Respiratory therapy images with logo on top.

The American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) set a goal in 2015 that 80% of respiratory therapists should have or should be working towards a bachelor’s in respiratory therapy by 2020. Additionally in 2019 the AARC published a paper stating that by the year 2030, there should be a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy – or health sciences with a concentration in respiratory therapy – to practice as a respiratory therapist. It’s now 2021, and while a bachelor’s degree is not a requirement, it’s still the goal.

Respiratory therapist operation ventilator during procedure.


So what does that mean for all the RTs out there? One thing we know for sure; change is coming. And while we don’t know when the change will happen, there is no reason to wait for the industry to shift. Let’s look at 3 benefits to getting started on your bachelor’s degree now.

#1—Get ahead of the game.

With a target date of 2030, the bachelor’s requirement to practice respiratory therapy will be here before you know it. The good news is, University of Cincinnati Online’s Bachelor of Science in Respiratory

Therapy is a bachelor’s completion program. This means that if you have an associate degree – have your RRT, or are a CRT working towards your RRT – you can easily transition into completing your bachelor’s degree. This is even easier if UC Online has an articulation agreement with the college from which you earned your degree. These agreements establish a clear path to enrollment at UC Online, ensuring that all your associate-level credits transfer directly. And with all of this, even attending at a part-time rate still gives you time to finish well before 2030.


#2—A flexible path to success

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and overwhelming for respiratory therapists, and the thought of earning a degree right now can seem like too much. But what if earning your bachelor’s degree fit into your life and not the other way around?

One of the biggest benefits to earning your degree online is the flexibility that online learning brings. The University of Cincinnati Online programs are asynchronous, allowing students to complete their course work on their time. Additionally, many of the courses that are taken to complete the respiratory therapy degree are accelerated 7-week courses – meaning a faster track to graduation.

#3—Open up a wealth of opportunities

Job security is a concern for many individuals, especially when there are major changes happening in their industry – like a new requirement for a bachelor’s degree. So, let’s look at it from the perspective of opportunities. If you’re a career-driven person who has completed their bachelor’s degree, you have several opportunities that suddenly open up – not the least of which is an increase in salary.

Hospital respirator with therapists in the background.Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO) is an experimental interactive graph that the US Census Bureau has created where universities around the country can enter salary earnings data from their graduates. It’s an easy way to get an idea of what you could potentially earn 1-year, 5-years, and 10-years post-grad. Looking at the graph, someone who received their bachelor’s degree in a health profession or related program from the University of Cincinnati earned on average $49,315 one year after graduation, $57,631 five years post-grad, and $67,509 ten years post-grad. A University of Cincinnati graduate with a master’s degree in a health profession or related program was making on average more than $75,000 within five years of graduation.

The world we live in is evolving and changing every day. For RT’s, a big change is coming, but don’t wait for it. Get ahead of the game, because there is no time like now to advance your degree and advance your life. Take the next step in your career and speak with an enrollment advisor today.

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