Respiratory Care Degree Program
The Bachelor of Science in Health Professions Respiratory Care Track delivers upper-division curriculum designed to prepare students to become respiratory care practitioners with advanced-level clinical skills.
The mission of the track is to:
- Prepare students to become respiratory care practitioners with advanced-level clinical skills
- Provide professional courses and clinical experiences to support professional development
- Prepare students to serve as consultants to physicians and other medical staff
- Offer students options for specialized clinical study including:
- Adult critical care and patient transport
- Newborn and pediatric critical care
- Cardiopulmonary diagnostics-pulmonary function testing
- Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, disease prevention, case management in asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), as well as smoking cessation and lung health counseling
Careers & Salary
Respiratory care is a professionally and personally rewarding career with a balanced blend of technology and patient interaction. In this allied health specialty, respiratory therapists, also known as respiratory care practitioners, help assess cardiopulmonary systems to treat and monitor heart and lung problems.
The care provided by respiratory therapists may include administration of oxygen, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, management of mechanical ventilators, administering medications to the lungs, monitor cardiopulmonary systems, and measuring lung function. Patients range from premature infants needing rescue breathing to seniors who require pulmonary rehabilitation to live with chronic lung disorders.
Respiratory care practitioners are important members of the health care team. They work under the medical direction of doctors with expertise in pulmonary medicine, critical care, pediatrics, neonatology and rehabilitation. Respiratory care practitioners assume significant responsibility for patient care, working closely with nurses, physical therapists, radiographers, and social workers.
Employment opportunities are primarily in hospitals and medical centers, yet also include clinics, rehabilitation centers, and the delivery of home respiratory care. Professional advancement beyond the staff practitioner level includes roles in critical care transport, education, management, rehabilitation, case management, critical care, diagnostic lab, biomedical industries, and sleep medicine.
Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Department of Labor. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other disorders that can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function.
On average, respiratory therapists earn an annual salary of $65,070/yr in Minnesota (data as of 2015 from Bureau of Labor Statistics).