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The Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Care prepares practitioners who evaluate, treat, and care for people with breathing and other cardiopulmonary disorders. Important members of the health care team, respiratory therapists work with all types of patients, ranging from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people whose lungs are diseased.

Respiratory therapists provide complex therapies that require considerable independent judgment and the use of sophisticated medical equipment. They also have a major role in educating patients and families about lung disease so recovery can be maximized.

The Curriculum

This 120-credit program of study consists of two phases of study.

  • Phase one includes 61 credits in the preclinical courses of chemistry, biology, physics, and math, plus the Liberal Studies requirements completed at the IUP main campus. Students are expected to earn a minimum grade point average of at least 2.25 in math and science courses and a minimum overall 2.0 grade point average to secure a seat at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Respiratory Care. C or higher grades in BIOL 150 Human Anatomy, BIOL 151 Human Physiology, and the math course will help students succeed in respiratory care courses. IUP does not guarantee admission to the clinical phase of the program.
  • Phase two includes 59 credits completed at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital (WPH) School of Respiratory Care, Pittsburgh. Students gain clinical experiences at hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health care agencies. In addition to the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, students have clinical experience at several Pittsburgh hospitals of superior quality such as Allegheny General Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and WPH Forbes Regional Campus.

A curriculum track is available for those who are already certified respiratory therapists (CRT) and interested in earning a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree facilitates career advancement.

The Bachelor of Science degree program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania/Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Respiratory Care is located in Indiana, Pa., and Pittsburgh, Pa., and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
1248 Harwood Road
Bedford, TX 76021-4244
(817) 283-2835

View current program outcomes.

Freshman Year
Course Name Credits Course Name Credits
BIOL 105 Cell Biology 3 CHEM 102 College Chemistry II 4
CHEM 101 College Chemistry I 4 HIST 196/197/198 3
ENGL 101 Composition I 3 *MATH 105 (or Higher) College Algebra 3
Health and Wellness Requirement 3 BIOL 150 Human Anatomy 3
  13

Fine Arts:Introduction to Art/Music/Theater/Dance

3
    RESP 101 Profession of Respiratory Care 1
      17
Sophomore Year
Course Name Credits Course Name Credits
ENGL 202 Composition II 3 BIOL 241 Microbiology 3
BIOL 151 Human Physiology 4 PHYS 151 Medical Physics Lecture 3
SOC 151 Principles of Sociology 3 ENGL 121 Humanities Literature 3
PSYC 101 General Psychology 3 Global and Multicultural Awareness 3
Philosophy/Religious Studies Requirement 3 Free Elective 4
  16   16
Junior Year
Course Name Credits Course Name Credits
RESP 326 Respiratory Care Clinical Practice I 3 RESP 327 Pharmacology 3
RESP 328 Introduction to Respiratory Care 4 RESP 333 Respiratory Care Clinical Practice II 3
RESP 329 Respiratory Care Equipment 4 RESP 334 Respiratory Care Instrumentation And Application 4
RESP 330 Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation 2 RESP 336 Cardiopulmonary Evaluation and Clinical Correlation 4
RESP 335 Patient Care Skills 3 RESP 337 Introduction to Pulmonary Function Studies 1
  16   15
Senior Year
Course Name Credits Course Name Credits
RESP 425 Clincial Case Studies 3 RESP 429 Design and Function of Respiratory Care Program 2
RESP 426 Respiratory Care Clinical Practice III 4 RESP 430 Pulmonary Function Studies 3
RESP 428 Essentials of Electrocardiography 2 RESP 433 Respiratory Care Clinical Practice IV 4
RESP 431 Pediatric Respiratory Care 1 RESP 436 Respiratory Care Teaching 2
RESP 434 Neonatal Respiratory Care 3 RESP 437 Methods of Critical Care 2
  13 RESP 438 Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation 1
      14

* Students may opt to complete a math course with a higher course number than 105 to fulfill the math requirement.

RESP 300- and 400-level courses are taught at the School of Respiratory Care, the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa.

RESP 342 Preceptorship in Respiratory Care (1 cr) provides students with an opportunity to gain additional clinical experiences in a supervised health care setting. This course may be repeated for a maximum of five credits.

A minimum of 40 hours is required for each credit.

Synthesis course: not required
Writing Intensive Course: not required

Graduates of the respiratory care program are:

  • Eligible to sit for the national certification examinations offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care and be awarded the Certified Respiratory Therapist credential and the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential.
  • Prepared for graduate degrees that may lead to careers in administration, education, and other health care fields.

For more information, see the undergraduate catalog.

Career Information

Much faster-than-average employment growth is projected for respiratory therapists, and job opportunities are expected to be very good. The increasing demand will come from substantial growth in the aging population and the expanding role of respiratory therapists in case management, disease prevention, emergency care, and the early detection of pulmonary disorders. IUP’s respiratory care majors are typically 100 percent employed at graduation. Within three years after graduation, many of the graduates have advanced to supervisory positions. New graduates often begin their careers in hospitals, but positions are also available in extended care facilities, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, physicians' offices, sleep laboratories, and companies providing home care services. Median annual earnings of respiratory care therapists were $54,280 in 2010.

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