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Tell Me More About Respiratory Care!

The Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Care (AAS) degree at Ferris State University produces graduates who are prepare for the challenges of the health care industry today.

The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT) degree is a completion program meant for the working RRT with an associate degree that wishes to further their education.


Respiratory care practitioners are licensed professionals who evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. Practicing under the direction of a physician, respiratory therapists assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures. They consult with physicians and other healthcare staff to help develop and modify patient care plans. Therapists also provide complex therapy requiring considerable independent judgment, such as caring for patients on life support in intensive-care units of hospitals.

The job outlook for the respiratory therapist is growing much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

Job opportunities are expected to be very good, especially for those with a bachelor’s degree and national registration.


  1. Diagnosing lung and breathing disorders and recommending treatment methods.
  2. Interviewing patients and doing chest physical exams to determine what kind of therapy is best for their condition.
  3. Consulting with physicians to recommend a change in therapy, based on the evaluation of the patient.
  4. Analyzing breath, tissue, and blood specimens to determine levels of oxygen and other gases.
  5. Managing ventilators and artificial airway devices for patients who can’t breathe normally on their own.
  6. Responding to cardiac arrests or other urgent calls for care.
  7. Educating patients and families about lung disease so they can maximize their recovery.
  8. The bachelor prepared respiratory therapist may hold roles in management, education, or research.


Each year 24 students are admitted to the associate degree program in Big Rapids that starts the following Summer semester. Students apply to the professional sequence between January 15 and January 30 prior to admission.  The professional sequence of the associate degree program in Big Rapids is scheduled year around for 5 consecutive semesters including summers, and 6 consecutive semesters of afternoon/evening courses for Grand Rapids.

The bachelor of science completion program accepts 20 students each year for a self-paced, on-line program that is scheduled for 4 consecutive semesters when attending full-time. There is a part-time option available. Applications are taken all year.

Students are admitted based upon their semester of qualification for the program, with the original date of application to the respiratory major (also known as the priority date) used as a tie breaker when there are more qualified candidates than there are spaces available. Therefore, it is essential to apply for admission at the earliest possible date. Those that graduate from the associate degree program are eligible to sit for the National Board for Respiratory Care credentialing exams to obtain the RRT credential.

STRENGTHS of the FSU RT Degrees

FSU offers an opportunity for everyone to become a registered respiratory therapist

Student-centered curriculum

Cohort model, largest class 24 students

BSRT leads to career opportunities in advanced practice, management, education, and research.