Online Career Education in Respiratory Therapy: Program Summaries
A number of colleges and universities offer online career education in the respiratory therapy field. This article provides summaries of some common online programs in respiratory therapy, as well as career information.
Online career education in respiratory therapy is available through both associate's and bachelor's degree programs in the field. These education programs generally include a mixture of virtual classroom instruction, usually via video conferencing or similar technology, and on-site clinical training.
Online Associate of Science Program Summary
An online associate's degree program in respiratory therapy typically takes about 2 years of full-time study to complete and includes both classroom instruction online and school-approved clinical training, which commonly takes place on-site at a hospital near the student. Coursework can include classes in respiratory care theory and practice, general science and anatomy. Successful completion of the program qualifies graduates to take both the entry-level Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the advanced level Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exams through the National Board for Respiratory Care (www.nbrc.org), a non-profit credentialing organization.
Online Bachelor of Science Program Summary
Respiratory therapy professionals can pursue a bachelor's degree for career advancement opportunities beyond those provided by an associate's degree. The curriculum of online bachelor's degree programs focuses on essential skills and knowledge of a respiratory practitioner in a management role. Program length can depend on the institution, but may be anywhere from 2-4 years. Classroom-style instruction is typically accomplished via video conferencing or similar technology. Classes can include cardiopulmonary pharmacology, lung hyperinflation therapy and pulmonary function testing. Graduates of an accredited respiratory therapy bachelor's degree program are eligible to seek the National Board for Respiratory Care's RRT credentials, state licensure and Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) specialty certification.
The field of respiratory therapy includes both respiratory therapists and respiratory technicians. Normally respiratory therapists have more education and experience than a respiratory technician and are licensed to practice in the state where they work. Each respiratory care professional evaluates and treats patients who have cardiopulmonary disorders and breathing issues. The majority of respiratory therapists and technicians work in general medical and surgical hospitals. Many employers require that entry-level respiratory therapy job applicants hold an associate's degree, while others may require a bachelor's degree.
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