Complete Guide to Online Respiratory Therapy Programs
Job opportunities for trained technicians who can provide specific services are increasing in the healthcare industry. Demand for respiratory therapists, for example, is expected to grow by 19% over the next eight to ten years. Respiratory therapy is the practice of treating patients who suffer from chronic heart and lung diseases. Therapists work with patients of all ages, from premature infants to adults who suffer from sleeping disorders or who have experienced a heart attack or other illness. The following is a list of schools that prepare students to be respiratory therapists through their online respiratory therapy programs. Additional details on accredited schools, career options, and the job outlook for respiratory therapists are also provided below.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Respiratory Therapy Bachelor's Degrees
Online Respiratory Therapy Degree Overview & Career Information
Aspiring respiratory therapists will want to pursue a degree of higher education in order to qualify for different jobs and positions within the field. Online bachelor's degrees in respiratory therapy are offered at the university level and can be completed through 120-credit hours of study over the course of four years. This degree may prepare graduates for positions in critical care, pulmonary rehabilitation, and sleep medicine. Professionals who are ready to move to higher positions above entry-level will want to consider earning their master's degree. Students in online master's programs will face up to two years of study through the culmination of 37 to 47-credit hours. Upon graduation, respiratory therapists may find work inmanagement and coordination positions.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Respiratory Therapy
Students enrolled in full time study can complete their online bachelor's degrees in respiratory therapy in four years through a completion of 120-credit hours. Students will learn about sleep medicine, critical care, pulmonary rehabilitation, and asthma education as they complete their required courses and training. Required courses include Clinical Ethics, Emergency & Disaster Management in Healthcare, Community & Patient Education, Pediatric Respiratory Care, Adult Critical Care, Advanced Mechanical Ventilation Theory, and Current Issues in Respiratory Care. Students will also need to complete general education courses as well as elective courses based on their interests. When considering enrolling in an online bachelor's program, applicants will have to make sure some basic admission requirements are met. These requirements typically include a completion of a CoARC accredited associate program, official transcripts from all schools attended, a letter of intent, and, if applicable to the applicant, a resume. Aspiring industry professionals can find bachelor programs at universities across the country.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Respiratory Therapy Degree
Accreditation is an extremely important factor to consider when choosing an online school to attend. Without accreditation, graduates may find themselves with a degree that many employers will not recognize. In short, accreditation is the process in which agencies review institutions and programs to ensure the highest quality of education is being demonstrated. Accreditation shows the graduate's potential employer that their program met high standards and that the graduate has been well educated in their field of work and is ready to be hired. Attending a non-accredited school will also mean that the student will not qualify for student loans or be eligible to transfer credits. It may also hinder the student's chance of obtaining an appropriate professional licensure in their field. The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) is the primary accrediting body for degree programs in respiratory care. The agency is nationally recognized and is dedicated to ensuring high quality educational programs that will adequately prepare students for career practice. CoARC determines a program's eligibility based on information assessment, an on site evaluation, and reports submitted during the accreditation cycle. All CoARC accredited programs are evaluated on an annual basis to ensure that standards are continually being met.
Careers in Respiratory Care
People with online respiratory therapy degrees who go on to work as respiratory therapists will provide treatment and care for patients that have been diagnosed with heart and lung conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and sleep apnea. Respiratory therapists will also see patients who are recovering from heart attack or stroke. Daily responsibilities include running tests to diagnose heart and lung conditions as well as working with doctors to recommend appropriate treatment by conducting physical exams, responding to urgent care patients, analyzing treatment, and educating patients and family members in order to maximize their treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Respiratory Therapy Degrees
How much can I earn with an online degree in respiratory therapy?
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary range for respiratory therapists is $44,850 to $86,980. Higher-paying jobs and management positions are generally reserved for professionals with bachelor's and master's degrees. Respiratory therapists will find the most job opportunities in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and medical practices.
What is the job outlook for respiratory therapists?
While "respiratory therapy technician" is an outdated term for a position that is being phased out of the healthcare industry, respiratory therapists are still in demand. The role has a job growth projection of 19% through 2029.
What kind of degree do I need to become a respiratory therapist?
Aspiring professionals should seek, at minimum, an associate degree in order to qualify for entry-level positions, but they will have better success in finding a position with a bachelor's degree. Respiratory therapists with a few years of experience may consider an advanced online degree to keep up with evolving health care practices and to qualify for promotions.