Online Respiratory Therapy Degrees 2021

Why get a respiratory therapy degree? Graduates with a bachelor’s in respiratory therapy qualify for respiratory therapy licensure and certification.

Updated September 7, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Respiratory Therapy Degrees 2021

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Becoming a Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists help patients who struggle with breathing issues. These professionals enjoy strong job prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for respiratory therapists to grow 19% between 2019-2029. The BLS also reports that respiratory therapists earn a median annual salary of over $61,000.

This guide ranks the top online bachelor's in respiratory therapy programs. It also covers other important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities for respiratory therapy students.

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FAQ's About Respiratory Therapy Degrees


How many years does it take to become a respiratory therapist?

Some respiratory therapists hold a two-year associate degree. However, a bachelor's degree, which typically takes four years of full-time study to complete, helps candidates stand out in the job market.

What education is required for a respiratory therapist?

An associate degree represents the entry-level educational requirement for respiratory therapists. A bachelor's degree may qualify respiratory therapists for more competitive positions with higher salaries.

Is respiratory therapy a good career?

Respiratory therapists enjoy a rewarding career helping patients manage breathing problems. These professionals benefit from strong projected job growth and above-average salaries.

Is respiratory therapist a stressful job?

Careers in respiratory therapy may be stressful, particularly for respiratory therapists working in emergency settings. Other settings, such as home healthcare, may offer a less stressful alternative.

Why Get a Degree in Respiratory Therapy?

Respiratory therapy degrees prepare graduates for careers in a growing field. Respiratory therapists assess patients with breathing issues, including those with chronic respiratory diseases.

As allied health professionals, respiratory therapists work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home care. Graduates with a bachelor's in respiratory therapy qualify for respiratory therapy licensure and certification.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapy Degree Cost?

The cost of a respiratory therapy bachelor's degree varies by school. Many colleges offer affordable tuition rates for online respiratory therapy programs. For example, the University of Southern Indiana charges $345 per credit for its online registered respiratory therapist to bachelor's bridge program. The University of Mary offers a similar program that charges $340 per credit.

At public colleges and universities, in-state students benefit from a tuition reduction. For example, at Thomas Edison State University, which offers a bachelor's in respiratory therapy program, in-state students pay $399 per credit, while out-of-state students pay $519 per credit. In addition to tuition, respiratory therapy majors should research fees, textbook costs, and other education-related expenses.

An online learning format often helps students save money on their college degree. For instance, online students often avoid many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs. Additionally, many schools offer tuition discounts to online students.

How Much Do Respiratory Therapy Majors Make?

Respiratory therapists earn above-average salaries and benefit from high demand. According to BLS data, respiratory therapists make a median salary of over $61,000 per year. The highest-paid respiratory therapists make a median annual wage of nearly $87,000.

Respiratory therapist salaries vary by location, workplace, and education. Respiratory therapists with a bachelor's degree typically earn more than those with an associate degree. Salaries also vary by setting; for example, respiratory therapists who work at hospitals often earn higher salaries than those at nursing care facilities.

The top-paying states for respiratory therapists include California, Nevada, New York, and Hawaii. In California, the average respiratory therapist salary reaches over $87,000 per year.

Respiratory therapists must hold a license to practice in every state except Alaska. They may also pursue voluntary certifications to move into specialized roles or increase their earning potential.

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Courses in Respiratory Therapy

Bachelor's in respiratory therapy programs build theoretical and practical skills through lecture, laboratory, and clinical courses. These courses strengthen analytical, problem-solving, and patient care skills through a blend of classroom and experiential learning.

During a respiratory therapy degree, majors take courses on topics like respiratory care, therapeutic methods, health assessment, and diagnostics. Students also complete a practicum to gain hands-on experience in a clinical setting. Courses vary by program, but this section introduces common respiratory therapy courses.

Certifications and Licensure for Respiratory Therapy

In every state except Alaska, respiratory therapists must hold a license from their state's health board. The license typically requires a degree and passing scores on a qualifying examination. In addition to licensure, respiratory therapists often pursue professional certifications. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers several certifications and specialty credentials for respiratory therapists.

NBRC offers the CRT credential for entry-level respiratory therapists. Candidates must hold a degree from an accredited respiratory therapy program. The credential also requires passing scores on a three-hour, 160-question exam. After earning the CRT credential, respiratory therapists can apply for the registered respiratory therapist credential. The RRT credential recognizes experienced respiratory therapists. Candidates need a degree in respiratory therapy from an accredited program and the CRT credential. They must also pass a three-hour, 160-question exam. NBRC offers several specialty credentials for respiratory therapists, including credentials in adult critical care, neonatal and pediatric respiratory care, sleep disorders, and pulmonary function technology. Candidates must pass an exam to receive a specialty credential.

Online Bachelor's In Respiratory Therapy Programs

#1

East Tennessee State University

School Information
Location Johnson City, Tennessee
Admission Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

East Tennessee State University offers an online bachelor of science degree in respiratory therapy from its Johnson City, Tennessee, campus that ranks among the top programs in the country. Students choose between in-person and online course options at the public institution. The Ph.D. in respiratory therapy provides a flexible pathway to entry-level careers.

The distance learning format benefits working professionals and other busy students. The degree's major courses and general education requirements strengthen analytical and critical thinking skills. Majors work closely with faculty advisors to customize their course of study. The school's online student services include experiential learning opportunities, academic advising, and career counseling.

Online students use scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid like the Pell Grant to cover costs.

East Tennessee State University Facts:

Online Student Enrollment: 7,986

Online Master's Programs: 2

Admission Rate: 86%

Graduation Rate: 50%

Applies Transfer Credits: No

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#2

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

School Information
Location Charlotte, North Carolina
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 64%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The programs at University of North Carolina at Charlotte prepare graduates for new job opportunities and career advancement. In an online bachelor of science in respiratory therapy program, learners complete coursework in a flexible learning environment. Students receive specialized training and take core respiratory therapy courses.

Applicants submit school transcripts to admissions. Student support services, including tutoring and career counseling, help learners succeed academically and professionally. The institution's website provides details about experiential learning opportunities. The school has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Statistics:

Undergraduate Tuition Rate: $3,812 in-state; $17,246 out-of-state

Average Aid Amount Per Student: $7,046

Average Price After Aid: $15,200

Student Graduation Rate: 64%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#3

University of Southern Indiana

School Information
Location Evansville, Indiana
Admission Rate 93%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A public postsecondary institution located in Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana offers some of the best online courses in the country. Respiratory therapy programs provide online students with a flexible learning environment. Major classes explore topics specific to the learner's field of study to prepare them for the workforce.

With transfer credits, online learners can finish their bachelor’s degree in 18-36 months. Online learners pay $7,986 in-state tuition for bachelor’s degrees. About 92% of enrollees receive financial aid, and 38% of students take out loans to fund their education.

Working professionals can choose from multiple enrollment terms. Prospective students can expect a 93% admission rate. The school requires submission of school transcripts. Degree-seekers can use entrance scores to bolster their application. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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#4

Youngstown State University

School Information
Location Youngstown, Ohio
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 41%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online bachelor of science in respiratory care program at Youngstown State University help professionals advance their careers and pursue new opportunities. The online program provides  learners with a flexible learning environment. The school's admissions rate for new students is 67%.

Youngstown State University Statistics:

Average Cost After Aid: $11,616

Percentage of Students Receiving Aid: 98%

Percentage of Students Awarded Loans: 49%

Transfer Credits Accepted: No

Online learners can pursue affordable bachelor's degrees that prepare them to succeed professionally. Online and on-campus learners can access support services. Youngstown State University provides peer and professional tutoring and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body.

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#5

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

School Information
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Cincinnati-Main Campus educates learners through 459 program options. In an online respiratory therapy program, learners complete coursework in a flexible learning environment. The school's admissions rate is 77%, and its admissions yield rate is 30%.

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Fast Facts:

Tuition for Undergrad Students: $9,476 in-state; $24,810 out-of-state

Average Per-Student Aid Amount: $6,981

Average Net Price With Aid: $19,219

Undergrad Graduation Rate: 71%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: Yes

While completing their program, degree-seekers gain the knowledge and skills necessary to impress employers. Students can typically pursue a minor, watch lectures, and complete assignments at convenient times. A four-year bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits for completion. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body.

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