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Breathe Life into a Successful Career in Respiratory Care

You probably don't think about breathing very often—it just happens. But for some people, breathing is difficult, and they need help. Respiratory therapists help all kinds of people, from infants to the elderly. In IUP's Respiratory Care BS program, you'll gain the clinical knowledge and skills needed to significantly improve someone's minute-to-minute quality of life.

As a respiratory therapist, you'll help people to recover from heart and lung disorders. You'll help them breathe more easily.

Why Major in Respiratory Care at IUP?

Respiratory care offers interesting work, opportunities for growth, and generous salaries. When you enroll in the Respiratory Care BS you'll be part of a program that's proven successful in helping students prepare for rewarding, challenging health care careers.

You'll get personalized feedback and support from your professors. Class sizes are kept small in respiratory care major courses, and faculty will attend your clinical site education with you.

When you finish your degree, you'll graduate as a registered respiratory care practitioner, ready to enter the medical world and serve patients and the community.

Imagine Your Future

When you graduate with a bachelor of science in respiratory care from IUP, your knowledge and skills will be in high demand. The need for respiratory therapists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2021 to 2031. This is much higher than the growth rate for other professions.

Most students who work as respiratory therapists work directly with patients. You could also switch your focus and become a manager, educator, or sales professional.

Respiratory Therapists in the Health Care Setting

As a respiratory care professional, you'll:

  • Evaluate, treat, and care for people with breathing problems.
  • Assist doctors in evaluating and treating heart and lung disorders.
  • Be an expert in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, managing artificial airways, and using medical gases—including oxygen—as part of patient therapy.

You'll find job opportunities in a wide range of settings, such as the following areasExplore more opportunities by visiting the American Association for Respiratory Care.

  • Asthma education programs
  • Clinics
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Educational programs
  • Emergency rooms
  • Extended care facilities
  • Home health services
  • Intensive care units
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • National and international medical device companies
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation units
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Sleep laboratories
  • Smoking cessation programs

Career Opportunities

Many graduates of IUP's bachelor of science in respiratory care program have become leaders in this industry across the country. In addition to careers in direct patient care, IUP alumni hold positions such as:

  • Hospital CEO
  • Hospital administrator
  • Health care executive director
  • Professor

Respiratory Therapist

Median salary per year, 2021


Growth rate from 2021 to 2031


Classes and Requirements

IUP's respiratory care program is designed to give you solid classroom and clinical education. You'll also study fundamentals of health care leadership and research.

IUP's respiratory care major requirements include:

  • Two academic years of preclinical studies at the Indiana Campus.
  • Two academic years of clinical studies at Pittsburgh East Campus in Wilkins Township, Pennsylvania, about an hour from Indiana.
  • Clinical experiences at a variety of locations in southwestern Pennsylvania.

During your freshman or sophomore year, you'll take the Profession of Respiratory Care class. This course will introduce you to the respiratory care profession, and you'll meet some professors from the program.

Phase One of the Respiratory Care Curriculum

You'll complete 61 credits at the IUP Indiana Campus during your first two academic years, including:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Math
  • Liberal Studies requirements

Phase Two of the Respiratory Care Curriculum

For your next two academic years, you'll study at the IUP Pittsburgh East regional campus. You'll complete your clinical experience there, earning 59 credits. As you move to different clinical locations, you'll benefit from hands-on learning in different areas of respiratory care.

Applying what you've learned in a real-life setting will definitely help you build confidence in your skills!

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Respiratory Care Club

There are lots of benefits to joining the IUP Respiratory Care Club:

  • Volunteer and raise funds for good causes.
  • Learn leadership and teamwork skills.
  • Build your résumé.
  • Make friends and have fun with other respiratory care majors.

At club meetings, you'll also learn more about the clinical phase of your undergraduate studies. If you're like other students, you'll have plenty of questions about housing at the IUP Pittsburgh East Campus and navigating clinical requirements.

You can get answers and support at the Respiratory Care Club.

Requirements and Fees for Clinical Experiences

An important part of your respiratory care studies are your clinical experiences, field work, or internships. You'll spend time at several different health and human services facilities, agencies, and organizations during these out-of-classroom learning experiences.

As a student in IUP's Respiratory Care program, you must meet certain requirements before starting your clinical experiences. IUP may require you to successfully complete specific courses or maintain a minimum GPA before you move on to these clinical locations.

You are also responsible for:

  • Transportation to and from clinical experiences.
  • Rental fees for clinical instruments and supplies, purchasing uniforms, equipment, and fees above the regular tuition.
  • Any other fees necessary for meeting clinical facility requirements.

Some additional requirements may include:

  • Criminal background checks
  • Drug testing
  • Vaccinations
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Immunization records
  • Proof of immunity

Different facilities may have additional requirements. You are responsible for making sure you have met all facility requirements before your clinical experience begins.

At the completion of your respiratory care degree program, you are responsible for fees related to national, regional, and/or state licensing exams.

Participate in an Internship

Internships are a popular and effective way to get valuable workplace experience before you graduate. They are opportunities to gain additional clinical experience in a site-supervised patient care setting. IUP’s respiratory care internships are unpaid. Several Pittsburgh-area hospitals also offer internship placements to IUP respiratory care students.

You can earn one credit through the Preceptorship in Respiratory Care, an elective course that offers additional clinical experience and that can be repeated.

Student Information Handbook

College life. Organizations to join. Facilities to use and enjoy. You'll find everything you need to know in the Student Information Handbook.

Be sure to review the pages explaining policies on professional behavior and clinical requirements.


The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

“CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.”

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
264 Precision Blvd.
Telford, TN 37690

View current program outcomes.