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You can live without water for a few days and without food for a few weeks. Without air, though, you'll suffer brain damage within a few minutes and die after about ten minutes. Breathing, then, would be a pretty good thing about which to become an expert.

The practice of respiratory care requires comprehensive knowledge of many technical and physiological concepts. Among a ton of other things, Respiratory Therapy programs will teach you about the therapeutic use of medical gases, oxygen-administering apparatuses, drugs and medications, ventilatory control, pulmonary rehabilitation, and home care.

As a respiratory therapist, what you'll probably do when you get out into the real world is treat people with breathing disorders (and, by the way, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a job). Respiratory therapists work in hospitals and intensive care units with (often critically ill) patients who have asthma, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, and AIDS. They provide life-support for premature infants; perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and maintain life-support systems; and assist physicians with bronchoscopies, arterial cannula insertions, and heart catheterizations. In a nutshell, they save and perpetuate human lives on a daily basis.


  • Biology

  • Cardiopulmonary Critical Care

  • Chemistry

  • Ethics for Health Professionals

  • Health Care Management

  • Human Anatomy

  • Introduction to Respiratory Care

  • Medical Terminology

  • Pediatric Respiratory Care

  • Pharmacology

  • Respiratory Care Procedures

  • Respiratory Clinical Experience

  • Seminar in Respiratory Care

  • Statistics


Take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. Lots of them. Pay particular attention in math, as Respiratory Therapy involves a significant amount of basic mathematical problem-solving.