edu
X X
American River College
4700 College Oak Dr
Sacramento, CA, 95841
http://www.arc.losrios.edu/
X
California State University-Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St
Los Angeles, CA, 91330
http://www.csun.edu
X
University of Southern California
University Park
Los Angeles, CA, 90089
http://www.usc.edu/
X X X
Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA, 90405
http://www.smc.edu
X
Virginia Commonwealth University
910 W Franklin St
Richmond, VA, 23284
http://www.vcu.edu/
X X
George Mason University
4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA, 22030
http://www.gmu.edu
X
Capella University
225 South 6th Street 9th Floor
Minneapolis, MN, 55402
http://www.capella.edu
X X X X
Boston University
One Silber Way
Boston, MA, 2215
http://www.bu.edu
X X
University of Missouri-Columbia
105 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO, 65211
http://www.missouri.edu/
X X
Colorado Technical University Online
4435 N Chestnut Suite E
Colorado Springs, CO, 80907
http://www.ctuonline.edu
X X
Texas State University-San Marcos
601 University Dr
San Marcos, TX, 78666
http://www.txstate.edu
X X X
Tidewater Community College
121 College Place
Norfolk, VA, 23510
http://www.tcc.edu
X
Georgia State University
33 gilmer st
Atlanta, GA, 30303
http://www.gsu.edu
X X
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
425 University Blvd
Indianapolis, IN, 46202
http://www.iupui.edu
X
Mt San Antonio College
1100 N Grand Ave
Walnut, CA, 91789
http://www.mtsac.edu
X
The University of Tennessee
527 Andy Holt Tower
Knoxville, TN, 37996
http://www.tennessee.edu
X
Cuyahoga Community College District
700 Carnegie Ave
Cleveland, OH, 44115
http://www.tri-c.edu
X
St Petersburg College
14025 58th Street North
Clearwater, FL, 33760
http://www.spcollege.edu
X
University of Kansas
Jayhawk Dr
Lawrence, KS, 66045
http://www.ku.edu
X
University of Nevada-Las Vegas
4505 S Maryland Pky
Las Vegas, NV, 89154
http://www.unlv.edu
X
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
103 South Bldg Cb 9100
Chapel Hill, NC, 27599
http://www.unc.edu
X X X
Florida State College at Jacksonville
501 W State St
Jacksonville, FL, 32202
http://www.fscj.edu
X
Columbus State Community College
550 E Spring St
Columbus, OH, 43215
http://www.cscc.edu
X X
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
http://www.pitt.edu
X
El Paso Community College
919 Hunter Drive
El Paso, TX, 79915
http://www.epcc.edu
X
The University of Texas at Arlington
701 S. Nedderman Dr.
Arlington, TX, 76013
http://WWW.UTA.EDU
X
Oakland Community College
2480 Opdyke Rd
Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304
http://www.oaklandcc.edu
X X
Palm Beach State College
4200 Congress Ave
Lake Worth, FL, 33461
http://www.palmbeachstate.edu/
X
Central New Mexico Community College
525 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, NM, 87106
http://www.cnm.edu
X
Portland State University
724 SW Harrison
Portland, OR, 97201
http://www.pdx.edu
X
East Carolina University
East 5th Street
Greenville, NC, 27858
http://www.ecu.edu
X
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL, 33431
http://www.fau.edu/
X X
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA, 2115
http://www.northeastern.edu
X X
Central Michigan University
1200 S Franklin St # 121
Mount Pleasant, MI, 48859
http://www.cmich.edu
X X X X
El Camino Community College District
16007 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA, 90506
http://www.elcamino.edu
X X
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL, 60137
http://www.cod.edu
X
San Jacinto Community College
8060 Spencer Hwy
Pasadena, TX, 77501
http://www.sjcd.edu
X
Hillsborough Community College
39 Columbia Drive
Tampa, FL, 33606
http://www.hccfl.edu
X
University of Kentucky
175 Funkhouser Dr
Lexington, KY, 40506
http://www.uky.edu
X
Washington State University
French Administration Building
Pullman, WA, 99164
http://www.wsu.edu/
X
University of Akron Main Campus
302 Buchtel Common
Akron, OH, 44325
http://www.uakron.edu
X X
Fresno City College
1101 E. University Ave
Fresno, CA, 93741
http://www.fresnocitycollege.edu
X
Orange Coast College
2701 Fairview Road
Costa Mesa, CA, 92626
http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/
X X
Middle Tennessee State University
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN, 37132
http://www.mtsu.edu
X
DePaul University
55 E Jackson
Chicago, IL, 60604
http://www.depaul.edu
X
Gallaudet University
800 Florida Ave NE
Washington, DC, 20002
http://www.gwu.edu
X X
University of Connecticut
115 N Eagleville RD
Storrs, CT, 6269
http://www.uconn.edu
X
Collin County Community College District
4800 Preston Park Blvd.
Plano, TX, 75093
http://www.collin.edu
X
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC, 28223
http://www.uncc.edu
X X
Stony Brook University
100 Nicolls Rd
Stony Brook, NY, 11794
http://www.stonybrook.edu
X X X
Auburn University Main Campus
Auburn Alabama
Auburn, AL, 36849
http://www.auburn.edu
X
University of Pennsylvania
1 College Hall 34th and Spruce Sts
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
http://www.upenn.edu
X X X
Grand Valley State University
1 Campus Dr
Allendale, MI, 49401
http://www.gvsu.edu
X
Macomb Community College
14500 E Twelve Mile Rd
Warren, MI, 48088
http://www.macomb.edu
X
University of Colorado Denver
1250 14th Street
Denver, CO, 80217
http://www.ucdenver.edu/
X
Northern Arizona University
Knoles Drive Babbitt Administrative Center
Flagstaff, AZ, 86011
http://home.nau.edu/
X
The Community College of Baltimore County
7201 Rossville Blvd.
Baltimore, MD, 21237
http://www.ccbcmd.edu
X
University of Toledo
2801 W Bancroft
Toledo, OH, 43606
http://www.utoledo.edu/
X X X X
Weber State University
3848 Harrison Blvd
Ogden, UT, 84408
http://www.weber.edu
X X
Eastern Michigan University
1000 College Pl
Ypsilanti, MI, 48197
http://www.emich.edu
X X X
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Speer Blvd and Colfax Ave
Denver, CO, 80217
http://www.mscd.edu
X
Nassau Community College
One Education Dr
Garden City, NY, 11530
http://www.ncc.edu/
X
Ohio University-Main Campus
E Mulberry
Athens, OH, 45701
http://www.ohio.edu
X X X
Owens Community College
30335 Oregon Rd
Perrysburg, OH, 43551
http://www.owens.edu
X
Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg
One HACC Dr
Harrisburg, PA, 17110
http://www.hacc.edu
X
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
http://www.drexel.edu
X
Des Moines Area Community College
2006 Ankeny Blvd
Ankeny, IA, 50023
http://www.dmacc.edu
X X
Diablo Valley College
321 Golf Club Rd
Pleasant Hill, CA, 94523
http://www.dvc.edu
X
Oregon State University
1500 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR, 97331
http://oregonstate.edu
X
Sinclair Community College
444 W. Third St.
Dayton, OH, 45402
http://www.sinclair.edu
X X
CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers St
New York, NY, 10007
http://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/
X
Ball State University
2000 University Ave
Muncie, IN, 47306
http://www.bsu.edu
X
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
1000 Spring Garden St
Greensboro, NC, 27402
http://www.uncg.edu
X

Schools by State

Best Cities for Respiratory Therapy Schools