Focused on helping those who suffer from prolonged diseases, respiratory therapists are in high demand in today’s job market. The American Labor Statistics Bureau forecasts that this profession will grow by 14% between 2021 to 2031.
A respiratory therapist cares for patients experiencing breathing issues because of chronic conditions like asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, lung, cancer, and more. They often work alongside physicians and nurses to create treatment plans that can help restore the patients’ natural breathing function and provide adult critical care in some cases.
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A Master’s in Respiratory Therapy online is ideal for working professionals who wish to pursue advanced respiratory therapy education to boost their career prospects without putting their budding career in the backseat. Online respiratory therapy programs help graduates grow in their chosen profession and take on roles as educators and leaders.
Many universities and colleges in the country offer respiratory therapy programs to help students pursue one of the most rewarding health professions. For those who want to achieve leadership roles in the field of respiratory therapy, a master’s degree is the way to go!
If you’re on the hunt for the most outstanding online Respiratory Therapy master’s program, we’ve got you! Each of our top picks stands out with these features:
- Offered as a web-based or hybrid program, in which students meet rigorous Master’s in Respiratory Therapy coursework featuring research-focused topics depending on the specializations,
- Uses a Learning Management System that impresses with features that enable adult learners to easily access their master’s program coursework, attend online classes, and communicate with their professors and fellow graduate students,
- Respiratory Therapy specialists as professors and mentors, particularly those who are terminal degree holders and contributors to the field,
- Earned proper accreditation from academic organizations that establish the standards of teaching in this discipline and educational degree level,
- Esteemed by an American association or an international group that promotes the Respiratory Therapy field and its professionals,
- Constantly gets quality reviews and feedback from students, alumni, and the industry.
Please check out how our ranking process works by visiting our Methodology page.
Top 10 Online Master’s in Respiratory Therapy
Georgia State University
Master of Science in Health Science with Respiratory Care concentration
Georgia State University is one of the higher learning institutions in the country that offers online programs. The MS in Health Science degree with a concentration in Respiratory Care program prepares students to get their credentials as registered respiratory therapists. This online program does not require campus visits, allowing graduates to complete the degree 100% online.
Students can learn from the best as the online program boasts international and nationally recognized faculty. They will need to complete a minimum of 126 semester hours to earn the Master’s in Respiratory Therapy program. Some of the online courses included in the curriculum for the respiratory care concentration are Advanced Mechanical Ventilation, Advanced Practice Monitoring, Special Problems in Respiratory Care, Critical Care Therapeutics, and Directed Readings, among others.
To be admitted into the program, prospective students must have a bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Therapy or Pulmonary Care. On top of this, they must apply with their GRE score, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and transcripts.
Youngstown State University
One program offered at Youngstown State University is the online MS in Respiratory Care. This online respiratory therapy program is specifically geared towards respiratory therapists aiming to enhance their credentials, expand their career options with clinical practice, and take on leadership roles. Students can build on their previously acquired skills, including clinical research, leadership development, technology applications, and grant writing.
The program requires the completion of 30 semester hours. This includes nine core courses and one directed elective. The curriculum includes Respiratory Care Research, Leadership Development in Respiratory Care, Interprofessional Education for Health Professions, Research Methods in Health and Human Services, Education and Accreditation in Respiratory Care, and many more to be completed online. Students can choose among six electives, including Health Care Reform and Epidemiology.
Students must have a current state license as a respiratory care practitioner to be eligible for admission. They must also show proof of the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) professional RRT credential.
Texas State University
Master of Science in Respiratory Care
Texas State University offers a Master of Science in Respiratory care online degree program combining respiratory care and specialty track courses. Students can choose among two concentrations: Leadership or Polysomnography. This program prepares respiratory therapists for leadership, research, administration, education, and polysomnography roles.
The degree focuses on providing extensive training in patient education and disease management along with guideline development, all of which are integral in diverse settings like hospitals, specialty clinics, and healthcare agencies.
Students who completed the program with the polysomnography concentration are encouraged to take the Sleep Disorder Specialist subspecialty credential exam administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care.
Loma Linda University
Master of Science in Respiratory Care
The MS in Respiratory Care at Loma Linda University is available online and on campus. It is ideal for older adults already working because of its customizable options. While most students earn this degree full-time, which can take one year to complete, part-time options are also available.
Students can advance their knowledge and skills in education, research, leadership, and clinical performance. Some courses covered in the curriculum include Bioethics and Society, Advanced Procedure in Cardiopulmonary Science, Cardiopulmonary Physiology Research Concepts in Respiratory Care Sciences, and Capstone Project in Respiratory Care.
The program is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges Senior College & University Commission.
University of Cincinnati
Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy
The University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree to prepare medical professionals to take on new roles as workplace leaders or educators.
The degree program contains a total of 30 credit hours and has coursework that is delivered completely online. The program’s curriculum has a choice of 3 concentration areas: Health Informatics, Health Care Administration, and Higher Education. Moreover, prospective students can also opt to transfer credits upon enrolment.
Graduates can achieve career advancement sooner with less than two years of completion. This degree program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Boise State University
Master of Science in Respiratory Care (MSRC)
Boise State University’s Master of Science in Respiratory Care is designed for active Registered Respiratory Therapists. The degree program contains 36 credit hours and is offered 100% online.
The program can be completed in two years after students complete a research-based capstone project. The program’s schedule follows a sequential arrangement, with one course offered every seven weeks.
The program’s curriculum is focused on educational leadership and provides students the option to take on new roles as clinical specialists, managers, practice and workplace leaders, managers, researchers, or educators. Boise State University’s MSRC degree program is accredited by the CoARC-Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Master of Science in Respiratory Care
UNC Charlotte’s Master of Science in Respiratory Care is a fully online degree that prepares practicing Respiratory Therapists to advance their careers and the profession through leadership and evidence-based practice.
The 30-credit hour degree program prepares graduates with skillsets they can bring as they take on new roles in clinical leadership, educational leadership, disease management, and scholarship and research areas.
Admission requires a bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Therapy or a related science/social science degree from a regionally-accredited college or university and a GPA of at least 3.0. Prospective students must also have RRT Credentials that the National Board of Respiratory Care offers and a current state license to practice.
University of Texas San Antonio
Master of Science in Respiratory Care
The University of Texas at San Antonio hosts a Master of Science in Respiratory Care program that is designed either for working Registered Respiratory Therapists who have earned a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy/respiratory care or working RRTs who have any bachelor’s degree and hold an RRT credential from an associate degree program that is accredited by CoARC.
The degree program provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and interpersonal and leadership skills that they can bring into their professional practice.
All courses are taught online, and students must be motivated and self-directed to handle the distance learning coursework. To earn their degree, students must complete a minimum of 33 credit hours and maintain a cumulative overall GPA of 3.0. The SACSCOC-Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited the university.
University of Missouri
Master of Health Science in Respiratory Care
The University of Missouri’s Master’s in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences – Respiratory Therapy emphasis is a program designed primarily for practicing clinicians. The 30 credit hours total of program coursework is delivered 100% online, and students to the program typically follow part-time study plans, letting them complete the program in two years. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this degree program.
The degree program has a pronounced interdisciplinary emphasis, with a curriculum that blends interprofessional and discipline-specific classes. This prepares students to take on leadership roles in interprofessional workplace environments.
Graduates can also take on educational roles, teaching courses that lead to entry into professional practice, or nonclinical roles in sales, marketing, and product/customer support.
Lorain County Community College
In partnership with Youngstown State University, Lorain County Community College offers an online Master of Respiratory Care designed for busy respiratory therapists. This will enable them to advance their clinical education and boost their credentials, allowing them to achieve leadership roles in various relevant settings.
For program admissions requirements, prospective students must submit their official transcripts, general test scores, three letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent to the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Some of the required courses in the program include Respiratory Care Seminar, Technology Applications in Health and Human Services, and Competency Assessment in Respiratory Care.
Lorain County Community College has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission through the Open Pathway.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Master’s in Respiratory Therapy program worth pursuing?
Advanced education, like a master’s in the respiratory program, is integral in providing students with a higher level of clinical understanding in the pulmonary field while equipping them with business and leadership skills integral to leaders.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average salary for respiratory therapists as of 2021 is $61,830 per year.
How long does it take to complete advanced online Respiratory Therapy programs?
This generally depends on whether one is enrolled full-time or part-time. Full-time students can take a minimum of two years to finish the program. However, only part-time students may need more time to earn the degree. Some online programs might have accelerated options for those who want to complete the program much more quickly.
What are the common admission requirements for a Master’s in Respiratory Therapy?
While the admission requirements vary from university to university, many Master’s in Respiratory Therapy online programs share the following requirements for admission in the upcoming semester:
- Bachelor’s in Respiratory Therapy or a related field
- NBRC (National Board for Respiratory Care) credentials to prove that prospective students are registered respiratory therapists
- Official transcript of records
- Minimum cumulative GPA (depends on the school)
- Personal statement
- Application fee
How much does a Master’s in Respiratory Therapy typically cost?
Given the variance between universities, a good starting point for getting a rough idea of cost is to take the per-credit-hour cost multiplied by the number of credit hours for the degree. Respiratory Therapy Master’s programs start at around $700 per credit hour, with some schools having higher out-of-state tuition rates and typically consisting of at least 30 credit hours. Taking other costs, prospective students can expect to pay at least $10,000 total for the degree.
Like other graduate degree programs, there is eligibility for federal financial aid.
Online Master’s Degrees in Respiratory Therapy are typically designed for someone currently working as a Registered Respiratory Therapist, and can offer them added career paths and roles, such as leadership positions, consultancy, or educational roles. Online Master’s Degrees in Respiratory Therapy degrees typically contain around 30 credit hours and can be finished in at least two years.
As is similar to other online graduate degree programs, Online Master’s in Respiratory Therapy degree programs bring the crucial advantage of flexible schedules and asynchronous coursework, which lets respiratory therapists continue to pursue an advanced degree without having to disrupt or pause their careers.