Respiratory Care


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

Places to Seek Employment

  • Air Transport and Ambulance Teams
  • Asthma Education Programs
  • Diagnostic and Research Laboratories
  • Emergency Rooms
  • Equipment Manufacturers
  • Home Health Care Agencies
  • Hospitals
  • 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
  • Universities/Colleges

Job and Internship Search Resources


Career Exploration Hub

Employment Strategies

  1. Identify areas of interest related to your major so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields. 
     
  2. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent studies, internshipspart-time jobsstudent organization involvement, or volunteering
     
  3. Register for Hire Jayhawks and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information. 
     
  4. Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field. 
     
  5. Practice interviewing on your own or by conducting a mock interview at the University Career Center. 
     
  6. Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest.
     
  7. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals. 
     
  8. Complete an independent study to gain advanced research skills. 
     
  9. Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school. 
     
  10. Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest.