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Respiratory Therapy

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

School: Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Respiratory therapists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide testing, treatment and care to patients who have difficulty breathing. Graduates are trained to work with the full spectrum of patients, from infants to older adults. Therapists work in many different settings, including intensive care units, emergency departments, diagnostic laboratories, clinics and the home.

Admission to the respiratory therapy major is based on a holistic review of each candidate, including academic achievement in prerequisites and the student’s overall cumulative grade-point average. Competitive applicants will be invited for a personal interview. The interview focuses on the applicant’s knowledge of the profession, career goals and communication skills.

It is highly recommended that applicants interview or shadow a professional of their choice before applying. All applicants must successfully complete prerequisite courses (with a C- or higher) by the end of the summer term prior to beginning professional course work.

Applicants must apply electronically by January 31 of each year. 

Applying as a freshman: Students are encouraged to apply as freshmen after completing either the required first-year prerequisites or a similar number of first and second-year prerequisite courses, demonstrating they are on track toward completing all prerequisites prior to beginning the curriculum.  If admitted, these students complete their remaining prerequisites during their sophomore year and are guaranteed placement in the junior cohort if successful academic standing is maintained.

Applying as a sophomore: Students may apply for the first time, or reapply, as a sophomore or above while completing their remaining prerequisites. Subject to successful academic standing, admitted students will begin the program as a member of the junior cohort autumn term of the calendar year in which they apply.

Prospective students interested in meeting with an HRS advisor may call 614-292-1706 to arrange an appointment.

Students in this major are part of a 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 major 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 are on-campus at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center or off-campus at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Additional clinical sites include Grant Medical Center, Doctors Hospital and Central Ohio Specialty Care. The OSU RT Clinical Education Network provides more clinical experiences throughout Ohio and beyond.

The Honors Program in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences enhances the student experience in many ways, all of which further prepare students for the next step in their academic or professional careers. Activities eligible for Honors designation include service projects, study abroad, leadership in student organizations and research. For additional information regarding eligibility and requirements, please visit our website.

The Health Sciences Scholars Program and the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars Program may be of particular interest to students interested in the major 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

Students are encouraged to investigate research opportunities. Interested students can graduate with research distinction by completing an undergraduate research thesis. Additional information regarding eligibility and requirements can be found on our website.

Students in the respiratory therapy program can live in the Future Health Professionals Learning Community. Students may also apply to participate in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Ambassadors program.

Almost 100% of respiratory therapy graduates earn their Certified Respiratory Therapist credential, and over 90% earn their Registered Respiratory Therapist credential or equivalent specialty 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% job placement for job seekers, 80% of which are leadership positions.

The median annual wage for respiratory therapists is $70,540. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of respiratory therapists will grow 14% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

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The respiratory therapy major 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.

A comprehensive academic visit for prospective students can include receiving information about the program, student financial aid, honors and scholars, and campus involvement opportunities. As you plan your visit, you may have the opportunity to attend an academic overview. Interested students should visit for more information. 

If a session is not available during the visit, please call 614-292-1706 to arrange an appointment with an HRS advisor. To guarantee an appointment, please call at least a week ahead of time.

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.