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Respiratory Therapy

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

School: Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Respiratory therapists work with patients who experience asthma, cystic fibrosis, emphysema and trauma. Therapists provide life support for premature infants, give medical gases and aerosol medications, assure airway and bronchopulmonary hygiene, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and are responsible for life-support systems. Therapists also assess patients and perform diagnostic procedures that include measuring cardiopulmonary volumes, pressures, electrocardiograms and arterial blood gases.

Students preparing to apply to the respiratory undergraduate professional program should visit for more information about prerequisite course work and the application process. Applications are accepted from high school seniors who have been admitted to the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) as pre-majors and from current undergraduate students who are following the pre-professional curriculum outlined here.

For current undergraduates, college grade point average and performance in the pre-professional science and mathematics courses are considered for admission. 

Prior to applying, students should complete the following prerequisites:

  • General biology (including lab component)
  • General chemistry (including lab component)
  • First-year English composition 
  • College algebra 
  • General psychology 
  • General physics sequence (including lab component)
  • General microbiology
  • Medical terminology 
  • Human anatomny (including lab component) 
  • Human physiology
  • Health Care Organization

Students in this program are part of a small cohort of students that take courses together and receive individualized attention from faculty. 

The professional course work begins in the junior year and consists of five consecutive terms of enrollment, which includes one summer term, comprised of over 60 credit hours in respiratory therapy and professional supporting courses. 

The program also affords students opportunities to select clinical specialties such as neonatal and pediatric care, rehabilitation and continuing care, education, administration, noninvasive cardiac diagnostic testing, hyperbaric oxygen, sleep disorders, and pulmonary function laboratories.

Students in respiratory therapy are encouraged to contact the Office of International Affairs to find study abroad experiences related to health care that can strengthen their applications to majors and graduate study programs.

Most clinical experiences for students are on campus at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and at Nationwide Children's Hospital, two of the nation's best. Students can also apply for respiratory clinical experiences at Riverside Methodist Hospital, Grant Medical Center, Advanced Home Medical, American Home Patient and Marion Area Health Center.

The respiratory therapy Clinical Education Network and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences website provide more information on clinical opportunities throughout Ohio and beyond.

Respiratory therapy students may apply to any of the Ohio State Scholars programs. Students in the Ohio State Scholars programs live together, attend classes together and have the opportunity to be a part of a close-knit community. 

The Health Sciences Scholars Program and the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars Program may be of particular interest to students in the respiratory therapy program because they bring together students with interests in the many health programs offered at Ohio State.

Learn more about the Honors and Scholars Programs at

All senior respiratory therapy students receive formal education in conducting research. Students are expected to participate in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, in which respiratory therapy students have won or placed in the Clinical Health Professions category in 9 of the past 12 years.

Students studying respiratory therapy can live in the Future Health Professionals Learning Community.

Almost 100 percent of respiratory therapy graduates earn their Certified Respiratory Therapist credential, and over 90 percent earn their Registered Respiratory Therapist credential or equivalent speciality credential in pulmonary function technology, polysomnography or neonatal pediatrics.

Respiratory therapy has a projected job growth at almost twice the national average, including over 4,000 job openings annually.

Many recent graduates find jobs at major medical centers, in community hospitals and in children’s hospitals. Others work for home care providers, medical specialists, lung associations, colleges and universities, pharmaceutical companies, respiratory equipment manufacturers, and suppliers.

Recent graduates from Ohio State's respiratory therapy program are in high demand. They typically receive four to five job offers and many receive hiring bonuses. The respiratory therapy program has 100 percent job placement for job seekers, 80 percent of which are leadership positions.

Average starting salaries for Ohio State's respiratory therapy graduates range from $43,000 to $48,000.

Student Services Office
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
206 Atwell Hall
453 W. 10th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210

The respiratory therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care to prepare registered respiratory therapists as advanced-level respiratory care professionals. Students earn basic, advanced and instructor certifications for CPR and are eligible for an Ohio professional license before graduation.

Interested in a career in health care?

Check out the Health Care Pathway to discover the many majors Ohio State offers that can lead to a health care career.