Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy

Degree Awarded: 
Bachelor of Science Degree
  • To learn more about the faculty and staff of the Respiratory Therapy Program, click here.
  • To see Jefferson College of Health Sciences Catalog, with the Respiratory Therapy section beginning on page 133, click here.

Contact Chase Poulsen, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Respiratory Therapy Program, at (540) 985-8490 or to discuss your options.

Respiratory Therapy (RT) is a unique, growing healthcare profession in which highly-skilled individuals think critically while consulting with physicians and other allied health professionals to diagnose/treat patients with disorders associated with the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.  

The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT) Program provides you with the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience that will help you begin your exciting career in the RT field.

Earning a BSRT degree at Jefferson College could be the key to opening important doors in your future as a healthcare professional. Here are some reasons why:

Our graduates are in demand.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Respiratory Therapists is expected to increase by up to 26% in coming years. 

Our graduates earn outstanding salaries.
With demand for respiratory therapists on the rise, salaries are following suit. A recent study found that the average salary for a respiratory therapist in the U.S. is $62,223 and respiratory therapists beginning their careers can expect to earn between $42,000 and $47,000 annually.

Our graduates are exceptionally educated.
Students in the Jefferson College BSRT program learn in state-of the art labs and in some of the country's most advanced and innovative clinical areas. Plus, our faculty bring years of practical, relatable experience with them to the classroom.

Our BSRT graduates will have the opportunity to start their careers at advanced levels.
Today's Respiratory Therapist is a vital part of a healthcare team. By offering the bachelor’s level degree to our students, we are preparing them to enter the profession on an entirely new and exciting level. And the opportunities for our graduates are growing every day.

Respiratory therapists work in a number of different areas, including:

  • In hospitals, giving breathing treatments to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
  • In intensive care units, managing ventilators that keep the critically ill alive.
  • In emergency rooms, delivering life-saving treatments.
  • In newborn and pediatric units, helping children with conditions ranging from premature birth to cystic fibrosis.
  • In operating rooms, working with anesthesiologists to monitor patients’ breathing during surgery.
  • In patient’s homes, providing regular check-ups and making sure people have what they need to stay out of the hospital.
  • In sleep laboratories, helping to diagnose disorders like sleep apnea.
  • In skilled nursing facilities and pulmonary rehabilitation programs, helping older people breathe easier and get more out of life.
  • In doctor’s offices, conducting pulmonary function tests and providing patient education.
  • In asthma education programs, helping kids and adults alike learn how to cope with the condition.
  • In smoking cessation programs, assisting those who want to kick the habit for good.
  • In air transport and ambulance programs, caring for critically ill patients in transit.
  • In case management programs, helping devise long-term care plans for patients.

What BSRT Students Learn

Diagnostic Procedures:

  • Draw and analyze blood samples to determine the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide and other gases in order to assess the best course of treatment for a patient
  • Measure the capacity and efficiency of a patient's lungs to determine if there is impaired function.
  • Perform stress tests and other studies of the cardiopulmonary system.
  • Study disorders of people with disruptive sleep patterns.
  • Obtain and analyze sputum and breath specimens.
  • Read and analyze chest x-rays and electrocardiograms.


  • Operate and maintain various types of highly sophisticated equipment to administer oxygen or to assist with breathing.
  • Employ mechanical ventilation for treating patients who cannot breathe adequately on their own.
  • Monitor and manage therapy that will help a patient recover lung function.
  • Administer medications in aerosol form to help alleviate breathing problems and to help prevent respiratory infections.
  • Monitor equipment and patient response to therapy
  • Conduct rehabilitation activities, such as low-impact aerobic exercise classes to help patients who suffer from chronic lung problems.
  • Maintain a patient's artificial airway, one that may be in place to help the patient who cannot breathe through normal means.
  • Stand by in labor and delivery rooms to monitor and treat pre-mature infants who have difficulty in breathing on their own
  • Conduct smoking cessation programs for the hospital patients and other patients in the community who want to kick the tobacco habit
Admission Requirements: 
  • Click here for the general information on admissions requirements.

Junior Level Transfer Information

In addition to college entrance criteria, junior level transfer students must have completed the first two years of the plan of study and possess a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA.  Admission is based on availability.  Jefferson College currently has articulation agreements with the following colleges (click on link to open course transfer sheet).

Coming soon are advising sheets transferring students from:

  • Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC)
  • Wytheville Community College (WCC)
  • Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC)
  • Central Virginia Community College (CVCC)

Watch this webpage for updates!

Other Information: 

Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC); our program outcome data found at:

We hold membership with:

  • The Coalition for Baccalaureate and Graduate Respiratory Therapy Education (CoBGRTE)
  • American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)
  • Virginia Society for Respiratory Care (VSRC)
  • National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC)