When someone is struggling to breathe, taking steps to ease that struggle is the job of the respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists provide care to patients who are experiencing difficulty breathing due to chronic respiratory diseases, heart attacks, or shock from some kind of trauma. They also may work with infants, especially premature infants whose lungs haven’t fully developed.

Carlow University is devoted to the future of healing. And with respiratory therapists in high demand, that’s why we offer programs that can get students working in the field quicker. The associate degree program is a gateway to a healthcare career, and students can be working in the field within two years. The three-year accelerated bachelor’s degree program is for people seeking to be leaders in the respiratory care field. Both degrees can be pathways to advanced degrees.

  • Associate of Science Degree
  • 3-Year Accelerated Bachelor of Science
Credits Required:
  • AS – 69 credits
  • BS – 120 credits



In person

The core curriculum for respiratory therapy is comprised of:
• Equipment I & II
• Patient Management
• Pharmacology
• Pathophysiology
• Mechanical Ventilation I & II
• Neonatal and Pediatrics

The bachelor’s degree program includes additional courses in:
• Research
• Leadership & Management
• Respiratory Care Education.

There are also four clinical practicums, totaling 840 hours in general floor, ICU, and specialty rotations through the pulmonary function lab, the sleep lab, hyperbaric oxygen, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, and neonatal and pediatrics.

  • Respiratory therapists can work in hospital emergency departments, ICUs, or general floors.
  • They can care for patients in any age range – from newborns and children through elderly adults.
  • They may work in such varied areas as ambulance and air transport, physician offices, or home care.
  • Respiratory therapist is ranked #6 in best healthcare jobs.
  • Changes in the roles and responsibilities of respiratory therapists are on the horizon, and pursuing an advanced degree is encouraged.

Career Opportunities for Respiratory Therapy

Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 13 percent through 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

There are more than 800 RT job openings in Pennsylvania and more than 130 RT job openings in the local Pittsburgh area (https://www.indeed.com/respiratory+therapist). Many offer sign-on bonuses, shift differential, and tuition remission. The median RT income is $77,960 per year. (Respiratory Therapists: Occupational Outlook Handbook:: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)). Not only are the opportunities for RTs in the hospital setting multiple and varied, but there is job security, a sustainable living wage, and the opportunity to pursue growth within the healthcare industry.

Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy program:

Carlow University is currently in the process of seeking CoARC accreditation for an Associate of Science degree respiratory care program. However, Carlow University can provide no assurance that accreditation will be granted by the CoARC.

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy program:

The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care program, CoARC program number 200617, BS degree, Pittsburgh, PA, holds Provisional Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). This status signifies that a program with an Approval of Intent has demonstrated sufficient compliance with the Standards (through submission of an acceptable Provisional Accreditation Self Study Report (PSSR) and any other documentation required by the CoARC, as well as satisfactory completion of an initial on-site visit), to be allowed to admit students. It is recognized as an accredited program by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), which provides enrolled students who complete the program with eligibility for the Respiratory Care Credentialing Examination(s). The program will remain on Provisional Accreditation until it achieves Continuing Accreditation.

Visit CoARC website

CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.

View CoARC outcomes

Program goal for the AS program:

To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists.

Program goals for the BS program:

1. To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists.

2. To prepare leaders for the field of respiratory care by including curricular content with objectives related to the acquisition of skills in management, education, research, and evidence-based practice.

Submit an application for admission. It is free to apply.

Request that official transcripts from all current and previous institutions you’ve attended are sent directly to the Carlow University Office of Admissions.

First-time, first-year undergraduate student:

  • GPA only: minimum 3.00 cumulative high school GPA
  • GPA & test scores: minimum 2.5 cumulative high school GPA with one of the following:
    • SAT score of 920 or higher
    • ACT of 17 or higher
    • CLT of 57 or higher

Transfer student

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative college GPA

Any time

Start Terms:

Fall Only

Visit admissions @carlow.edu or call 412.578.6059 if you would like to learn more about the program by scheduling an on-campus visit or attending an upcoming event.

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