Best Online Respiratory Therapy Degrees 2022

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Top List of Online Respiratory Therapy Programs

Online respiratory therapy degrees prepare learners to work with patients in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Respiratory therapists treat problems with the lungs and breathing. They also help make patients with chronic illnesses comfortable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow 23% from 2020-2030.

This page lists the best online respiratory therapy degrees. Keep reading to learn the benefits of online learning and to view common courses in respiratory therapy programs.View Our Rankings List Here

Frequently Asked Questions About Respiratory Therapy

How long does it take to become a respiratory therapist?

Respiratory therapists only need an associate degree. Full-time learners can complete an associate program in two years.

What types of respiratory degrees are there?

Learners pursuing an online degree in respiratory therapy may specialize in areas such as home care or critical care.

Do respiratory therapists need a license to practice?

Yes. Every state besides Alaska requires licensure. Requirements vary by state.

Featured Online Respiratory Therapy Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a Degree in Respiratory Therapy?

Respiratory therapists positively impact patients’ lives. They comfort people with chronic illness and help others improve their breathing. Professionals can pursue this career with only an associate degree and a license.

Respiratory therapists earn an average annual salary of $58,240, according to Dec. 2021 Payscale data. Those with more than 20 years of experience earn an average of nearly $65,000.

Online respiratory therapy degrees provide convenience. Enrollees do not need to commute to campus or pay for meal plans. Online learners can often continue working while earning their degree.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapy Degree Cost?

Respiratory therapy online degree costs vary by school and program. Students attending in-state public schools pay the most affordable tuition. According to, in-state learners spend an average of $38,500 earning an online bachelor’s degree. Out-of-state students spend $54,180.

Online learners can attend the most affordable program without relocating. Scholarships and grants can help enrollees pay for their degree.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online students typically do not pay student activity or campus maintenance fees. However, they should budget for other expenses such as books and materials. Learners can save money by buying used or digital books. They can also sell their books once their courses end.

Some programs charge technology and graduation fees. Students pursuing online respiratory therapy degrees should also plan for exam and licensure costs. These fees vary by state.

How Much Do Respiratory Therapy Majors Make?

Salaries for respiratory therapists vary by professionals’ employer, location, and experience. Respiratory therapists in California earn an average annual salary of $87,190. Professionals in Ohio earn $59,840.

The top-paying employers for respiratory therapists include outpatient care centers and colleges and universities. Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals or nursing care facilities.

Courses in Respiratory Therapy

Students pursuing a respiratory therapy online degree learn how to create patient treatment plans and provide therapies. They also learn how to operate tools like ventilators and breathing machines. Enrollees study breathing disorders and the diagnosis process. Most programs allow learners to select a concentration.

See below for three common courses in online respiratory therapy programs. Keep in mind that courses vary by school.

  • Patient Evaluation and Diagnosis

    Learners study symptoms of common respiratory diseases and disorders. Coursework covers various treatment plans. Students examine how respiratory care differs in palliative care situations. Learners leave the course knowing how respiratory therapists work with doctors and other professionals.
  • Ethics in the Respiratory Therapist Profession

    Respiratory therapists must make difficult decisions to save lives. Enrollees identify the ethical implications of using tools like breathing machines. Coursework covers how to provide comfort to family members of patients nearing the end of their lives.
  • Clinical Rotations

    Aspiring respiratory therapists complete clinical rotations before graduating. These experiences fulfill licensure requirements. Learners gain hands-on experience in tasks like giving chest physiotherapy and aerosol medications. Online students complete rotations locally.

Featured Online Respiratory Therapy Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Aspiring respiratory therapists need a degree. Most states require an associate degree in the field. However, earning an advanced degree may lead to high-paying positions.

Degree-seekers complete required reading, exams, and essays. Online programs often include in-person components. Most states require a license to practice. Respiratory therapist licensure usually requires an exam and clinical rotation hours.

Practicing respiratory therapists must complete continuing education hours. Requirements vary by state.

Best Online Respiratory Therapy Degrees

  1. Oregon Institute of Technology

    Klamath Falls, OR




    The Oregon Institute of Technology, also known as Oregon Tech, is a public polytechnic university located in Klamath Falls, Oregon. They have 32 degree programs that focus on engineering, health sciences, and applied sciences. Oregon Tech encourages hands-on training inside and outside of the classroom to its 5,500 students.

    Program Features

    Oregon Tech offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Care. Students who already posses an RRT certification complete 107 credits of professional and general education courses. Professional courses from the program include:

    • Pharmacology
    • Disaster Preparedness
    • Mechanical Ventilation III
    • Advanced Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care

    General Education credits may be taken with Oregon Tech or transferred from another institution. These courses include introductory statistics, chemistry lab, and English composition.


    Students can be granted up to 80 credits for Registered Respiratory Therapist credential through the National Board for Respiratory Care. Students who have not received this certification must complete the requisite credits and courses before pursuing their professional and general education courses. Further credits may be awarded to students with additional registries/certifications.

  2. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    Charlotte, NC




    The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, also known as UNC Charlotte, is a public university located in Charlotte, North Carolina. They offer 140 bachelor’s, 64 master’s, and 23 doctoral degree programs. The school has three different campuses, including the Center City Campus and the main campus in University City. UNC Charlotte has almost 30,000 total students and 1,500 academic staff members.

    Program Features

    UNC Charlotte offers a Bachelor of Science degree program in respiratory therapy. It is a fully-online degree program, which requires 44 credits of study. Sample courses include:

    • Information Technology: Applications in Health Care
    • Role of Pharmacology in Disease Management
    • Health Outcomes and Quality Assessment
    • Evidence-Based Practice in Respiratory Care

    Before completing the program, students choose a clinical area of focus (clinical, administrative, or population-based), which is then used as the foundation for the student’s capstone course and project. Students complete research or a similar scholarly activity, and complete an oral and written presentation on the subject.


    Applicants to the program must hold an unencumbered license as a Registered Respiratory Therapist in North Carolina or the state in which they are currently employed. Students should also have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better from their associate degree program, and earn at least a C in all coursework during the semester prior to application.

  3. University of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati, OH




    The University of Cincinnati is a public university located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati is the second largest university in the state of Ohio. They have more than 44,000 students, including around 33,000 undergraduates. The school has around 6,600 academic staff members and an endowment of over $1.1 billion.

    Program Features

    UC offers a Bachelor of Science degree program in Respiratory Therapy, which is available fully online. It consists of 120 total credit-hours, and the program can be completed in as little as 20 months. Courses include core and advanced options such as:

    • Ethics of Respiratory Therapy
    • Healthcare Documentation and Communication
    • Caregiving in the Respiratory Therapy Professions
    • Disease Management/Patient Education

    The degree culminates with a six-credit capstone course, where students develop a proposal and complete a project or research paper based upon one of their areas of interest.


    Students are eligible to transfer up to 70 credits into the program. Available areas of interest for the capstone project include Disease Management, Leadership and Project Management, or Education and Research. Presentations are delivered to Respiratory Therapy managers/specialists or at a poster presentation at a research symposium.

  4. Nebraska Methodist College

    Omaha, NE




    Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health is a private university located in Omaha, Nebraska. NMC is an affiliate of Methodist Health System. They offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in nursing and allied health professions. They were founded in 1891, and now have around 640 undergraduate students and 65 graduate students.

    Program Features

    Nebraska Methodist College offers a bachelor’s degree for respiratory therapists. Students must complete a minimum of 124 credit-hours of study, including core and major specific courses. Respiratory Care courses include:

    • Educational Strategies for the Asthma Patient
    • Case Management and the Respiratory Practitioner
    • Wellness Coaching for the Healthcare Professional
    • Wellness Assessment & Design in Healthcare

    The final course in the progression of study is the capstone course. Students are required to complete a significant project that demonstrates understanding of key elements related to health education, health promotion, advocacy, and administration.


    An example capstone project could be designing and implementing a needs assessment plan with program design recommendations. Nebraska has a rolling admissions policy, with start dates available in January, May, and August. Applicants should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and non-Nebraska residents must meet state authorization criteria.

  5. Siena Heights University

    Adrian, MI




    Siena Heights University is a private university located in Adrian, Michigan. It is a Roman Catholic university affiliated with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. It was originally named St. Joseph’s College, before eventually becoming SHU in 1998. They have around 80 full-time academic staff members and a total student population of around 2,500, most of whom are undergraduates.

    Program Features

    Sienna Heights offers a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Respiratory Therapy, designed for professionals with allied health training. The degree can be completed in as few as 2 year, with classes lasting 8 weeks each, available online. The school offers several options for transferring up to 90 credits:

    • Other college study
    • College equivalent military
    • Corporate or Professional training
    • CLEP tests


    Instead of completing respiratory therapy courses, students complete the degree through an “inverted major” format. Students will have completed their respiratory care training outside of Sienna Heights and will receive no additional such training at Sienna. Instead, they will complete their remaining coursework in English compositions, social science, and math or science with lab hours.

Featured Online Respiratory Therapy Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

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