Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Respiratory Therapy Program

How much money do respiratory therapists make?

According to the most updated 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Median salary = $60,280.

What do respiratory therapists do?

RTs have many responsibilities which include:

  • Assessment of patient’s overall respiratory condition – lung and breathing disorders, recommending treatment modalities
  • Interviewing patients and performing general chest physical exam to determine indicated therapies and make applicable recommendations
  • Consulting with physicians to recommend and/or alter therapies based on patient evaluation
  • Acquiring and analyzing blood specimen to determine oxygen levels and other pertinent values
  • Managing mechanical ventilators and other devices for patients with respiratory distress and failure
  • Responding to emergencies that involve cardiac or respiratory arrest – assisting with “code blue” and rapid response protocol
  • Educating patients and family members about lung disease and treatment modalities, as applicable

Where Do Respiratory Therapists Work?

RTs can work in many environments and institutions to include acute care environments (hospitals, long-term care facilities, intensive care units), outpatient and rehabilitation centers, and sleep diagnostic centers. RTs care for patients with many different cardiorespiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, and pulmonary fibrosis just to name a few.

Do respiratory therapists find employment easily?

Typically, yes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These respiratory disorders can permanently damage the lungs or diminish lung function. Our most recent 3-year RT Clinical Program graduate job placement rate = 96.7%.

What will I have when I graduate from the Respiratory Therapy program?

Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy degree; You will also be eligible to take the Therapist Multiple Choice Exam and Clinical Simulations Exam, both issued by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). The passing of both of these exams will allow you to become a credentialed Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). Any graduate with credentials as a RT by the NBRC can apply for a license to any of the 50 States.

How long does it take to finish the Respiratory Therapy program?

Once accepted into the RT Clinical Program, the 4 semesters lasts about 14 months.

Does the Respiratory Therapy program qualify for financial aid?


What should I do first if I am interested in enrolling in the Respiratory Therapy program?

Obtain a copy of your transcript (official or unofficial) and provide it to either Prof. Reed ( or Dr. Gilmore ( for review. They will advise you regarding classes you need to apply to the RT program. These transcripts will only be used for the purpose of advising and will not replace the requirement for official transcripts to be sent to BPCC’s Admissions Office. You will also need to complete an application to BPCC, if you are not already a BPCC student, and obtain an application packet to the Respiratory Therapy Program. The completed application packet must be received no later than April 15 of the application year to be considered for the program. Admission into the RT Clinical Program is selective, based primarily upon cumulative and prerequisite GPA and interview scoring.