In order to get a job as a respiratory therapist, you must graduate from one of the respiratory therapist schools that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). There are a total of 355 schools with respiratory therapist programs that have been accredited, including 35 entry level associates degree programs. The other 320 accredited programs are for Bachelors or Masters degree programs, which are usually required for advancement. For a complete listing of the accredited programs, check out the CAAHEP website which is always kept updated.
The respiratory therapist schools that have entry level programs are Black River Technical College and Southeast Arkansas College in Arkansas; California College San Diego, ConCorde Career College (North Hollywood and San Bernadino locations), Crafton Hills College, Simi Valley Adult School and Career Institute in California; Miami Dade College in Florida; St. Augustine College in Illinois; Kansas City Kansas Community College in Kansas; Somerset Community College in Kentucky; Bossier Parish Community College, Louisiana State University in Eunice, Louisiana Technical College, Nicholls State University, Our Lady of Holy Cross, and Our Lady of the Lake College in Louisiana; Monroe County Community College in Michigan; ConCorde Career College, Missouri Southern State University, and Sanford Brown College in Missouri; Great Plains Technology Center in Oklahoma; Gwynedd-Mercy College, Harrisburg Area Community College, and York College of Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania; ConCorde Career College and Walters State Community College in Tennessee; University of Texas Brownsville, US Army Medical Dept Center and School, and USAF School of Health Care Sciences in Texas; Weber State University in Utah; and Sargeant Reynolds Community College and Southwestern Virginia Community College in Virginia.
For those who are interested in respiratory therapist programs that have online or distance option, there is only one program accredited, and that is at the California College for Health Sciences-Independence University in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In order to prepare to attend one of these respiratory therapist programs, you should study math, chemistry, physics, health, and biology in high school. These will help to prepare you for the coursework you will need to do once you are accepted at one of the colleges with respiratory therapist degrees.
Once you have determined which of the respiratory therapist schools you wish to attend (and applied and been accepted), you will study such subjects as the application of clinical practice guidelines, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, chemistry, CPR, equipment, human anatomy and physiology, math, microbiology, pathophysiology, patient assessment, patient care outside of hospitals, pharmacology, physics, respiratory health promotion and disease prevention, therapeutic and diagnostic procedures and tests, and medical recordkeeping and reimbursement. Louis Zhang, Certrespiratorytherapist dot com