The goal of respiratory therapists is to cure or improve breathing disorders that people may be born with or develop later in life. For example, a patient with bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease would seek treatment from a respiratory therapist. In order to clear the breathing pathways of patients, respiratory therapists have the responsibility of administering aerosolized drugs, facilitating the use of oxygen delivery devices, performing endotracheal intubation suctioning, putting patients on and off life support, inserting the arterial lines, collecting and interpreting arterial blood samples, and more.
To become a respiratory therapist, you must devote at least two years to obtaining your associate degree. If after this time, you would like to advance your career, you might consider obtaining a bachelor's degree or master's degree in respiratory therapy. Whatever degree you pursue, however, it must come from a school that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. If you receive a degree that is not accredited by one of these two agencies, you may have a difficult time becoming certified or even getting a job. Before you can start work as a respiratory therapist in the United States, you must receive your Certified Respiratory Therapist credential.
Respiratory therapists must, at the very minimum, complete their associate degree in respiratory therapy at a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. If you live anywhere in the United States, you must obtain your license before you can start working as a respiratory therapist. In order to be licensed, you must first meet the eligibility requirements provided by the National Board for Respiratory Care.
This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.
This website also offers school data. Our Recommendation Rate is based on the largest database of independent reviews submitted by former students and is not impacted by our partnerships. All other data were collected in 2020-2022 from the National Center for Education Statistics or from an official representative of the school. The NCES is the primary governmental entity for gathering and presenting data related to education. The NCES data is updated annually as soon as it becomes available. The NCES does not release data into downloadable formats until it has been approved, so the most currently available data will not be for the most recent academic year. Salaries and job growth were collected in 2022-2023 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Financial aid information applies to those students who qualify for financial aid.
Colleges and Degrees takes no position with respect to the information or opinions expressed in the user comments/reviews and is not responsible for their content.