GMercyU respiratory care

Respiratory Therapist Program (BHS)


What is Respiratory Therapy?

Respiratory therapy is the study of issues affecting patients' hearts and lungs. Respiratory therapists evaluate, diagnose and treat heart and lung issues, including chronic diseases and emergencies. They may work in hospitals, long-term care facilities or in patients' home.

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Care

Have you been searching for respiratory care schools in PA? Gwynedd Mercy University’s bachelor of health science (BHS) degree in respiratory care is a degree completion program for AS degree graduates and RRTs, and offers a clear path to a future career as a respiratory therapist.

The program is part of the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions, distinguished as an innovative and leading program with a long and celebrated history of preparing competent, caring and compassionate respiratory therapists. For years, GMercyU has been known as one of the leading schools for respiratory therapy. 

The Respiratory Care program, Associate of Science and Bachelor of Health Science degrees, offered on our Gwynedd Valley campus, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care,* CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented. The School CoARC number is 200274.

The GMercyU Difference

Gwynedd Mercy University offers a wide range of educational advantages, making it one of the most prominent Baccalaureate Respiratory Care Programs in PA. 

Our students have a 100% pass rate on the Certified Respiratory Therapist exam (administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care) and 100% pass rate on the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exam.

In 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, the program has been recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) to receive the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award with a 90+% pass rate over the 3-year cycle.

Other benefits of choosing GMercyU's Bachelor of Health Science in Respiratory Care include the ability to:

  • Acquire the value of a four-year degree from a program that’s accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and University Commission on Higher Education with its base Associate Degree program for entry into Respiratory Care Professional Practice fully accredited by the  Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care, You can view our current accreditation status here.


  • Progress in a career ladder approach (a 3+1 model, with the first 3 years representing the Associate Degree and the final year being a degree completion culminating in the Bachelor of Health Science Degree)
  • Gain hands-on experience through GMercyU’s 21 regional health care affiliations 
  • Get a head start on your career with full employment eligibility after year three
  • Participate in a fulfilling and exciting learning experience with the personal attention you need 
  • Attend courses taught by our experienced faculty who are published and present at state, national and international conferences and conventions
  • Experience GMercyU’s state-of-the-art Respiratory Care Laboratory with cutting edge technology and a comprehensive array of equipment, models, mannequins, and simulators

As a graduate with a bachelor of health science in respiratory care, you’ll have first-hand experience, and be prepared to:

  • Use state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and competently treat patients with cardiopulmonary disorders
  • Administer oxygen therapy, deliver inhaled medications, and initiate and maintain life support equipment, such as mechanical ventilators, among other responsibilities
  • Work in large academic medical centers, community hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, long term care, and even the home care setting
  • Provide care for patients of all ages (from newborns to children, to adults and the elderly)
  • Enter entry-level leadership positions in education or management/ supervision

You’ll leave GMercyU’s respiratory therapy programs with the highest level of professional preparation within the field of respiratory care. All graduates of our bachelor’s degree program are:

  • Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT), which is the entry-level credential
  • Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT), which is the highest level of credential

Our respiratory therapy program curriculum will take you beyond entry-level capabilities, and teach you advanced-level respiratory care skills. Your clinical rotations will expose you to university teaching hospitals, pediatric and neonatal centers, community hospitals and alternate care sites.

The Need for Qualified Respiratory Care Therapists

An aging population, advancing technology and the significant increase in chronic, debilitating diseases, such as asthma and COPD, point to considerable growth and opportunity in this profession. COPD has just become the third leading cause of death in the US and the number of diagnosed asthmatics continues to rise. By attending one of the best respiratory therapy schools in the area, you will earn your bachelor’s degree in respiratory care that will qualify you to specialize and focus on the lungs and the heart, and to secure specialty credentials in areas such as adult critical care, neonatal/ pediatrics, pulmonary function testing, and asthma education. Additionally, you will be prepared to work in pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep medicine, and home care. You may also pursue leadership roles as a respiratory care supervisor, department director, clinical preceptor, classroom educator, disease manager, and/or in patient advocacy.

What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?

Respiratory therapists diagnose and treat lung and heart problems in patients. They work as part of the medical team that administers medications, manages airways, and conducts rehabilitation activities. Here are some other job responsibilities:

  • Manage ventilation machines
  • Assess lung capacity
  • Perform diagnostic tests
  • Develop and implement treatment plans
  • Consult with physicians
  • Monitor and record progress of treatment plans
  • Educate patients about diseases and their treatments

Undergraduate Minors

Increase the value of your degree by adding an undergraduate minor. GMercyU offers a wide variety of minors so you can choose the one that best meets your personal and professional goals.

*To register a complaint, please contact: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)


In addition to general education coursework, students in respiratory care school will complete the following courses:

Respiratory Care Courses:  63 Credits ​​​​

RC 200 Introduction to AH (2 credits)
RE 210 Medical Terminology (1 credit)
RC 230 Respiratory Theory I 4 credits)
RE 231 Respiratory Theory II 
RC 232 Respiratory Theory  III
RC 233 Respiratory & Cardiac Physiology 
RC 234 Respiratory Pharmacology 
RC 240 Respiratory Procedures I (1 credit)
RC 241 Respiratory Procedures II (1 credit)
RC 242 Respiratory Procedures III (1 credit)
RC 250 Clinical Respiratory Care I
RC 251 Clinical Respiratory Care  II
RC 330 Advanced Respiratory Theory I
RC 331 Advanced Respiratory Theory II
RC 332 Advanced Respiratory Theory III
RC 333 Respiratory Pathophysiology
RC 334 RC Research – Capstone
RC 335 Respiratory Seminar – Capstone 
RC 340 Advanced Respiratory Procedures I (1 credit)
RC 341 Advanced Respiratory Procedures II (1 credit)
RC 342 Advanced Respiratory Procedures III (1 credit)
RC 350 Advanced Clinical Respiratory I (2 credits)
RC 351 Advanced Clinical Respiratory II (2 credits)
HA/HS Elective (3) 

Credit Requirement
A minimum of 126 credits is required for the bachelor’s degree in respiratory care.

To review respiratory therapy school course descriptions, please refer to the undergraduate catalog.


Clinical Opportunities

Here are some of the places where GMercyU’s Respiratory Care students have gained practical, hands-on experience locally.  Some students choose to go to other regions of the country to gain hands-on experience and training.

  • Abington Memorial Hospital
  • Aria Health Systems (Frankford Hospitals)
  • Cancer Treatment Centers of America
  • Chester County Hospital
  • The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Doylestown Hospital
  • Einstein Montgomery Hospital
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Grandview Hospital
  • HCR Manor Care
  • The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Jeanes Hospital
  • Lankenau Hospital
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital Center
  • Lehigh Valley Medical Center and Health Care System
  • Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Montgomery Einstein Hospital
  • Mercy Suburban Hospital
  • Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center

Our Outstanding Faculty

Career Outcomes

The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Handbook notes that through 2022, job opportunities in the respiratory care field are projected to grow at an above-average rate (19%), offering an abundance of opportunities for future qualified job seekers. Earning your bachelors in respiratory therapy can jumpstart a great career in health care. As of 2015, U.S. News ranked the field #51 of their “100 Best Jobs” and #24 on their list of “Best Health Care Jobs.” In 2015, the median pay for Respiratory Therapists was $57,790/year (Bureau of Labor Statistics ). Now's the time to earn your degree from one of the best respiratory therapist schools in the area.

Possible careers for respiratory care majors

  • Clinician
  • Diagnostician
  • Adult critical care specialist
  • Pulmonary function technologist 
  • Sleep technologist
  • Asthma educator 
  • Sleep medicine technologist
  • Neonatal/ pediatric specialist
  • Patient advocate
  • Tobacco cessation counselor
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation specialist
  • Clinical preceptor
  • Shift supervisor
  • Department Manager
  • Classroom/ laboratory instructor
  • Program Director
  • Director of Clinical Education

*Some of these careers may require additional education.

*This is only a partial list and not meant to limit you.

Areas of specialization

  • Adult Critical Care
  • Neonatology
  • Pediatrics
  • Sleep medicine
  • Pulmonary diagnostics