Respiratory therapists focus on cardiology and pulmonology, addressing issues of airway management and respiratory care so they can help patients do the single action most necessary for a person to survive: breathe.
Though they are health care professionals, respiratory therapists are not limited to working in hospitals by any means. Opportunities abound in doctor's offices, home health service companies, nursing homes and even businesses that rent out respiratory therapy equipment. However, whatever type of facility you ultimately see yourself working for, the education that can help you make a start in the field can be found at many schools, including those that are available online.
To help students choose a school that will meet their needs and emphasize their talents, we compared 17 schools that offer online respiratory therapy degree programs, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). We analyzed this data using our unique methodology and created a list of the top 10 online colleges for respiratory therapy, visible below.
In most cases, entering the field of respiratory therapy requires at least an associate degree. As such, those who want to enter this field will have to prepare themselves for at least some amount of schooling. The section below describes some of the coursework that students might take in programs and the skills they may want to focus on developing during that time.
Online education for respiratory therapy programs cover different topics based on the degree level they are set at. The following list describes some of the common courses students might cover at these various degree levels.
If they're paying attention, students working on an online program for respiratory therapy should learn more than just the proper way to use a CPAP machine. Respiratory therapy professionals benefit from having not only technical skills, but also kindness and empathy for the patients they will work with.
People with conditions like emphysema and asthma can literally breathe a sigh of relief because of the work done by professionals in the respiratory therapy field. Between our aging population, a growing emphasis on reducing readmission to hospitals, and the prevalence of air pollution and products such as cigarettes, this is a field that is increasingly acquiring the breathing room it deserves.
Patients with breathing challenges receive treatment from professionals in respiratory therapist careers. Respiratory therapists have job duties such as examining patients with cardiopulmonary disorders; performing tests on lungs to measure their capacity; providing emergency care such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and external cardiac massage; inspecting equipment to ensure it is functioning properly; and keeping track of patients' condition and altering treatments as they progress.
In most states, respiratory therapists are required to earn a certification from The National Board for Respiratory Care in order to work in the field. The certification process may involve completing a degree from an accredited school and passing a licensing examination administered by the state.