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Working as a respiratory therapist you'll have the critical skills to address breathing and other cardiopulmonary disorders. Your training will prepare you to care for patients ranging from premature infants to geriatric patients who are facing asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, cardiovascular disorders and trauma.


As a respiratory therapist in the hospital setting, you'll provide care and life support to patients in the emergency room, intensive care units, general hospital areas, the pulmonary diagnostics laboratory, disease and sleep disorder settings and rehabilitation.

Respiratory Therapy Degree Specializations

  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • neonatology
  • adult critical care
  • management
  • education
  • sleep disorders
  • cardiopulmonary diagnostics
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy

The employment outlook for respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 21 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Check out your possible career prospects within the respiratory care profession.

Degree Options at KU

Our respiratory care program offers you different options to complete your degree, depending on your situation and schedule:

  • Respiratory Care Bachelor's Degree — Prepare for a career in the fast-growing field of respiratory therapy with a degree from KU. 
  • Respiratory Care Dual Degree — Students enrolled in a community college associate degree respiratory therapy program can simultaneously take up to three classes in KU's respiratory care program. 
  • Respiratory Therapy Degree Advancement — Registered respiratory therapists can complete a bachelor's degree in respiratory care online at KU. 
  • Respiratory Care METC — Through a partnership with the Medical Education Training Center at Fort Sam Houston, KU offers a way to seamlessly shift into the respiratory care online degree completion program. 

Our Mission

The Department of Respiratory Care and Diagnostic Science strives to prepare students who achieve excellence as respiratory therapists, educators, researchers and leaders while integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is achieved through a collaborative, innovative, and evidence-based approach that promotes lifelong habits of research, continuing education and professional growth.

Our Vision

Graduate well-rounded, critical-thinking respiratory care providers who will become leaders in clinical practice, education and research in order to meet the growing health care needs of communities, make a positive impact on the lives of patients, and advance the profession.

Our Values

  • Student focused.
  • Foster leadership and scientific curiosity.
  • Innovative educational endeavors.
  • Community and professional engagement.
  • Excellent national reputation.
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Learn more!

Speak with current students and faculty of this program! The School of Health Professions is hosting a virtual open house on Tuesday, March 5, starting at 6:30 p.m. central time.

Lambda Beta Society – KU Chapter

Lambda Beta Society logoThe University of Kansas is a member of the Lambda Beta Society. Students in our program have the opportunity to be nominated for membership if their GPA ranks in the top 25 percent of their class.

This national honor society for respiratory therapists also offers scholarships to respiratory care students, recognizes students in its permanent "Roll of Excellence," and provides honor cords for graduation, in addition to other benefits. Learn more at

KU School of Health Professions

University of Kansas Medical Center
Respiratory Care and Diagnostic Science
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 1013
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-4630 • 711 TTY