Online Bachelor’s In Respiratory Therapy Programs 2021

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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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Top 10 Online Bachelor’s In Respiratory Therapy Programs

 
 

FAQ


  • 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.

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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.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



How much can you afford to spend on a college degree? Our affordability calculator uses your income and expenses to calculate your college tuition budget. The calculator also takes anticipated financial aid into account so you can budget for your degree.

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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.

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.


  • Introduction to Respiratory Care

    Many respiratory therapy programs begin with an introductory class that covers basic respiratory therapy techniques and theories. Students learn about equipment, infection control, respiratory therapy procedures, and therapeutics. Other topics include patient care and safety, respiratory care ethics, and physical assessments.


  • Respiratory Therapeutics

    Respiratory therapeutics courses train students in therapeutic techniques and the theory behind them. The class surveys topics such as lung expansion therapy, gas therapy, and chest physical therapy. Learners also gain hands-on skills through laboratory or simulation work that explores hyperinflation, ventilatory support, and secretion removal.


  • Health Assessment and Diagnostics

    Respiratory therapists conduct physical health assessments and draw on diagnostic tools to identify medical conditions such as pulmonary disease. This course introduces methods for assessing major organ systems and diagnosing conditions. Students learn to measure lung volumes, conduct chest and lung assessments, and analyze blood gas. The course also covers diffusion testing and exercise testing.


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.

Certified Respiratory Therapist


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.

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Registered Respiratory Therapist


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.

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Specialty Credentials


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.

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Scholarships for Respiratory Therapy



Respiratory therapy students can take advantage of financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of their degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. This section outlines several scholarship opportunities for respiratory therapy students. In addition to the following awards, students should research scholarships based on factors like their state, school, and career goals.

  • Morton B. Duggan, Jr. Memorial Education Recognition Award

    Who Can Apply: Offered by the ARCF, this award supports students in accredited respiratory therapy programs. The award committee prefers candidates from Georgia and South Carolina.

    Amount: Up to $1,000

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  • Jimmy A. Young Memorial Education Recognition Award

    Who Can Apply: This award recognizes exceptional students pursuing a respiratory care degree, with a preference for minority students. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    Amount: Up to $1,000

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  • NBRC William W. Burgin, Jr., MD and Robert M. Lawrence, MD Education Recognition Award

    Who Can Apply: The ARCF and the NBRC offer this award for students in accredited bachelor’s programs in respiratory therapy. Recipients attend an annual conference to accept the award.

    Amount: Up to $7,500

    Explore Here

Online Bachelor’s In Respiratory Therapy Programs 2021



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