How do I get a Respiratory Therapy Degree?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 April 2020
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There are three requirements to obtain a respiratory therapy degree: meet the application criteria, select the appropriate school, and complete the coursework. A respiratory therapy degree is widely available from a broad range of universities, community and career colleges. This type of degree provides the training required to become either a Certified Respiratory Therapist® (CRT®) or a Registered Respiratory Therapist® (RRT®). The CRT® certification is suitable for community college graduates and the RRT® program is for university graduates.

Respiratory therapists work with patients who have chronic lung problems, birth defects, and other airway management issues. They are specially trained in the use of mechanical ventilation equipment, long-term health issues related to respiratory ailments, and how to improve airway management. This position is a valuable member of the health services team, providing assistance and expertise to patients, doctors, nurses, and physical therapists.

In order to gain acceptance in a respiratory therapy degree program, there are specific application criteria that must be met. Candidates must have successfully completed high school courses in biology, math, and English. The number of applicants for a respiratory therapy degree is quite high, which in turn makes the marks required to gain admissions also quite high. Many people also take courses in first aid, personal counseling, and physical therapy to improve their admission chances, although these programs are not required.

When selecting a school for a respiratory therapy degree, it is important to review three main items: reputation, breadth of program offerings, and internship opportunities. A school with an excellent reputation has dedicated significant money, time, and resources to the program over a period of years. Look at the qualifications of the professors, their areas of expertise and research. Review recent publications in academic journals to learn more about their philosophies and approach. Read the school website for detailed biographies.

Internship opportunities are critical to gaining valuable experience. When selecting a school, this may be the most important item to consider. It is not possible to gain the experience required in this field without an internship or clinic placement. The vast majority of schools include this in their program, and a passing mark is required for graduation.

The coursework in a respiratory therapy degree is divided into two streams: theory and application. The theory-based courses include a significant amount of human anatomy, biology, and math. These subjects are all critical for respiratory therapists. The ability to understand the calculated values from tests and equipment is very important in this role.

The application-based courses include the internship and working with human mannequins and computer simulation programs. These tools are necessary to learn the steps required to assist clients in distress, resolve respiratory equipment issues, and assist the patient with breathing functions.

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Post 2

@heavanet- I think that your niece should definitely consider going after her respiratory therapy degree at the community college that she is considering. There are several benefits for students that attend these types of schools that are very significant.

First of all, community colleges have much lower tuition costs than most four-year universities. Students that attend them save a lot of money while still getting great degrees.

Classes at community colleges are also usually much smaller, offering more one-on-one time for students and professors. This goes a long way in providing quality education, because students don't feel like they are just numbers.

Finally, community colleges offer very good programs, and area businesses and organization often prefer to hire graduates from the local area. This is a big plus for students that would like to attend school and eventually work in the same area.

Post 1

When it comes to getting a degree in respiratory therapy, is a community college really a good choice? I have a niece who is trying to decide where to get her respiratory therapy degree, and she is weighing the pros and cons of a university compared to a local community college that offers this program.

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