How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Respiratory Therapist?

Are you looking to pursue a career as a respiratory therapist?

You’ve made a smart career choice.

As a respiratory therapist, you’ll have the opportunity to help patients who have trouble breathing because they have a respiratory condition, as well as providing emergency care to patients who’re in critical health states. You’re also joining a career with an impressive outlook (21% growth through the next decade), so you can expect to find a job as soon as you qualify.

Speaking of qualifications, how long does it take to become a respiratory therapist?

We have the answer you’re looking for. Continue reading for more information.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Respiratory Therapist?

The short answer is between 2 and 4 years.

The amount of time you will take to become a respiratory therapist primarily depends on the course you choose to pursue. Here’s how your course matters.

An Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy

The vast majority of aspiring respiratory therapists get started with an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. These courses are typically offered in community colleges, and take two years to complete.

An associate’s program that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory care will offer courses in areas such as human anatomy, pharmacology, and microbiology. By the time you complete the program, you’ll be well-qualified to get hired.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy

Although an associate’s degree will give you adequate training for a career as a respiratory therapist, a bachelor’s degree will give you the best preparation. In addition to classroom and laboratory instruction, a bachelor’s program requires students to complete a clinical internship.

A bachelor’s degree will improve your chances of securing the best-paying jobs in the market. Top healthcare facilities also prefer job seekers with a bachelor’s degree.

You’ll spend at least four years in college pursuing a bachelor of science degree in respiratory therapy, but you’ll reap the rewards soon after graduating.

The Effect of Your State’s Licensing Requirements 

The vast majority of states require respiratory therapists to obtain an occupational license before joining the practice. In fact, only Alaska doesn’t have a licensure requirement.

As such, if you have to secure a respiratory therapist license, don’t expect to get hired with just your college degree. You’ll spend a couple more months securing the license you need to start practicing. Licensure typically involves completing a state-administered exam.

For those in Alaska, however, you’re free to start hunting for a job as soon as you graduate.

Pursue Your Dream to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Now that you have the answer to “how long does it take to become a respiratory therapist” what’s stopping from pursuing your dream? All you need to do is take a 2-year associate’s degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree, and get a license if your state requires it.

All the best and keep tabs on our blog for more career information.

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