Degree type(s): Bachelor's
Degree field(s): Healthcare
Location(s): Bismarck, ND

Respiratory Therapy Bachelor’s Degree Program

Four year degree; Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT)

The Respiratory Therapy bachelor’s degree program at the University of Mary prepares students to provide care for critically or chronically ill patients suffering from a variety of respiratory and cardiac problems. In the respiratory therapy program, you will learn to assess patients, develop a plan of care, implement therapy and evaluate its effectiveness, and provide education to patients and families in the day-to-day self-management of chronic respiratory conditions. Graduates of the respiratory therapy program are eligible to take the credentialing examinations administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) leading to the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

The respiratory therapy program is offered as a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Mary’s main campus and at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, North Dakota. The four year undergraduate program consists of two years of pre-professional college preparation on the university campus followed by two-years of professional preparation at the CHI St. Alexius Health campus.

Respiratory Therapy Program Highlights

The nationally recognized respiratory therapy program at the University of Mary prepares you with the skills to lead through a combination of classroom and on-site clinical experience.

  • Join a program that is nationally recognized for graduate credentialing success and offers a 100 percent graduation rate, graduate employment rate, and graduate pass rate on the licensing exam.
  • Gain valuable respiratory therapy experience through classroom, laboratory, and clinical practicum courses at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck.
  • Receive over 1,100 hours of supervised experience in direct patient interaction.
  • Opt to take the respiratory therapy pre-med track, which allows you to complete all courses required for admission to most medical schools while completing requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy.
  • Develop professional leadership skills in a collaborative learning environment grounded in Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values.
  • Work in small classes with faculty who are nationally published in the field of respiratory therapy.

Career Outlook for Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists are essential members of the modern healthcare team and work in collaboration with physicians and other health professionals in adult and newborn intensive care units, hospital emergency rooms, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, sleep-related breathing disorders clinics, and in the home. In addition to treatment, respiratory therapists perform complex diagnostic and monitoring procedures to assist physicians in devising an appropriate care strategy. In the home, outpatient, and community settings, respiratory therapists provide education to patients and families in the day-to-day self-management of chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that employment of respiratory therapists will grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, due in part to the growth in the middle-aged and elderly population. The University of Mary Respiratory Therapy master’s degree program outcomes (including attrition, job placement, and graduate credentialing success) can be compared to the outcomes of all accredited programs in the United States at theCoARC website. 

Take all courses required for admission to most medical schools while completing requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Therapy. After completing your undergraduate degree, you may (at your option) apply for admission to medical school. If accepted, you may decide to work as a respiratory therapist before and during medical school. Regardless of medical school admission status, graduates of the respiratory therapy program have a marketable professional credential in healthcare

Upon completion of the Bachelor’s of Science in Respiratory Therapy, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the physiological bases for all therapeutic interventions and diagnostic procedures in all areas of respiratory therapy practice
  • Demonstrate proficiency in implementing all respiratory therapy treatment and diagnostic procedures
  • Demonstrate proficiency in interpreting physical exam findings, cardiopulmonary monitoring data, laboratory data, and diagnostic imaging information
  • Demonstrate problem solving and critical thinking skills as consultants to physicians and other healthcare personnel in developing cardiopulmonary care strategies
  • Demonstrate proficiency in establishing an evidence base for best practice through the critique and interpretation of the professional scientific literature
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the ethical obligations and responsibilities of healthcare professionals and institutions
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the legal, social and economic environments in which the healthcare institutions function
  • Demonstrate effective cross-cultural and interdisciplinary human interaction skills in the healthcare setting and the broader community
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current issues and trends in healthcare, including public policy, access and reimbursement issues
  • Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication
  • Educate patients and the general public in matters of cardiopulmonary health and chronic disease management

Major in Respiratory Therapy:

ANT 171, BIO 207, 208, 209; CHE 109, 110 or CHE 111, 112; COM 110; ENG 121; MAT 103; NUR 317; PHY 203; PSY 201; RTH 301, 305, 307, 320, 335, 411, 416, 418, 420, 422, 426, 427, 428, 430, 436, 438, 441, 450 and 452

Major in Respiratory Therapy with Pre-Med Track:

In addition to (or in place of) the course in the Respiratory Therapy major: BIO 103: CHE 111, 112 (to replace the CHE 109, 110 sequence), CHE 217, 318 (CHE 310 is recommended); PHY 304.

CHI Healthcare Leaders Scholarship

CHI Healthcare Leaders

If you're a North Dakota high school graduate, learn how you can get up to $12,000 towards your education today.

Find out more

Even as one of the most affordable private universities in the nation, the University of Mary does offer a variety of scholarships. In fact, 99% of main campus undergraduate students receive some form of scholarship! 

Some scholarships are available for specific academic programs, such as nursing, while other scholarships are available for certain student populations, such as military and veteran students

We strongly encourage you to contact your personal admissions representative to discover all of the options that might be available to you. In many cases, a program specific scholarship is just one component of a complete financial aid package. 

Our admissions professionals will work together with our Office of Financial Assistance to ensure that you get the best financial aid package possible to finance your education. 

To qualify for admission to the professional program, students must complete all pre-professional requirements with a minimum grade of "C" in each course and an overall grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Students who successfully complete these requirements must submit a separate application to the Respiratory Therapy Department to be considered for admission to the professional program. The application deadline is February 15 of the sophomore year for admission to the fall semester of the same year.

Please contact the program advisor or our admissions office for more details.

Acceptance at the University of Mary does not automatically qualify you to pursue a program in one of the academic programs of study. Application requirements are specific to each major or academic program.

We recommend consulting your advisor for details. Applications are reviewed by the faculty members of the program. You will be notified that you have been admitted, admitted provisionally, or denied admission to the program.


Program Advisors:
Christine Sperle, Chair and Director
Jessica Arndt, Director of Clinical Education
Dr. Will Beachey, Professor
Dr. Elizabeth Hughes, Associate Professor

For more information about the Respiratory Therapy bachelor’s degree program, please contact University of Mary Admissions at 800-288-6279.

If you are thinking about pursuing a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy, you might also be interested in the following undergraduate and program offered at the University of Mary:

The BS in Respiratory Therapy also provides a foundation for application to other patient care professions offered at the graduate and doctoral levels at the University of Mary, including: