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Respiratory Therapy (AAS, BS)

Respiratory Therapy Students

Our hybrid AAS Entry to Practice respiratory therapy degree program combines the convenience of online classes with the power of practical learning experiences.

Our online BSRT Completion degree allows practicing respiratory therapists to continue their education with courses in leadership, education, research, and clinical specialties.

Respiratory Care Careers: Why Become a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory therapists work with patients at all stages of life and in circumstances of all kinds, from providing life-saving treatments in emergency rooms to conducting breathing function tests to help doctors make a diagnosis. Your skills and training will help improve the quality of life for people of all ages, and that makes for an incredibly rewarding career.

Earning a degree in respiratory therapy from a CoArc-accredited program prepares you to sit for the National Board for Respiratory Care licensure exam.

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Career Outlook & Success

$61,830

National median salary in 2021 (BLS.gov)

#16

on the U.S. News & World Report 100 Best Jobs in America List (2022)

23%

growth through 2030, much faster than the average profession (BLS.gov)

Program Details: At-a-Glance

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Entry to Practice

  • Format: Hybrid (online courses; on-site labs and clinicals)
  • Length: 18 months for AAS;
  • Start Date: Clinical cohorts begin each summer

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT) Completion Degree*

  • Format: Online only
  • Length: 22 months
  • Start Date: Spring

*You must first complete the entry-to-practice AAS degree in order to be eligible to apply for the respiratory therapy bachelor’s degree program.

Why USF for Your Respiratory Therapy Degree?

With an education rooted in Franciscan values, USF has a rich history in the helping professions. Our liberal arts approach to a premier health sciences education develops you into a well-rounded, compassionate, ethical professional ready to serve others.

Through a mix of asynchronous online courses and on-site labs and clinical rotations, you’ll receive respiratory care training from an expert faculty of active healthcare practitioners. You’ll gain a foundation in medical terminology, anatomy/physiology, and cardiopulmonary diseases, and hone your patient care and technical skills—including how to use respiratory care diagnostic and treatment devices—through practicum experiences.

Hands-On Learning: On Campus and in the Field

As a student in USF’s AAS Entry to Practice respiratory therapy program, you’ll put learning into practice in real-world, professional environments. You’ll complete skills training with your peers at on-campus labs at our main campus in Fort Wayne or our satellite campus in Crown Point. You’ll also participate in clinical rotations with our partner sites around the region, including:

Fort Wayne Campus Clinical Affiliates

  • Airway Oxygen
  • Adams Memorial Hospital
  • Cameron Memorial Hospital
  • Dupont Hospital
  • Lutheran Health Downtown
  • Lutheran Hospital
  • Parkview Dekalb Hospital
  • Parkview Huntington Hospital
  • Parkview Noble Hospital
  • Parkview Randallia Hospital
  • Parkview Regional Medical Center
  • Parkview Whitley Hospital
  • Parkview Physicians Group (PPG)

Crown Point Site Clinical Affiliates

  • Comer Children’s Hospital
  • Community Hospital
  • Franciscan Health – Crown Point
  • Franciscan Health – Dyer
  • Franciscan Health – Hammond
  • Franciscan Health – Michigan City
  • Franciscan Health – Munster
  • Methodist – Northlake
  • Methodist – Southlake
  • Northwest Porter
  • Pillar Point
  • St. Catherine Hospital

Program Key Personnel

  • Program Director, Corey Smith, MBA, RRT
  • Director of Clinical Education, Sheena Shultz, BS, RRT
  • Medical Director, Dr. Eustace Fernandes
  • Crown Point Site Coordinator, Sarah Connelly, BS, RRT



“I like that my education and my faith are working together at USF. It continually reminds me of my greater purpose, which is to make positive change in this world.”

Lizze Gomez ’23

Medical Assisting

Respiratory Therapist Career Opportunities

Respiratory care professionals are in high demand at healthcare facilities of all kinds. Career opportunities are also available with health agencies, medical device companies, and emergency medical services providers.

Here are a few places where you might find respiratory therapy jobs:

  • Hospitals
  • Pulmonary clinics
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Sleep disorder centers/sleep labs
  • Home health agencies
  • Assisted living centers and communities
  • Specialty hospitals and care centers
  • Diagnostic labs
  • Ground and air transport

With on-the-job experience, additional training, and, sometimes, advanced certifications, you could also pursue leadership or educator roles in respiratory therapy.

Respiratory Therapy Career Specialties & Continuing Education

Respiratory therapists often continue their education and expand their opportunities by earning additional credentials. As you discover your strengths and interests in the respiratory care field, you might consider certification in specialty areas such as:

  • Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist
  • Asthma Education
  • Sleep Disorders Specialist
  • Adult Critical Care Specialist
  • Pulmonary Function Technologist

“USF students stand apart [from other applicants] not only for their clinical skills, but for the deep level of care they bring to their work.”

Erin LaCross, MSN ’09 and vice president of nursing services at Parkview Hospital

Accreditation

Statement of Program Goals

AAS Entry to Practice Program Goal
To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).

Bachelor’s Degree Completion Goal
To prepare leaders for the field of respiratory care by including curricular content with objectives related to acquisition of skills in one or more of the following: management, education, research, and advanced clinical practice (which may also include an area of clinical specialization).

Accreditation Information

The University of St. Francis is currently in the process of seeking CoARC accreditation for a respiratory care program. However, USF can provide no assurance that accreditation will be granted by the CoARC.

CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an “outcomes based” process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.

Program Numbers: 200650, 300038, 510028

Additional Professional Information

The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.
264 Precision Blvd, Telford, TN, 37690
817-283-2835
https://coarc.com

Find state-specific information regarding respiratory therapy licensure on the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency website.

Indiana Society for Respiratory Care
https://www.in-isrc.org

American Association of Respiratory Care
https://www.aarc.org

National Board for Respiratory Care
https://www.nbrc.org

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Academic Plan

An academic plan is a general blueprint showing how one might complete the degree, semester by semester. Get an idea on what each semester could look like.