Respiratory Care

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The School of Health Professions offers a BS in Respiratory Care with the option to specialize in pulmonary rehabilitation, neonatology, adult critical care, management, education, sleep disorders, cardiopulmonary diagnostics, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Most students enter this program after completion of their sophomore year of undergraduate study or after finishing two years of community college course work. With an advanced curriculum and located at an academic medical center, students receive extensive experience in advanced respiratory therapy techniques. The program includes a semester-long clinical assignment during the senior year in the student's area of specialization.

Respiratory Care Program website



Sample of Related Skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the respiratory care code of ethics
  • Develop an understanding of the knowledge and application of mechanical ventilation and therapeutics
  • Develop an understanding of the knowledge and application of cardiopulmonary diagnosis and monitoring
  • Develop an understanding of the knowledge and application of cardiopulmonary pharmacology and pathophysiology
  • Manage respiratory care plans for adult, neonatal, and pediatric patients
  • Apply critical thinking and information technology as the foundations for clinical decision making and patient care
  • Collaborate with the patient, significant others, and members of health care team
  • Practice within legal, ethical, professional, and regulatory standards of respiratory care practice

Popular Career Paths

Neonatology: Includes treating and monitoring newborns for breathing disorders in a hospital setting. Many respiratory care professionals who work with infants have the Neonatal-Pediatric Specialist credential in addition to the CRT and/or RRT credentials.

Critical Care: Involves working in intensive care units of hospitals providing care to the most severely ill patients. Most respiratory care professionals who work in the ICU have earned the advanced level RRT credential.

Education: Involves educating future respiratory care professionals as well as current practitioners within community colleges and universities as well as respiratory therapy departments as continuing education coordinators. Most respiratory care educators have earned the advanced level RRT credential as well as advanced degrees in education.

Management: Includes staffing and budget coordination, policy development, and implementation of directives from hospital administration.  Respiratory care managers typically have many years of experience as a respiratory therapist as well as the advanced level RRT credential.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Involves helping patients with chronic lung diseases like asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis manage their condition through education, treatment and exercise.  Most respiratory care professionals who work in pulmonary rehabilitation hold the CRT and/or RRT credentials.  Many also have earned the Asthma Educator-Certified credential (AE-C).

Jobs to Consider

Case Manager

Clinical Education Coordinator

Continuing Education Coordinator

Director of Cardio-Pulmonary Services

Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Therapist

Product/Marketing Specialist

Pulmonary Function Technologist

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Therapist

Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory Therapy Department Director

Sleep Technologist

Transport Respiratory Therapist

Places to Seek Employment

Air Transport and Ambulance Teams

Asthma Education Programs

Diagnostic and Research Laboratories

Emergency Rooms

Equipment Manufacturers

Home Health Care Agencies


Intensive Care Units

Long Term Care Facilities

Neonatal and Pediatric Units

Nursing Homes

Operating Rooms

Physician's Offices


Private Corporations

Pulmonary Function Laboratories

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centers

Sleep Laboratories

Smoking Cessation Programs



View specific employers by state.

Employment Strategies

Job and Internship Search Resources

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  • American Medical Association's Career Directory - explore respiratory therapy and other health care careers through this great career directory
  • Explore Health - comprehensive career overview of a respiratory therapist
  • Careers in Respiratory Care - detailed career information from the KU Respiratory Care program
  • National Board for Respiratory Care - respiratory therapy certification information
    1. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
    2. Register for and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
    3. The Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential is required to obtain state licenses and practice as respiratory therapists. This is obtained by passing the National Board for Respiratory Care certification examination. Upon graduation from an accredited program, CRTs are also eligible to sit for the two-part advanced practitioner registration examination and achieve the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. Other credentialing specialty examinations such as neonatal/pediatric specialty and registered pulmonary function technician are also available.
    4. Consider joining a professional association related to Respiratory Care, such as the Kansas Respiratory Care Society or the American Association for Respiratory Care, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field of interest.
    5. Consider getting involved with a student organization at KUMC related to your area of interest, such as: Infectious Disease Interest Group, Food for Thought, Students Educating and Advocating for Diversity, and Whole Health and Alternative Medicine.
    6. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals.
    7. Hiring managers in respiratory care look for individuals who possess a positive attitude, enthusiasm for the profession, strong work ethic, effective interpersonal communication skills, a desire for lifelong learning, and the ability to work as part of a team (in addition to the appropriate credentials for their specialty area).

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