Undergraduate Respiratory Therapy

As a respiratory therapist, you will join a high-demand field devoted to the study, care, and treatment of disorders related to the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems. Respiratory therapists have advanced knowledge of some of the most innovative and high-tech equipment in medicine.

Our graduates are trained to deliver advanced care in many settings, such as ICUs, emergency rooms, labor and delivery, rehabilitation centers, and homecare. This is a great field if you are interested in health, biology, math, chemistry, and physics.

To ensure the workforce is adequately prepared, the American Association for Respiratory Care recently called for a shift in education, such that all new respiratory care programs award, at a minimum, bachelor’s degrees in respiratory care (American Association for Respiratory Care, 2016).

Edgewood College is currently the only program of its kind in the state of Wisconsin (Commission on Accreditation in Respiratory Care Education CoARC, 2018) to offer an entry-into-practice bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Care (BSRC).

Program Highlights

  • The Edgewood College Respiratory Care program is Wisconsin’s only entry-into-practice Bachelor’s Degree of Respiratory Care.
  • Students will complete two years of undergraduate academic study at Edgewood College, followed by two years of clinical and professional training. Not only do students obtain hands-on experience at top-tier medical centers throughout the state, but also receive leadership- and research-focused education.
  • The small cohort sizes of 15 students maximum ensure one-on-one instructor and preceptor interaction.
  • Our liberal arts education, founded in the Dominican tradition, adds a strong foundation to the Respiratory Care program by strengthening your qualities of compassion, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication.
  • As the rates of cardiopulmonary disease continue to steadily rise, more highly skilled graduates are in great demand to fill the current and increasing shortage of licensed respiratory therapists.

Career Outcomes

Respiratory therapists are critical, decision-making members of the health care team:  

  • Respiratory therapists care for patients from premature infants to the aging elderly. They practice in critical care units, sub-acute care facilities, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers, emergency departments, medical offices and clinics, cardiopulmonary diagnostic labs, sleep disorder centers, community hospitals, homecare, and via telemedicine. 
  • Respiratory therapists work in research, development, education, and sales for medical equipment manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, institutions of higher learning, and non-profit organizations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the 10-year growth rate for respiratory therapists as 23.4% through 2026, which is higher than average growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019).  On average, respiratory therapists are highly-paid, skilled positions, earning $67,000 per year on average (salary.com).

Currently, there is a shortage of respiratory therapists in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Admission Requirements

Applications for the Respiratory Care program are traditionally submitted the Fall semester of a student’s sophomore year. This clinical training is a highly competitive program designed to ensure certification and employment success.

Additional Requirements:  

  • You are required to shadow a respiratory therapist 4-8 hours prior to application to the respiratory therapy program. Please talk to your major advisor to request a shadowing experience through one of our partnering healthcare facilities. 
  • An overall GPA of 2.5 on a 4 point scale for all pre-professional coursework is required. A GPA higher than the minimum is preferred and increases your chances of acceptance to your clinical training. In addition, a minimum of “C” grade must be earned in each prerequisite course. 
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) CPR & AED Training for Healthcare Professionals certification through the American Heart Association (AHA) training center is required prior to application in the respiratory care program and must be active during the clinical training.

Faculty Spotlight

  • Brenda Moral

    Associate Professor