How to Become a Respiratory Therapist Online

There are already some serious respiratory issues including chronic respiratory diseases that are caused by pollution, smoke, allergens, and occupational risks. All these risks require more people to depend on medical professionals to help them manage or improve their health, especially breathing. The medical professionals for these situations are Respiratory therapists.

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the need for more respiratory therapists worldwide. In recent years, the respiratory therapists previously working were overworked and short-staffed. To lessen the burden of front-line workers, more respiratory therapists are required to serve in clinical care centers and instructional roles.

An Overview of Online Respiratory Therapy Degrees in the USA:

Respiratory Therapists will want to pursue a degree of higher education in order to qualify for different jobs and positions within this field. Online bachelor’s degrees in respiratory therapy are offered at the university level and these degrees can be completed through 120-credit hours of study over the course of four years. These online degrees may prepare graduates for positions in critical care, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and sleep medicines.

Careers in Respiratory Care Unit:

People with online respiratory therapy degrees who go on to work as respiratory therapists can provide treatment and care for patients that have been diagnosed with heart and lung conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis, and sleep apnea. These professionals will also see patients who are recovering from a heart attack or stroke. They also work for running tests to diagnose heart and lung conditions as well as working with doctors.

Usually, a respiratory therapist may:

  • Take patient histories and perform initial chest exams
  • Analyze blood disorders and gas levels
  • Diagnose lung disorders and determine treatment methods for them
  • Educate patients and their families regarding the beneficial exercises and treatments
  • Perform patient evaluations and recommend changes in current therapy
  • Respond to sudden cardiac arrest and emergency calls

Benefits of Earning a Respiratory Therapy Degree Online:

Earning a respiratory therapy degree online can be an excellent option for working respiratory therapists as well as those seeking a career in this field. These online programs offered by several institutions prepare professional Certified Respiratory Therapists (CRTs) and Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs). They also prepare these professionals for career advancement including graduate schools, management opportunities, and advanced clinical practice.

These programs offer a curriculum that focuses primarily on advancing respiratory therapy practice and research, elevating your skills to the next level. They also help in the development of a deeper understanding of advanced healthcare options, technology, ethics, logistics, and project management.

What kind of degrees do I need to become a Respiratory Therapist?

Aspiring professionals seeking a career as a Respiratory Therapist (RT) should obtain, at minimum, an associate’s degree in order to qualify for entry-level positions. Although these students will have better success in finding a position with a bachelor’s degree. A Respiratory Therapist with a few years of experience may consider an advanced online degree to keep up with evolving healthcare practices. He will also qualify for promotions.

How to become a Respiratory Therapist Online?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), openings in respiratory therapy will grow 19% by 2029. Students seeking a career in this field can opt from an on-campus or online respiratory therapy associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program.

Admission Requirements for Online Respiratory Therapy Programs and Accreditation:

Each respiratory therapy school has its unique admission requirements. Here are some documents and certifications commonly required by respiratory therapy degree programs:

  • Application
  • GPA: 2.5
  • College-level prerequisite coursework including anatomy and physiology
  • Transcripts of all previous educational institutions

Admission requirements for bachelor’s degree programs commonly include:

  • Letter of reference from current employer
  • Proof of current Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential through the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC)
  • Proof of certification for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)
  • Associate’s degree from an accredited Commission on Accreditation Respiratory Care (CoARC) educational program

Here are How to Become a Respiratory Therapist Online

Online Respiratory therapy Programs in the United States:

Following are six online respiratory therapy programs. These include two associate’s degrees and four bachelor’s degrees.

Online Respiratory Therapy Associate Degrees:

Following are two programs for an online respiratory therapy associate’s degree:

1. Independence University

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist Online

This institution offers a fully online associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. The program offers online courses in subjects including cardiopulmonary physiology and practice on learning through supervised clinical experience guided by practicing respiratory therapists.

Graduates from this online program are eligible to take the National Board of Respiratory Care (NRBC) credential exam. This exam is required to apply for licensure at the state level.

  • Location: Ogden, UT
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
  • Tuition: $19,969
  • Program Length: 26 months

2. Southeast Community College

This college offers a part-time online associate’s degree in respiratory care. It provides an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge during practical clinical learning.

After completing this program, students have the option of taking the NBRC credentialing exam to become RRTs or transferring their educational requirements for admission to a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy.

  • Location: Lincoln, NE
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
  • Tuition: $111 per credit for residents, $312 per credit for non-residents
  • Program Length: 24 months

Online Respiratory Therapy Bachelor’s Degree:

Following are online respiratory therapy bachelor’s therapy in the USA:

1. University of Missouri

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist Online

Mizzou Online, the University of Missouri’s online degree program, offers a fully online bachelor of health sciences (BHS). This program is in clinical and diagnostic sciences, emphasizing respiratory therapy. To graduate from this degree program, at least 30 of the final 36 credit hours must come from courses completed before graduation. This degree must be the best choice for those holding RRT certification and are aiming to complete a bachelor’s degree program while working full-time in their current respiratory therapist positions.

  • Location: Columbia, MO
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
  • Tuition: $12.502.10
  • Program Length: 12-24 months

2. Nebraska Methodist College

It offers a fully online bachelor of Science (BS) program in respiratory therapy. It is done through a degree advancement program.

This program includes no credit hours and students opt from two advanced practice tracks that include:

  • Education and research
  • Healthcare management and leadership

This program focuses on the holistic elements of the respiratory care profession, supports the changing role of the respiratory therapist. It also provides instructions in health education, health promotion, leadership, and healthcare policy.

  • Location: Omaha, NE
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
  • Tuition: $580 per credit
  • Program Length: 12-24 months

3. University of North Carolina – Charlotte (UNC)

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist Online

The online BSRT program aims to advance the knowledge and professional skills of RRTs with associate’s degrees and also prepare them for more expensive careers in respiratory therapy. This online program builds upon content taught in most two-year respiratory therapy programs.

  • Location: Charlotte, NC
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
  • Tuition: $188.48 per credit for residents and $347.32 per credit for non-residents
  • Program Length: 24 months

More: Best Accredited Medical Billing and Coding Schools Online with Financial Aid in the USA

4. University of Cincinnati (UC)

The University of Cincinnati offers a 50-credit online bachelor’s of science (BS) in respiratory therapy. It mainly focuses on empowering medical professionals to advance their careers and leading capabilities in the field. Applicants must apply to the program with an associate’s degree from a CoARC-accredited institution also holding regional accreditation.

  • Location: Cincinnati, OH
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
  • Tuition: $512 per credit for residents, $527 per credit for non-residents
  • Program Length: 24 months

FAQs

Is it hard to study respiratory therapy?

Respiratory therapy school can be considered hard. The work environment stress is estimated to be 60/100 which is due to a tight schedule, demanding material, skills labs, and tough clinical rotations. Although they have a good job outlook, with lower pay than some of the other professions, the stress can add up.

What is the highest degree for a respiratory therapist?

The students have to pass several degrees to become respiratory therapists in the USA. After successfully passing the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE), they are awarded the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential, which is the highest level credential of professional practice in the field.

Do respiratory therapists intubate?

Yes, respiratory therapists can intubate. In many institutions, respiratory therapists (RTs) provide intubation. They provide intubation in emergencies or elective procedures. The efficacy of Respiratory Therapists performing intubation is well established and the success rates are comparable with those of physicians.

What is the difference between RRT and CRT?

Certified Respiratory Therapists (CRTs) and Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs) can perform the same functions and patient care. They are even employed at the same places. CRTs hold an entry-level certification while RRTs hold a more advanced certification. Following are the main differences between CRTs and RRTs:

 CRTsRRTs
Pay$64,424 per year$69,209 per year
Expected Job Growth (2019-2029)19%19%
Anticipated number of new positions26,30026,300
Degree RequirementsMust complete at least an associate’s degree from a Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) accredited programMust complete at least an associate’s degree from a Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) accredited program.
Degrees AvailableAssociate’s or bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy or related fieldAssociate’s or bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy or related field and a higher degree as additional education
CertificationCRT certification is through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). It is obtained by passing the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) examination.RRT certification is through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). It is obtained by passing the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) examination and the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE).

Is a respiratory care practitioner the same as a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) is another name for Respiratory Therapist (RT). It is a licensed specialist trained in providing care to patients with heart and lung disorders. They are trained to aid physicians in the evaluation, diagnosis, and care of patients with cardiopulmonary problems.

Where do respiratory therapists make the most money?

California is the state where Respiratory Therapists are paid the highest salaries. Here the wages are paid with top salaries as high as $101.60/year and an annual mean salary of $73,060 (hourly rate of $35.13).

What Careers specialize in the respiratory system?

Following are the career opportunities for a Respiratory Therapist in the medical field:

  • Registered Respiratory Therapist, RRT
  • Adult Critical Care Speciality, ACCS
  • Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist, RPFT
  • Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist, NPS
  • Sleep Disorders Testing and Therapeutic Interventions Respiratory Care Specialist, SDS

What is an advanced practice RT?

The advanced practice respiratory therapist is an educated and trained advanced practitioner in the healthcare profession. It has a scope of practice beyond a registered respiratory therapist.

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