3 Benefits of Completing Your Bachelor’s in Respiratory Therapy Degree Now

If you’re currently a respiratory therapist (RT), you probably heard that a bachelor’s degree will soon be required. The American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) set a goal in 2015 that 80% of respiratory therapists should have or are working towards a bachelor’s in respiratory therapy by 2020. 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. Here we are in 2021, and that’s still the goal, but not yet a requirement. What does that mean for all the RTs out there? One thing we know for sure is that changes are happening. When they happen has not been confirmed, but if there’s one thing that we’ve learned from the past 19 months and the COVID-19 pandemic is that it’s better to be prepared as best you can for anything that happens. The best way to be ready for this shift in the industry is to get started on completing your bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy. Let’s look at 3 benefits to getting started on your bachelor’s degree now.

Benefit #1—Get ahead of the game

We know it’s coming. Sooner rather than later, a bachelor’s degree will be a requirement to practice respiratory therapy. Knowing this means you can get ahead of the game. At the University of Cincinnati Online, the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy is a completer degree. 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. What makes it even easier is if there is an articulation agreement between the college you received your associate degree and the University of Cincinnati Online. The university is always looking to add more articulation agreements with other colleges. These agreements establish a clear path to enrollment at UC, ensuring that all your Associate level credits transfer directly over.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This is especially true for completing your bachelor’s degree. If 2030 is the target date for the bachelor’s degree requirement for RTs, then you’ve got nine years to finish your degree. The good news is you can complete your online bachelor’s degree at UC in less than two years. Even completing the degree at a part-time rate still gives you time to finish well before 2030. If you are the type of person who likes to check things off your list, now is the best time to get ahead of the game and check this off your list of things to accomplish.

Benefit #2—No better time to get your degree online

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and overwhelming for respiratory therapists to say the very least. The thought of earning a degree right now can seem like too much for RT’s. What if earning your bachelor’s degree was designed to fit into your life and not the other way around? Enter online education. One of the biggest benefits to earning your degree online is the flexibility that online learning brings. The University of Cincinnati Online programs are uniquely designed to work for the student. Through asynchronous courses, students have the flexibly to complete their course work on their time.  So, you receive a quality UC education while being able to maintain and balance everything else in their life.  That’s perfect for the working RT who wants to earn their bachelor’s degree at the same time.

With UC’s online program, many of the courses that are taken to complete the respiratory therapy degree are accelerated 7-week courses. Accelerated courses means a faster track to graduation and checking off earning your bachelor’s degree from your accomplishments list. In addition, as opposed to many associate level programs, the bachelor’s degree is completely online, making it easier to complete while still working full-time.

Benefit #3—Open up job opportunities

Job security is always a fear for many, particularly if there’s a change in the industry you work in, such as a new requirement for a bachelor’s degree. So, let’s look at it from the perspective of job opportunities. Let’s say you finish your bachelor’s degree and fulfill that requirement to practice respiratory therapy. Now what? If you’re a career-driven person, which most people seem to be, you are probably thinking, how do I take that next step in my career? Maybe you eventually want to teach respiratory therapy to the next generation. Since you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, a logical next step could be a master’s degree. 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-year 1, post-grad, $57,631-year 5, post-grad, and $67,509-year 10, post-grad. A University of Cincinnati graduate of a master’s degree in a health profession or related program were making on average $70,115-year 1, post-grad, $76,593-year 5, post-grad, and $79,891-year 10, post-grad. All this data shows there is the potential to earn up to $20,000 or more a year after earning your master’s degree. Start by getting your bachelor’s degree now, and you could be earning or have your master’s degree by 2030.


People often talk about how much things have changed over time, especially in the past 19 months. That is the world we live in, evolving and changing every day. Change can be good, particularly if you’re taking steps to change your future for the better. For the RT’s out there, you know change is coming, but it can be good. So, get ahead of the game because there is no time like now to invest in your future and the potential for greater opportunities.

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