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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.
Here, you can 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.
The Respiratory Care program, Associate of Science and Bachelor of Health Science degrees, offered on our Gwynedd Valley campus, is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, www.coarc.com.* You can view our current accreditation status here. 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.
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.
Here, you'll earn the highest level of professional preparation within the field of respiratory care. All graduates of our bachelor’s degree program are:
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.
In 2020 and 2021, all GMercyU respiratory care graduates secured immediate employment in top area institutions. "Juniors in our program are already being recruited, some with signing bonuses and other compelling incentives," said Randy Solly, MS RRT RPFT, Professor of Practice and Program Coordinator of the Respiratory Care Program.
More benefits of choosing GMercyU's Bachelor of Health Science in Respiratory Care include:
As a graduate with a bachelor of health science in respiratory care, you’ll have first-hand experience, and be prepared to:
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)|
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.
Increase the value of your bachelor's in respiratory care 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.
Here are some of the places where GMercyU’s Respiratory Care majors 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.
Position: Professor of Practice and Program Coordinator, Respiratory Care
Did You Know? Solly has presented at the local, state, and national levels on topics such as pulmonary function testing, updated spirometry standards, interventional bronchoscopy, disaster medicine, and health care provider burnout.
Position: Assistant Professor, Respiratory Care
Did You Know? Galvin authored and edited the 60-chapter comprehensive textbook, Respiratory Care: Principles and Practice, which has been adopted and used by students in the RC Program. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.
Position: Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education, Respiratory Care
Did You Know? Schuster's specialties include Acute Care, Advance Cardiac Life Support, Invasive Cardiac Monitoring, Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiology, and Neonatal & Pediatrics.
Position: Adjunct Professor, Respiratory Care
Did You Know? He is currently the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Society for Respiratory Care (PSRC).
Omar was drawn to GMercyU's Respiratory Care program because of its exceptional exam pass rates, and as a recipient of our Kathleen and Alan Owens Scholarship, he found GMercyU more affordable than other options. He also appreciated GMercyU's small classes and one-on-one time with his professors. "It’s more of a family-oriented school – everyone’s really close, and the teachers really care about you and want you to succeed," he said. “My clinical work at HUP and at Magee made me see many different types of patients – and some of the equipment I used I haven’t even seen yet at my current hospital.”
Today, he is a respiratory therapist at The Brooklyn Hospital Center. Omar has also worked for Electromed, Inc., the company that makes SmartVest®, a device that helps keep airways clear for patients prone to illnesses such as pneumonia.
After attending an Open House at GMercyU, Catherine knew she'd found her calling in respiratory care. Her first clinical experience confirmed that she was on the right career path. "When I placed my stethoscope on the patient’s back to listen to their breath sounds, I had a moment that made me realize that I was about to embark on a career that makes a huge difference," she said.
Catharine landed her new job before she even graduated, as an RRT at the Lehigh Valley Health Network, and she absolutely loves what she does for a living.
Throughout the pandemic, respiratory therapists have cared for an overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients who've required advanced and life-sustaining ventilator care.
Yet even before COVID, there was an urgent need for more respiratory therapists due to an aging population and an increase in chronic diseases such as asthma and COPD. COPD is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., 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.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 23% increased demand for respiratory therapists through 2030 – almost double the expected growth of all healthcare jobs and nearly three times the growth of all occupations. And, respiratory care has been recognized as a career with a great return on investment. In 2021, the profession ranks #22 on U.S. News’ list of “Best Health Care Jobs” and #57 on their “100 Best Jobs” list.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $62,810 in May 2020, with the top 10% earning more than $89,170.
*This is only a partial list and not meant to limit you. Additional education and training may be required for some of these positions.
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.
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:
Have questions about GMercyU's admissions requirements or transferring eligible credits? Contact us! Our Admissions staff is ready to walk you through the process of applying to GMercyU’s BHS in Respiratory Care Program.
Please note: Students enrolling in this program must have the ability to obtain a U.S. background check and other clearances for placement in a U.S. clinical/school setting. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is also a requirement for licensure within certain academic programs. International students and students who are under DACA status or are undocumented should carefully review the licensure requirements in their state before enrolling in a degree program that leads to licensure. Additional information can be found on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.
At GMercyU, we strive to make a quality education accessible to all through financial aid, scholarships, and grants. As a military-friendly university, we welcome service members and participate in all VA educational benefits programs.