Respiratory Therapy

Bachelor’s degree

If you are interested in an exciting health profession, Respiratory Therapy deserves a close look. Respiratory therapists care for patients who have difficulty breathing. This may be due to a chronic condition, such as asthma, or an illness, such as COVID-19.

The Bachelor of Health Science in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences with an emphasis in Respiratory Therapy prepares you to become a licensed respiratory therapist.


Respiratory therapists provide the hands-on care that assists in recovery and management of a wide range of cardiopulmonary conditions. They assemble, operate and monitor devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, pulmonary function testing equipment and aerosol generators. 

Respiratory care practitioners exercise a considerable degree of independent clinical judgment in the care of patients under the direct or indirect supervision of a physician. They serve as a valuable resource to the physician regarding safe and effective treatment of their patients. Recent advances in medicine require the respiratory care practitioner to assume greater responsibility in the treatment of adults and infants with cardiopulmonary dysfunction.

Professional certification

Graduates are eligible to sit for the national board exams given by the National Board for Respiratory Care. The Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) exam is administered immediately following graduation. This exam yields one of two cut scores. Students achieving the low cut score will earn the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential. The MU RT program has a 100% pass rate, which is well above the national average.

Students achieving the high cut score will be eligible to sit for the clinical simulation exam. Successful completion of the clinical simulation exam earns the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. The MU RT program has a high pass rate on this exam that is well above national average. 

In addition to the earned credential, a license or registration is required to practice in all states except Alaska. Graduates will need to start this process immediately after graduation. In Missouri, the CRT credential is used as the exam for licensing.

Careers in respiratory therapy

Respiratory care is one of the fastest growing health professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a very good job outlook for respiratory therapists with employment growing much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Mizzou RT graduates are employed in Missouri and throughout the country as advanced clinicians, department managers, medical equipment industry leaders, clinical and academic educators, community educators, consultants, and in public health.

Respiratory therapy is the No. 6 best job in health care, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Discover Respiratory Therapy

Course work

The Mizzou Respiratory Therapy program consists of two years of prerequisite coursework plus a two-year (six-semester) professional phase which includes two summer semesters, two fall semesters and two spring semesters.

Curriculum requirements

Learn about courses and other requirements for the entry-to-practice Respiratory Therapy program.

Advising worksheet

Students may use the Respiratory Therapy advising worksheet as a guide, but advising through the School of Health Professions Student Services is highly recommended


Students typically apply for acceptance into the Respiratory Therapy program their sophomore year. Applications are available mid to late October and due Feb. 1.

High school seniors and first-semester MU freshmen may be eligible to apply for early admission to the Respiratory Therapy program.

Admission and application

Learn more about admission criteria and how to apply.

Cost and financial aid

Learn more about program costs and financial aid.


Respiratory Therapy students may apply for program-specific scholarships and School of Health Professions scholarships.

Entry-to-BHS program goals

The goal of the Entry to BHS Respiratory Therapy Program is to prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) and to prepare leaders for the field of respiratory care by including curricular content with objectives related to the acquisition of skills in one or more of the following: management, education, research, and advanced clinical practice (which may include an area of clinical specialization).

Entry-to-BHS expected student learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate, comprehend, and apply clinical information in order to match patient needs with therapeutic interventions.
  2. Exhibit technical proficiency in all of the skills necessary to fulfill the role as an advanced level respiratory therapist.
  3. Display professional behavior consistent with employer expectations for a registered respiratory therapist.


The University of Missouri Respiratory Therapy entry into practice base program (#200033) and satellite program at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis (#300006) are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

For more information, call 817-283-2835, or write to:

264 Precision Blvd.
Telford, TN 37690

CoARC Program Outcomes Data

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.

University of Missouri Institutional Accreditation is provided by:

The Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, IL 60602-2504
(800) 621-7440