What You Should Know About This Degree
An associate’s degree is the minimum level of education needed for entry into the respiratory therapy field. Bachelor’s degrees are becoming increasingly common, and may make you more attractive to employers. Many bachelor’s programs are designed for respiratory therapists who already have an associate’s degree, as well as professional credentials and work experience. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy and want to move into leadership or administrative positions, a master’s degree will help you advance into these roles.
Currently, respiratory therapists must be licensed in order to practice in the majority of U.S. states. Licensure requirements vary by state, but they generally include having a degree from a CoArc-accredited program. Respiratory therapists also need professional credentials awarded by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). The NBRC offers two levels of credentialing – the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). Individuals must usually pass an exam and pay an application fee to obtain their licenses and credentials.
Even if the coursework for a program can be completed online, you may still be required to complete clinical education in an in-person setting. Review the program’s plan of study for more information about clinical experience requirements, and confirm that they will fit into your schedule when enrolled in the program.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Respiratory Therapy programs:
- Am I eligible for admission to this program? Respiratory therapy education builds upon itself, so most programs are designed for students who already have some background in the field. Be sure to look carefully at the admission qualifications before applying to confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for acceptance.
- How are online courses delivered? Online courses are usually offered in either asynchronous or synchronous formats. In asynchronous courses, students access lessons and complete assignments on their own schedules. In synchronous programs, students attend classes remotely at set times. Prior to enrolling, look at how courses are delivered to determine which program will best fit your schedule and learning preferences.
Admissions requirements vary by school and program. As part of your research, look at the program’s application procedures and deadlines, and gather your application materials so you can submit them well in advance of deadlines. This will facilitate a smooth admissions process.
Also consider how you will finance your degree. Talk to financial aid counselors about your options for loans, grants, and scholarships. If you are currently employed, find out if your job offers tuition assistance benefits.