Earn your bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy from Gwynedd Mercy University

Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) Degree in Respiratory Care

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Care

Have you been searching for Respiratory Care schools in PA? If so, you can look no further. Gwynedd Mercy University’s bachelor’s degree in respiratory care 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. 

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 that is administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care. Our Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) pass rates exceed the national average consistently by 20%.  

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 Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care
  • Gain hands-on experience through GMercyU’s 200+ 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  (no teaching assistants)
  • 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)

You’ll leave GMercyU’s program 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 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. Your bachelor’s degree in respiratory care 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. 

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.


In addition to general education coursework, students in respiratory care 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 course descriptions, please refer to the undergraduate catalog (PDF).

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
  • Mercy Suburban Hospital
  • Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center

Our Outstanding Faculty

Career Outcomes

Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics note 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. Respiratory care has already been established as a great career. 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 2012, the median pay for Respiratory Therapists was $55,870/year (Bureau of Labor Statistics ).

Possible careers for respiratory care majors

  • Clinician
  • Diagnostician
  • Asthma educator 
  • Sleep medicine technologist
  • Neonatal/ pediatric specialist
  • Patient advocate
  • Tobacco cessation counselor
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation specialist
  • Clinical preceptor
  • Shift supervisor
  • Department Manger
  • 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