Best 15 Respiratory Therapist Degree Programs in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

respiratory Therapist Degree

The profession of respiratory therapy (RT) has grown rapidly in the recent past. This has been attributed to an ever-increasing aging population and scope of practice in divergent areas of clinical practice. Technological development in learning institutions has probably played a key role in training, educating, and assessing RT students to meet the unending need for practitioners. The respiratory therapy program provides graduates with the technical skills for performing diagnostic evaluation and therapeutic intervention in cases of cardiopulmonary dysfunction. 

Why Is It Necessary To Study for a Respiratory Therapist Degree?

Having a respiratory therapist degree from a recognized institution will enable you to work with other medical practitioners in saving people’s lives. Many respiratory illnesses can claim people’s lives and this is when respiratory therapists chip in regulating patients’ breathing in an attempt to save their lives. 

Top 5 Respiratory Therapist Degree Programs

Rank School Location
1Northern Michigan UniversityMarquette, Michigan
2Middle Georgia State UniversityMacon, Georgia
3University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, Texas
4Kettering CollegeKettering, Ohio
5Rhode Island CollegeProvidence, Rhode Island

Here are the reasons why many people pursue a career as a respiratory therapist.

  • Saving Lives: One of the greatest rewards for most medical professionals is the ability to save the lives of other people. Patients often develop breathing complications in intensive care units and emergency rooms. In such cases, respiratory therapists play a vital role to provide the necessary medication, ventilators, and airway devices to resuscitate the patients.
  • Competitive Salaries and Allowances: No matter how the salary range for respiratory therapists may vary across states and cities, they remain to be among the top-paid professionals in the field of healthcare. Apart from basic salary and huge allowances, you also stand a chance to explore additional sources of income like providing private home care.
  • Fast Training: The most amazing thing about becoming a respiratory therapist is that unlike other professions, it takes a very short amount of time to complete your respiratory therapist degree. While other healthcare-related programs may require that you get at least a bachelor’s, the good news with a respiratory therapist is that you can attain an associate degree within two years. 

If you need help finding a college or university that offers you a degree of preference we can help. Below are the 15 best schools offering a Respiratory Therapist Degree.

Best 15 Respiratory Therapist Degree Programs


Northern Michigan University

  • Marquette, Michigan
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Points: 97

Northern Michigan University is one of the top public universities in Marquette, Michigan. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy programs. The program enables current respiratory therapists to gain access to management positions. Northern Michigan University offers various courses including an introduction to Clinical Health Management, Behavioral and Organizational Management, and Human Anatomy and Physiology. To qualify, students must earn the 120 credits required to complete this degree. This is a recipe for students to develop critical thinking skills that are essential for success in their respective careers.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $2,608
Financial Aid: 82%
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Middle Georgia State University

  • Macon, Georgia
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Points: 93

Middle Georgia State University is located in Georgia. It offers two respiratory therapy degree programs online and on campus. For those who would like to earn a bachelor’s degree, Middle Georgia State University offers a bridge program of the associate-to-a-bachelor-of-science. Once you complete your program, you may be required to sit for the National Board of Respiratory Care specialty exams. You will also be required to enroll in the second program, the Bachelor of Science is an entry-level program that needs 60 hours of prerequisites. This can be completed within five semesters and prepares you for a successful career as an RT practitioner.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $2,608
Financial Aid: 99%
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University of the Incarnate Word

  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Points: 86

The University of the Incarnate Word is one of the largest catholic university located in Texas. The institution offers The Respiratory Therapist degree to students with the desire to become respiratory assistants. The program includes general education courses, RT courses, practicals, and community service which takes 84 credit hours to complete. Students applying for this program must be evaluated on various factors such as GPA, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, work experience, and optional reference letters. Upon graduation, students from the University of the Incarnate partake in the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination, to get certification to practice as Respiratory Therapists (CRT)

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $27,000
Financial Aid: 98
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Kettering College

  • Kettering, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Points: 86

Kettering College is located in Ohio. It allows students can earn a three-year Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Care either online or on campus. The program enables students to acquire adequate technical knowledge and experience required for a successful career as a respiratory therapist. For admission into the program, GPA, ACT, or ACT results in high school or college. You must have a solid academic background in mathematics and basic science and score a minimum grade of 70 on the Kettering College mathematics test. After completing the minimum of 132 credit hours, you can proceed to register for the therapist’s multiple-choice exam to earn the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) degree.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $11,808
Financial Aid: 27%
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Rhode Island College

  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Points: 82

Rhode Island College is a well-known public institution located in the province of Rhode Island. It offers a respiratory therapy completion program. Before a student enrolls in this Bachelor of Science degree, it is a requirement that they must have a respiratory therapist license with a minimum of 42 transfer credits. Some of the courses at Rhode Island College required for this program include; social and global perspectives on health, Human genetics, society and social behavior, and dynamics and determinants of disease. Students only become eligible for enhanced job opportunities, leadership positions, and promotions after successful completion of the 91 credits.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $7,118
Financial Aid: 42%
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Dalton State College

  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Graduation Rate: 26%
  • Points: 80

Dalton State College is a public institution in Dalton, Georgia offering a respiratory therapist degree. Here, you can earn your RT degree online if you prefer. The program is mainly for respiratory care practitioners with an associate degree in RT. The program enables learners to obtain the essential skills required in the practice at the same time while reducing the duplication of their current knowledge and skills. Once through with 122-123 credit hours required for this program, these become prerequisites for students that fosters critical thinking and professional leadership and development. With the comprehensive curriculum, the students become successful critical thinkers, problem solvers, and conscientious leaders as they embrace life-long learning.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $2,452
Financial Aid: 5%
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Wallace Community College

  • Dothan, Alabama
  • Graduation Rate: 20%
  • Points: 80

Wallace Community College is one of the institutions offering five semesters, 76 credit hours online or on-campus. It offers an associate in applied sciences degree for students aspiring to become respiratory therapists. However, some factors, such as GPA, completed courses, and performance in the ATI Test of Essential Skills is used to determine the admission of a candidate in this program. When students are through with their Associate in Applied Science degree, they acquire the clinical skills and training necessary to serve as a medical assistant in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of Respiratory Therapy. They will be required to take the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination to obtain the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $3,510
Financial Aid: 18%
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Seattle Central College

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Graduation Rate: 27%
  • Points: 78

Seattle Central College is located in Washington. it offers The Respiratory Care Track in the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in the Allied Health program. The program combines classroom theory with practical, hands-on experience, to adequately prepare students to become members of competent healthcare teams that treat patients suffering from cardiopulmonary disorders.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $3,393
Financial Aid: 13%
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Keiser University

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Points: 78

Keiser University is a private, nonprofit university located in Florida offering an associate of science degree in respiratory therapy. The program is offered both online or on campus and it is aimed at preparing graduates with demonstrated knowledge on how ta handle patients in respiratory care practice. The requirement for admission at Keiser University Respiratory Therapy program includes a background check, drug screening, and a cumulative average of 3.0 on a scale of 4,0

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $9,504.00 per semester
Financial Aid: 58%
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Vermont Technical College

  • Randolph, Vermont
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Points: 76

Vermont Technical College is located in Burlington, Vermont. The university offers prospective an Associate Degree in Respiratory Sciences both online and on campus. The minimum requirement for admission to this program is that students must enter ENG 1060 or 1061, obtain a Level 2 math placement, and must be willing to go to hospitals. Upon attaining a minimum of 69 credit hours and gaining experience in providing care to patients under supervision, students will graduate and take the certification exams by the National Board of Respiratory Care. After passing the certification exams, will receive the Registered Respiratory Therapy credential that allows them to apply for the license which will qualify them for a career as a respiratory therapist in Vermont or New Hampshire.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $12,960
Financial Aid: 54%
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Kansas City Kansas Community College

  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Points: 75

Kansas City Kansas Community College located in Kansas City is one of the institutions known for offering the Respiratory Therapist Program. This program enables students to acquire an Associate in Applied Science Degree. The program is offered both on-campus and online basis. The purpose of the Program is to enable students to become competent entry-level RRT-AAS graduates’ requirements of the National Board for Respiratory Care. The institution also allows students to start the program in the spring or fall semester.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $3,300
Financial Aid: 25%
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Highline College

  • Des Moines, Washington
  • Graduation Rate: 36%
  • Points: 75

Highline College offers a variety of programs including; Respiratory Care, AAS Respiratory Care, and BAS Respiratory Care accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. These programs are offered both online and on campus. Highline College Respiratory Care program has an outline of a comprehensive curriculum. The curriculum entails study in respiratory medical theory along with hands-on laboratory work that is put into practice during clinical rotations.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $4,126
Financial Aid: 24%
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University of Rio Grande

  • Rio Grande, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 26%
  • Points: 73

The University of Rio Grande is located in southeastern Ohio. The school is committed to offering an associate degree in Respiratory Therapy program online as well as on campus. The program is designed to provide an educational channel that will prepare students to be excellent RT practitioners to serve the community healthcare agencies upon graduating as competent and experienced Respiratory Care Practitioners. The program, however, has several requirements most of which can be very competitive.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $24,310
Financial Aid: 31%
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Genesee Community College

  • Batavia, New York
  • Graduation Rate: 26%
  • Points: 71

Genesee Community College is also another institution offering the Associate in Applied Science Degree Program (A.A.S.) in Respiratory Care within two years of full-time study. This institution is located on College Rd, Batavia, New York. Here, students have the opportunity to choose a more flexible part-time class schedule for a large part of the curriculum. As soon as you finish the program, you qualify to take the National Board exams. This exam can later earn you your Respiratory Therapist (RRT) certification that qualifies you for many positions in the RT world.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $4,840 instate tuition
Financial Aid: 5%
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The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Points: 67

The University of Arkansas is a public land grant research university located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The school offers full-time and part-time programs that lead to the award of a bachelor’s degree program in cardio-respiratory care. The university also offers RRT-to-BS program for practicing students who already have the RRT credential. Upon completion, the learners receive credentials in Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Neonatal Resuscitation Program, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support as program requirements. The graduates are also eligible to earn the Respiratory Therapist certification and the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential. Once you are through with the program, students can take the national credentialing exams and apply for a license to practice in healthcare units.

However, successful completion of the program from The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences does not ensure licensure to the student.

School Overview

Tuition Per Year: $8,297
Financial Aid: 80%
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Ranking Methodology

This ranking was based on the analysis of best software data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the respective university websites. The schools were ranked based on tuition amounts per academic year and chances of qualifying for financial aid. Both factors were accorded 50 points and each school was assigned points based on how it compared with others on tuition amounts and graduation rates. The points earned for both ranking factors were then added together to get each school’s total score. In cases where there was a tie in the scores, the graduation rate was used.

We strive to provide current and accurate information to our readers. If you’re associated with one of the schools we ranked above and you realize an error in the information provided, please feel free to contact us and let us know so we can make any necessary corrections.

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