COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will extend our “Enroll with Confidence” refund policies to cover students who enroll on or after August 1st. For full details, please click here.

Overview

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.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • 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


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

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.