The Bachelor of Science Program in Respiratory Therapy is a 2+2 program, meaning the student completes the first two years at any accredited college or university of choice, and the last two years at this university. All 2+2 students begin the program fall semester after completing a core curriculum. The program consists of five semesters and includes classroom and clinical education.
The percentage of respiratory therapists with higher degrees has increased considerably since 1992. In 2005, nearly one-third of all respiratory therapists had a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree are highly marketable for lucrative positions.
Respiratory Therapy: A Life-and-Breath Career
Respiratory therapists treat patients with cardiopulmonary disease and other disorders requiring life-support technologies. Patients range from newborns to the elderly. In the hospital, respiratory therapists assist physicians by assessing the patient’s condition, planning and initiating treatment and providing patient education. Treatments include oxygen and humidity therapy, chest physical therapy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and state-of-the-art life support technologies. Respiratory therapists also obtain and analyze arterial blood samples to evaluate and optimize patient oxygenation and ventilation and evaluate cardiopulmonary function using specialized equipment.
A Multi-Skilled Profession
Respiratory therapy requires manual skills and a broad range of cognitive capabilities. Respiratory therapists’ relative autonomy demands a high degree of responsibility and professionalism. Their significant patient contact requires empathy, interpersonal skills, communication and the ability to collect, evaluate and synthesize patient information. Therapies are based on strong patient assessment, highly technical skills requiring good manual dexterity and mechanical aptitude to perform them safely and acceptably.
Related interests may include physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and radiologic sciences.
Graduates are eligible to take national credentialing exams from the National Board for Respiratory Care, leading to designations of certified and registered respiratory therapist, certified and registered pulmonary function technologist and competency recognition as a perinatal/pediatric respiratory care specialist and certified asthma educator. These credentials are recognized nationally and internationally. First-time pass rates for graduates are well above the national average.
Most respiratory therapists work in acute-care hospitals, but roles outside the traditional work setting are rapidly growing. Career opportunities include education, research and patient care in clinics, skilled nursing or long-term acutecare facilities and physicians’ offices. Therapists with a bachelor’s degree can work as disease or case managers, clinical educators, supervisors, departmental directors, medical equipment marketers, clinical or education specialists and pharmaceutical representatives.
Because of an acute shortage of registered therapists, the job market is excellent. The number of full-time employee positions has increased by over 20,000 since 2000, according to the American Association for Respiratory Care.
Registered therapists assume considerable responsibility and command high salaries. The mean annual salary for respiratory therapists in 2005 was $56,160. The mean salary for experienced respiratory therapists ranges from $50,000 to $70,000 depending on job responsibilities, education and location. Private industry offers particularly lucrative career opportunities.
Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the credentialing examinations for the Respiratory Therapist offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care.
In addition to demonstrating personal characteristics appropriate for a health professions career, students must satisfy general and specific technical standards. Visit www.gru.edu/alliedhealth/respther/techstandards.htm to review these requirements
The university participates in all federal student aid programs as well as state and private programs. Educational assistance may be available for students who want to work in rural Georgia. The university helps students fund their education through grants, scholarships, loans, a service commitment program and/or employment.
Students are very competitive for national, regional and local scholarships for the first and second year.
Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
1248 Harwood Road
Please see the Office of Academic Admissions website for specific admissions information:
Estimated Tuition and Fees
For estimated tuition and fees, please see the Financial Information section of this catalog.
Respiratory Therapy Program Curriculum