Program Overview

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Bachelor's Quick Entry
  • RRT to BHS Completion Program

Respiratory care, also known as respiratory therapy, is a profession that specializes in providing care to patients who have illnesses that affect heart and lung function. Respiratory therapists are uniquely qualified to assist in diagnosing, treating, and managing acute and chronic cardiopulmonary disorders.

Baptist University's Respiratory Therapy program is 1 of only 3 bachelor's degree programs in Tennessee and 1 of around 70 colleges and universities in the U.S.

$62,816 Median Salary
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for Respiratory Therapists

Bachelor's Degree

A Respiratory Care Bachelor's Degree at Baptist University provides a strong foundation in general studies and comprehensive professional courses that emphasize the science of cardiopulmonary pathophysiology which prepares students to become registered respiratory therapist (RRT).

The curriculum is designed to prepare students to develop the knowledge and skills needed to perform the responsibilities of an entry-level respiratory therapist. The curriculum consists of general education and health studies courses integrated with professional coursework in allied health and respiratory care, with an emphasis on cardiopulmonary science.


Courses and learning experiences that are unique to the Baptist University program include:

  • Applied Anatomy and Physiology using Clinical Simulation
  • Applied Pathophysiology using Clinical Simulation
  • Ongoing Physician Interaction Learning Activities with Pulmonologists
  • Aspects of Leadership for Health Sciences Professionals
  • Clinical Internship in Respiratory Care
  • Community and Public Health for the Respiratory Care Practitioner
  • Expanded Clinical Practices in Respiratory Care
  • Interprofessional Education Learning Activities with other Allied Health and Nursing

Bachelor's Quick Entry

Advanced Progression provides students who have been selected into the Respiratory Care program a pathway to begin taking professional-level courses earlier than usual.

Learn More About
Advanced Progression

RRT to BHS Completion Program

The RRT to Bachelor of Health Sciences program is designed for licensed registered respiratory therapists who want to expand their career options and improve their earning potential.

Learn More About

Respiratory Therapy students in classroom lab
  • Faith-Based Atmosphere
  • Small Class Sizes
  • Enrollment 3 Times per year
    Can enroll during fall, spring or
    summer trimester
  • Classroom, Laboratory, and Clinical Experiences
  • Relationship with Baptist Memorial Health Care

“Graduating from the Respiratory Care program at Baptist University continues to benefit me in my professional career. The program’s diverse clinical experiences led me to find an area of practice that I loved and prepared me for that role as a respiratory therapist caring for neonatal and pediatric patients. Through the professional courses in the curriculum, I discovered my love for teaching and learning which has encouraged me to pursue graduate school.”

Samantha Richards, Respiratory Care Alumni
Credentialing Exam Pass Rate
3-year Total
Job Placement
3-year Total
Retention Rate
3-year Total
practicing respiratory therapy

Job Responsibilities for a Respiratory Therapist

  • Uniquely qualified
    to assist in diagnosing, treating, and managing acute and chronic cardiopulmonary disorders
  • Treat patients
    in every age group
  • Assist physicians
    in diagnostic interventions such as cardiac catheterizations, lung biopsies, and sleep studies
  • Participate
    in specialized teams for emergent care such as rapid response teams, EMS transport, high-risk labor and delivery team

Program Accreditation

The Respiratory Care program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). CoARC holds recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The CoARC number for our program is 200448. CoARC, 264 Precision Blvd. Telford, TN 37690; 817-283-2835

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 Baptist Health Sciences University program number is 200448


Students participate in required courses to develop professional behaviors related to leadership, teaching, and community and public health. Learning activities in these courses allow students to engage with health care leaders as
they learn about managing and leading health care teams, studying and conducting continuous quality improvement,
and developing and facilitating patient/family education. Having this knowledge and skill sets the Baptist University
graduate apart from others.

Program Mission

The Respiratory Care program of Baptist Health Sciences University will “prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice, as performed by registered respiratory therapists”. As bachelors of health sciences program, the curriculum “prepares leaders for the field of respiratory care by including curricular content that includes objectives related to the acquisition of skills in one or more of the following: management, education, research, advanced clinical practice (which may include an area of clinical specialization)”. (CoARC, 3.01, 2018)

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the respiratory care program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competence in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists.
  • Demonstrate competence in the interpretation of cardiopulmonary diagnostic testing, basic respiratory care techniques, pulmonary function, radiographic and laboratory studies.
  • Provide basic and advanced respiratory care therapeutics, in a variety of health care settings, with an ability to safely treat and evaluate patients’ response.
  • Appropriately implement a plan for patient and staff education techniques with consideration to culturally competent behaviors and professional domains.
  • Effectively collaborate to provide direction and input into decisions regarding the provision of respiratory care services and resources.

Clinical Experiences

Students participate in a variety of clinical experiences designed to prepare them for the diverse practices of the profession. Clinical practicum hours begin during a student’s junior year and continue through the senior year. During students’ graduating term, senior students have the opportunity to select and design a professional internship that aligns with their individual goals for future practice as a respiratory therapist.

Clinical Experiences

  • Adult general care
  • Adult critical care
  • Pediatric general care
  • Pediatric critical care
  • Perinatal critical care
  • Diagnostics, pulmonary function testing
  • Sleep disorders evaluation
  • Home care
  • Management

Clinical Partnerships

  • Baptist Memorial Health Care
  • Baptist Memphis
  • Baptist DeSoto
  • Baptist Women’s and Childrens
  • Baptist Collierville
  • Baptist Restorative Care
  • Baptist Home Medical Equipment
  • Memphis Lung Physicians Surgery/Intubation Clinical Site
  • LeBonheur Children’s Hospital
  • St Jude Children’s Hospital
  • Regional One Health (formerly The MED)
  • Baptist Medical Group/Memphis Lung Physicians (DeSoto and Memphis)

Technical Standards

Technical Standards for Matriculation, Retention, and Graduation for Respiratory Care

The Baptist Health Sciences University Respiratory Care program, offers two degree pathways, as applicable to professional practice.  The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care requires the entry-to-practice degree pathway prepare, “graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).” (CoARC Standard, 3:01). As a bachelor-degree conferring program, the CoARC also requires the entry-to-practice program and the degree advancement program to prepare “leaders for the field of respiratory care by including curricular content with objectives related to the acquisition of skills in one or more of the following: management, education, research and advanced clinical practice (which may include an area of clinical specialization).” (CoARC Standard 3:01)

To assure that candidates for selection, matriculation, and graduation are able to complete the degree course of study and participate fully in all aspects of didactic, laboratory, and clinical practicum education and training, with or without reasonable accommodations, candidates and students selected from matriculation are expected to consistently demonstrate essential behaviors, as applicable to the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains of learning. 

Candidates seeking selection into the program and students matriculating through the program must demonstrate competency in five requisite domains: observation and sensory; communication; motor; cognitive-conceptual; and behavioral and social attributes. Demonstration of identified competencies is intended to facilitate safety of the individual, patients, and others in diverse educational settings to include, but not limited to clinical practicum settings.

The Baptist University Respiratory Care Program is committed to the selection and matriculation of qualified students and does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, gender, marital status, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, creed, or religion. Candidates with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations, if needed to meet defined technical standards by following the University’s policies and procedures and contacting Access Services. As applicable, all candidates and students must be able to perform outlined technical standards in an independent manner. 

The national board examinations for respiratory therapy may have more stringent technical standards than outlined in this document. 

Students who accept an offer of admission from Baptist University, under the entry-to practice or the degree advancement pathway will be required to sign an affirmation regarding compliance with the technical standards. Should a student's ability to meet the technical standards change during their enrollment in the academic program, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Program Chair and Access Services through written communication.

Observation and Sensory

Students enrolled in program-level courses, to include but limited to clinical practicum courses, must be able to acquire a defined level of information in both the clinical and biomedical sciences. Candidates and students must be able to obtain information from demonstrations and experiments in the biomedical and basic sciences. Students must be able to:

  • perform physical examinations of patients within the scope of respiratory care practice using inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation techniques; and
  • evaluate clinical data, to include but not limited to biological specimens, electrocardiographic, ventilator graphic displays, and radiographic images, identifying detail as appropriate to the data.

The observation and information acquisition noted above will require candidates to have functional, assisted or unassisted use of visual, auditory and touch sensations.


Candidates for selection and students matriculating through the program must be able to:

  • use grammar, terminology, affect, and sensitivity appropriately to facilitate verbal, written, and nonverbal communication;
  • observe patients and others in order to elicit information, detect and describe changes in behavior to include but not limited to activity, and posture;
  • perceive nonverbal communications, as applicable to sensorium and level of consciousness; and
  • establish therapeutic relationships with patients, healthcare professionals, and others.
  • Communication includes speech, reading and writing or the functional equivalent.


As appropriate to the course of study, students must possess the capacity to:

  • perform physical examinations, to include, but limited thoracic exam, using palpation and percussion techniques, 
  • apply fine motor skills to manipulate needles, syringes, small devices and appliances, as needed to perform airway management procedures and blood gas sampling, as applicable to diagnostic and therapeutic procedures;
  • use gross motor skills for activities that require standing and walking for extended periods of time, positioning and transporting patients, lifting and moving equipment weighing greater than 10 pounds, and participating in emergency care to include, but not limited to cardiopulmonary resuscitation;

These activities require some physical mobility, coordination of both gross and fine motor neuromuscular function, in addition to balance and equilibrium.

Cognitive - Conceptual

Students matriculating through the program must be able to demonstrate skills that require them to:

  • analysis, interpret, and evaluate information drawn from physical exam and clinical findings, to include but not limited to radiographic imaging and laboratory studies;
  • use information to determine reasonable action to include, but not limited to making inferences for decision-making and problem-solve when providing therapeutic and diagnostic-related interventions; and
  • apply basic mathematical skills needed to perform calculations, using the data provided; 

Technical competencies related to the cognitive-conceptual are also required for comprehending, processing and applying information gained from course materials to include but not limited to textbook content, class discussion, scientific and journal literature, in addition to materials related to laboratory courses and information received through clinical experiences, to include but limited to medical rounds. 

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Students matriculating through the program must exercise appropriate judgment and demonstrate professional behaviors to include, but not limited to:

  • communicating with patients, healthcare professionals, and others using acceptable verbal and nonverbal language, when conducting patient interviews and instruction, performing physical exams, therapeutic and diagnostic interventions, interacting as part of the healthcare team when rounding, consulting to plan care, and participating in therapeutic and diagnostic intervention, when interacting with family and/or caregivers during therapeutic and diagnostic interventions when family and/or caregivers are present.
  • managing emotions when providing care interventions under stressful conditions, to include, but not limited to participating in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and withdrawal of mechanical ventilatory support; 
  • adapting to acute and rapidly changing conditions, as determined by patient’s clinical presentation  and needs or the changing clinical needs of multiple patients, as may emergency department and critical care settings;
  • demonstrating empathy and compassion, particularly when interacting with patients, family/caregivers, healthcare professionals and others; 
  • practicing with integrity and veracity when administering and documenting procedures performed; and
  • seeking assistance, as needed to ensure patient safety and individual safety, particularly when performing therapeutic and diagnostic interventions in clinical practice and laboratory instructional settings.

Students are also expected to demonstrate the technical competencies related to the behavioral and affective attributes when interacting with faculty and their peers. These behaviors are applicable regardless of the person's age, class, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation (or lack thereof), gender identification, ability, sexual orientation, and value system.

Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities 

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other applicable laws, Baptist Health Sciences University provides reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified students with verified disabilities. An accommodation will not be provided if it would result in the fundamental alteration of the university’s programs, services or activities, or if it would impose undue financial or administrative burdens on the University. The office that assists students with disabilities at Baptist Health Sciences University is Access Services.

Additional information about Baptist Health Sciences University’s services for students with disabilities may be found at If student circumstances should change related to these technical standards, the student will promptly notify the Respiratory Care Program Chair and/or Access Services, if reasonable accommodations are required at any point.