Complete Guide to an Online Respiratory Therapy Degree

Quick Facts
Accreditation: CoARC
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $22,357
Avg Salary: $81,056

Online respiratory therapy degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. There are 27 accredited online colleges and universites offering respiratory therapy degrees. Respiratory care is the practice of treating patients who suffer from chronic heart and lung diseases. Therapists will typically see premature infants, people who suffer from sleeping disorders, and people who have previously experienced a heart attack or other illness or issue to provide treatment that will help them breathe more easily.

Prospective online respiratory therapy students should ensure that their schools are regionally accredited and that their repiratory therapy programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoArc). Attending an accredited university or program will help ensure that graduates have received a quality education, that they can transfer credits between institutions, and that they may qualify for federal financial aid.

Find an Online Degree:

Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Respiratory Therapy Degrees ( 27)

School Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Boise State University NWCCU $22,642 100% (1 review)
49 Programs, 2 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (RRT to BS)
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care
Canisius College MSCHE $36,454 100% (2 reviews)
25 Programs, 3 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care - Respiratory Care Education
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care - Respiratory Therapeutics
Carlow University MSCHE $28,596 Add Review
31 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (Completion Program)
Ferris State University HLC $18,588 Add Review
41 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • BS in Respiratory Therapy
Georgia State University SACS COC $23,971 0% (1 review)
62 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Associate of Science in Health Sciences - Health Sciences — Respiratory Therapy Pathway
Independence University ACCSC $16,968 56% (97 reviews)
37 Programs, 3 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care - Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care - Respiratory Care Management
Jacksonville State University SACS COC $15,582 100% (1 review)
61 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy - RRT-BS Program
Liberty University SACS COC $11,700 59% (246 reviews)
559 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • BS: Respiratory Therapy: Post-Licensure
Midwestern State University SACS COC $10,644 75% (4 reviews)
34 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care - RRT to BSRC
Misericordia University MSCHE $31,660 Add Review
31 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science - Respiratory Therapy
Missouri Southern State University HLC $11,568 100% (1 review)
32 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science - Respiratory Therapy (Degree Completion)
Nebraska Methodist College HLC $15,980 100% (1 review)
38 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • BS in Respiratory Care (degree completion)
Northeastern University NECHE $49,497 100% (10 reviews)
244 Programs, 6 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Respiratory Specialty Practice
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care Leadership
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care Leadership - Clinical Trial Design
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care Leadership - Health Management
Northern Arizona University HLC $24,841 72% (18 reviews)
160 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor's in Health Sciences - Respiratory Care
Northern Kentucky University SACS COC $19,104 50% (4 reviews)
48 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care - Completion Program
Nova Southeastern University SACS COC $29,930 71% (7 reviews)
228 Programs, 2 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (Post-Professional)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (Post-Professional) - Health Care Management
Oregon Institute of Technology NWCCU $28,367 Add Review
26 Programs, 2 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (Degree Completion)
  • Master of Science in Allied Health - Respiratory Care
San Joaquin Valley College WASC ACCJC $30,175 60% (48 reviews)
10 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor - Respiratory Therapy
Towson University MSCHE $22,140 Add Review
28 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • B.S. in Allied Health - Advanced Respiratory Therapy
University of Cincinnati HLC $27,334 83% (6 reviews)
136 Programs, 5 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (Degree Completion)
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy - Health Administration
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy - Health Informatics
University of Kansas HLC $26,592 100% (1 review)
78 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (RT to BS)
University of Mary HLC $18,224 100% (3 reviews)
67 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • BS in Respiratory Therapy (RRT to BSRT)
University of Michigan-Flint HLC $21,165 Add Review
47 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Sciece in Respiratory Therapy
University of Minnesota Digital Campus HLC $11,338 - $26,603 Add Review
53 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Studies - Respiratory Care
University of Minnesota-Crookston HLC $11,814 Add Review
26 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • BS in Applied Studies - Respiratory Care
University of Missouri HLC $26,506 Add Review
123 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Health Sciences in Clinical and Diagnostic Services - Respiratory Therapy (Degree Advancement)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte SACS COC $20,266 40% (5 reviews)
56 Programs, 2 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Master of Science in Respiratory Care
University of Southern Indiana HLC $18,626 Add Review
46 Programs, 1 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (RRT to BSRT) Degree Completion
Youngstown State University HLC $8,811 Add Review
20 Programs, 2 in Respiratory Therapy (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (Completion Program)
  • Master of Respiratory Care

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.  

View Respiratory Therapy Programs View Respiratory Therapy Programs

Online Associate Degrees in Respiratory Therapy

An online associate degree in respiratory therapy consists of 60-117 credits and typically takes 24-26 months to complete. Potential applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent in order to be considered for enrollment. The coursework includes topics of anatomy, physiology, cardiopulmonary pharmacology, lung expansion therapy, and mechanical ventilation. Other classes offer clinical practice to prepare students for the workplace. Although it is more common for respiratory therapists to earn a bachelor's or master's degree, the associate degree in respiratory therapy allows students to enter the field in hospitals or clinics with practical experience. These therapists work with doctors to provide treatment for patients with heart or lung conditions. The career also includes running respiratory tests, analyzing the results, and educating patients and families on their treatment options. Graduates must receive the proper certifications and licenses before starting work, which may require additional schooling or study.

View Associate Programs View Associate Programs

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. 

View Bachelor's Programs View Bachelor's Programs

Online Master's in Respiratory Therapy

Participants in an online master's program in respiratory therapy will complete 37 to 47-credit hours depending on their concentration and university of choice. Over the course of two years, students will take concentrated studies to enhance their professional skills for career advancement. Coursework generally includes Advanced Cardiopulmonary Physiology, Applied Research in Respiratory Care, Respiratory Therapist Education, Clinical Practicum I, II, & III, Health Promotion, Professional Seminar, and Respiratory Care in Alternative Sites. Respiratory therapy professionals who hold an advanced degree will find that they may qualify for advanced positions as well as promotions. Participating in an online master's program may prepare graduates for job titles such as manager of adult respiratory care services, clinical education coordinator, and respiratory care coordinator. In order to qualify for an online graduate program, applicants must present official undergraduate degree documentation, two letters of recommendation, a letter written by the applicant outlining professional and academic aspirations, and a professional resume displaying relevant past work experience. 

View Master's Programs View Master's Programs

Online Certificates in Respiratory Therapy

Graduate level certificates in respiratory therapy take anywhere from 6-12 months and usually consist of around 16 credits. Respiratory therapists who are already in the field and have had academic and hands-on experience typically pursue these graduate certificates. At a minimum, applicants must have an undergraduate degree and working knowledge of respiratory therapy practices. The application generally requires two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a professional resume. Examples of courses for the program include topics of pulmonary diseases and disorders, cardiopulmonary assessment and diagnostics, and other specific courses depending on the student's emphasis. Some universities offer co-op work opportunities or real-world case studies in class. The certificate program prepares students to work as respiratory therapists and to become specialists in one of several different specialty areas. Specializations may include Adult Critical Care, Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care, Asthma and COPD Education/Wellness Coordination, or Pulmonary Function Testing. According to the Washington Post, a graduate certificate can boost a therapist's earnings by an average of 25%.

View Certificate Programs View Certificate Programs

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. Aspiring professionals should seek at minimum an associate degree in order to qualify for entry-level positions, but they will most likely have better success at finding a position with a bachelor's degree. Therapists who have received a few years of experience may want to consider an advanced online degree to keep up with evolving health care practices and to qualify for promotions.   

References

63% of users found this page helpful Was this page helpful?
This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement by the school of this site.
Recommendation rate refers to the percent of students who said they would recommend this school based on reviews submitted to our partner site, GradReports.com.
This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.