There are four items to consider when choosing the best respiratory therapist program: education level, admissions requirements, accreditation, and faculty. Respiratory therapist programs can be found in universities and community or career colleges. Respiratory therapists work with clients who need assistance to breathe. These patients typically have either a respiratory disease or injury. Many patients have a series of other illnesses, which causes difficulty with respiration.
There are two levels of education available: university or college. At the university level, the focus is on the theory and concepts behind respiratory therapy. Only through a university program can students obtain a master's or doctoral degree. These credentials are required to become a university professor or to conduct research in this field.
The training programs available at the college level are focused on the practical skills required to work in respiratory therapy. This includes training on working with different client groups, successful methodologies, and well-known challenges and solutions for clients. Career advancement opportunities will require additional training or certification. The respiratory therapist program at the college level are usually two to three years, and are at least four years at the university level.
In order to qualify for admission to a respiratory therapist program, you must have high school courses in biology and English. Many schools require a personal interview or essay as part of the admissions process. Patients who require the services of a respiratory therapist are medically fragile, and candidates must have a certain level of maturity to deal with long-term illness and death.
If you are looking at the best respiratory therapist program in the country or state, think about what is best for you. For example, a student with family responsibilities may find that a program with online course options is the best program. Another student may decide that a part-time program with courses in the evenings and weekends works best. Think about your daily life, what will fit and find the program that works for you.
When comparing different respiratory therapist programs, always check the accreditation status of the school. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions. This is very important, as many people change careers and the ability to use credits earned in the respiratory therapist program toward other health science programs reduces the time and cost of career changes.
Most respiratory therapist programs provide the biographies of their faculty or instructors on their website. The information listed typically includes the academic credentials, work experience, special training, and any awards they have received. Spend the time to learn more about your professors. Their experience and knowledge can be very valuable to you as your start your career in respiratory therapy.