Whether you earn a degree or certificate, respiratory therapist training will require extensive core courses and clinical rotations. The general education requirements for an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and a Bachelor degree will vary. The core courses for a bachelor degree require high-level coursework and study. The curriculum and respiratory therapist training requirements will vary among respiratory training schools. The school you have chosen will provide you with information on the necessary requirements to complete your education.
The respiratory therapist training requirements are designed to prepare you for a career as a therapist and to prepare you to take the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) exam. The clinical rotations will provide you with real-world experience and on-the-job training. Most schools have agreements with local hospitals to provide clinical training and experience for students. Your rotations may be at one hospital or three hospitals. Before you get to the point of clinical rotations, you have many comprehensive courses to complete
Bachelor Degree Curriculum
- Medical Terminology
- Concepts of Respiratory Therapy
- Anatomy and Physiology I & II
- Principles of Microbiology
- Effective Oral Communication
- Introduction to Ethics
- Cardiopulmonary Pathology
- Neonatal and Pediatrics for Respiratory Therapy
- Mechanical Ventilation
This list only provides a few examples of the expected course work. In addition to the comprehensive courses, there are several laboratory-training courses.
In the laboratory, you will learn to administer aerosols and gases. You will have hands-on training in the following:
- Equipment used for respiratory care
- Gas analysis
- Mechanical ventilation
- Airway management
- Pulmonary functions
The required rotations may vary among respiratory therapist training programs. However, you can expect exposure to the following clinical situations:
- Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
- Patient care
- Neonatal Care Unit (NICU)
- Critical and Emergency care
- Pulmonary testing
- Stress testing and electrocardiogram
- Arterial blood analysis
You may also observe and assist with the following:
- Performing percussive therapy
- Providing patients with supplemental oxygen
- Providing patients with mechanical ventilation
- Assisting physicians with diagnostic procedures
- Performing EKGs
- Harvest and analyze arterial blood
- Administering bronchodilator therapy
- Providing pulmonary function testing
Clinical rotations are important because you will be graded and evaluated during each rotation. Many programs will require you to complete written examinations and direct observation of demonstrated skills.
Most rotation schedules will include at least three days per week for eight hours each day. This will depend on your respiratory therapist training program. For most students the most exciting part of training is hospital rotations. You will be working with physicians, respiratory therapists, and nurses. The patients are real and so are their health conditions.
While the extensive training may seem overwhelming, you will be thoroughly prepared as your progress through your education. The intensive training will prepare you for a rewarding career.
The key to success is developing time management skills to manage labor-intensive course work. In addition, while you are in school you may want to join organizations such as the American Association for Respiratory Care. You can interact with other students and professionals in the field of respiratory care.