A movement is underway to raise the level of education needed for certified respiratory therapists. While it’s still possible to enter the field with an associate degree, many employers prefer those with a bachelor’s degree.

For respiratory therapists with an associate degree, an accelerated respiratory therapist program offers the chance to quickly complete a bachelor’s degree. And with the Marian University Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree completion program, students can earn their degrees 100% online from wherever they live, whether in Wisconsin or another state.

Students benefit from Marian University’s generous credit transfer policy, tuition discounts, and a high-quality online respiratory therapy program.

“The BS in Respiratory Therapy is designed to help working RT professionals further build their skills and boost their careers,” said Richard Born, the Respiratory Therapy Completion Program Director at Marian University. “RTs are some of the most in-demand professionals in healthcare, and earning a bachelor’s degree positions graduates to work in the best jobs in the field.”

The Importance of a Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy

For much of the past decade, respiratory therapist professionals have advocated that professionals working in the field attain a bachelor’s degree. Advocates for this change include the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), which in 2015 issued a goal of half of all RTs either earning or working on a bachelor’s degree by 2020.

AARC officials stated that the goal is to raise the level of minimum competency in the profession, improve the quality of care, increase RT salaries and allow them to take on more complex roles in healthcare organizations.

As demand increases in the profession, more employers may require RTs to have a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects a 23 percent increase in RTs by 2030, much faster growth than the 8 percent projected for all professions.

Generous Respiratory Therapy Transfer Credit Policy

RT professionals with an associate degree can benefit from completing a degree at Marian University. One of the most significant benefits is the university’s generous credit transfer policy that allows students to save tuition costs and finish the program faster by not having to repeat courses they’ve already taken.

An online respiratory therapy program requires 120 credit hours. Some of the ways Marian University helps students quickly reach that goal include:

  • Awarding applicants 14 credits for clinical courses taken during their associate program.
  • Awarding applicants 29 credits for core courses taken during their associate degree program.
  • Evaluating transcripts for transfer credit of general education courses such as history, math, and English.
  • Allowing respiratory therapy associate degree graduates from Wisconsin Technical Colleges to transfer in up to 69 credits from their associate-level core and clinical courses. The typical Wisconsin Technical College graduate needs only about 51 credit hours to complete a respiratory therapist degree program.

Marian University evaluates transcripts from applicants outside of Wisconsin on a case-by-case basis.

Other Benefits of the Marian University Respiratory Therapist Program

The Marian University BS in Respiratory Therapy is open to anyone who has earned an AS degree in respiratory therapy from an accredited institution and a license. RTs can complete the program in as little as 18 months.

Marian University partners with various employers, schools, and associations to provide tuition discounts. In the case of the respiratory therapist program, students from healthcare systems SSM Health and ThedaCare receive discounts, as do Wisconsin Technical College graduates.

RTs in the program advance their communication, research, and leadership skills in healthcare through courses in areas like research methods and healthcare administration and management. They also participate in a three-credit Allied Health Capstone that involves solving professional problems using evidence-based solutions.

Earning a bachelor’s degree through an accelerated respiratory therapist program prepares graduates for the best jobs in the RT profession. And for those who choose Marian University, the combination of tuition discounts and transfer credits can reduce the cost and help RTs earn their bachelor’s degrees faster.