How do I Choose the Best Respiratory Therapy Programs?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 March 2018
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Respiratory therapists are health care professionals who treat patients suffering from respiratory and cardiopulmonary diseases. Those who wish to enroll in respiratory therapy programs should choose an accredited school to receive training. Colleges and career schools that offer this program should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Attending an accredited school allows graduates to legally work as respiratory therapists.

Students can earn either an associate's or bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy. Respiratory therapists who have earned bachelor's degrees will earn a higher salary than those who have earned a two-year associate's degree. Employers may hire those with bachelor's degrees over candidates who only have an associate's.

Prospective respiratory therapists should carefully weigh the pros and cons of prospective schools before choosing a program. Future students should consider tuition costs, average class sizes, and location of schools before making a decision. They should also consider the faculty's credentials, ensuring that the instructors are qualified to teach students. If possible, prospective students should contact graduates of a particular school. This will allow the prospective student to determine if former students are satisfied with the education they received from the college.


Once enrolled in respiratory therapy programs, students take courses in anatomy and physiology, mathematics, physics, and microbiology. They will learn about the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, and how to treat patients with a variety of medical conditions. Following graduation from respiratory therapy programs, graduates must pass a national exam to become licensed therapists.

Medical professionals who work in respiratory therapy find jobs in nursing homes, hospitals, doctor's offices, sleep clinics, home health, and other medical facilities. They may administer breathing treatments to asthmatics or assist anesthesiologists during surgery. Respiratory therapists place patients on ventilators when patients experience breathing difficulties. They inform patients about the dangers of smoking. Respiratory therapists even draw patients' blood to determine if the blood contains sufficient levels of oxygen.

Respiratory therapy programs can be found in schools throughout the U.S., but not all programs are considered equal. It is up to the future student to conduct research on the variety of schools that offer the program. Any respiratory therapy program chosen by a prospective student should be accredited by the CAAHEP. Students should closely examine the facets of each school, exploring the cost of tuition, the school's typical class size, and its location. By weighing these factors, those who wish to become respiratory therapists can choose a reputable school that will help them meet their career goals.



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