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KU Respiratory Care

A key part of health care.
Respiratory therapists, also known as respiratory care practitioners, address breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. These essential healthcare workers evaluate and treat all types of patients, ranging from premature infants with underdeveloped lungs to elderly people suffering from disease. They may provide care for chronic conditions such as asthma or emphysema and also work in emergency care to assist victims of stroke, drowning, shock and other situations.

These professionals are increasingly in demand and an important part of the healthcare team. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, faster-than-average employment growth is projected for respiratory therapists. Job opportunities should be very good, especially for respiratory therapists with cardiopulmonary care skills or experience working with infants. A professional license is required to provide clinical services in this field.

Fast Facts:

Employment for respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 19 percent this decade – faster than the average for all occupations.

As demand for RTs goes up, so do salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for respiratory therapists is $55,870 per year!

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Academic Programs
The best route to an advanced career in respiratory therapy with highest salary potential is through a Bachelor of Science degree. KU offers two programs:

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care

This degree program is for students who have completed two years of prerequisite course work. Most students enter after completion of his or her sophomore year of undergraduate study or after two years at a community college. With an advanced curriculum and located at an academic medical center, students receive extensive experience in advanced respiratory therapy techniques. All classes are held at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. Learn more

Bachelor's Degree-completion Program

For working professionals with the RRT credential and associate degree, KU also offers a flexible online program to provide the opportunity to acquire a Bachelor of Science degree. Students in this program usually enter the curriculum the senior year and all are considered Kansas residents for the purpose of tuition. Please note: this program is available only to students with professional experience as a respiratory therapist and the RRT credential. Learn more

Accreditation Statement
The University of Kansas Respiratory Care program at KU Medical Center is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (, 1248 Harwood Road, Bedford, Texas 76021-4244; (817) 283-2835. Documents relating to accreditation status are available at the department office by request. Information for students.

Outcomes data from the 2011 Annual Report of Current Status has been posted on the CoARC website. Follow this link directly to the Programmatic Outcomes Data page:

The mission of the KU Department of Respiratory Care Education is to educate students to become leaders in clinical practice, teaching, and research in order to make a positive impact on the advancement of the profession. The department strives to achieve this goal through excellence in the following areas:

  • Providing the highest quality education possible in respiratory therapy,

  • Mentoring students during experiences on faculty research projects, and

  • Remaining active in community outreach efforts and serving in leadership positions with national professional organizations.
Last modified: Sep 24, 2014

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Scholarships are available for seniors in the respiratory care program. Applications are due by Aug. 1. Please contact the department for details.

Continuing Education
Signup for Respiratory Care Web Education, approved for 4 AARC CRCE. Questions? Contact Bethene Gregg

Advising and campus visits are available Monday-Friday by appointment. Please email for information.

For advising on the KU Lawrence campus, please see the KU Undergraduate Advising Center at 785-864-2834, TTY 711, or visit Strong Hall Room 132.