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Respiratory Therapy


Respiratory therapy programs prepare people to work under the supervision of physicians to help patients with breathing problems. These programs are sometimes called respiratory care programs.

Respiratory therapy programs include topics such as:


Many community colleges and two-year schools offer associate degree programs in respiratory therapy. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in respiratory therapy. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

A few universities offer master's degrees in respiratory therapy. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Additional requirements at most schools include:

Furthermore, many four-year colleges and universities also require ACT or SAT scores.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Nearly all respiratory therapy programs require you to participate in several clinical and laboratory rotations. This means that you work and study in hospitals and medical centers under the supervision of certified respiratory therapists and professors. Students learn practical skills firsthand while also learning what it's like to be a respiratory therapist. They monitor patients and respiratory equipment. They also learn how to perform and interpret pulmonary function tests. In addition, they administer different lung medications.

Things to Know

Every state but Alaska requires you to become licensed in order to treat patients. In addition, many states require you to take continuing education courses in order to maintain your license.

Respiratory therapists who have a bachelor's degree in the field are eligible to take specialty certification exams.

Many respiratory therapy programs give credit to students who enter the program with experience and training in the field.


King-Snohomish Area

Highline College

Northeastern University - Seattle

Pima Medical Institute-Renton

Seattle Central College

Spokane Area

Spokane Community College

Tacoma Area

Tacoma Community College