Respiratory therapists work in a rapidly changing, fast-paced medical environment and possess advanced knowledge for the care and treatment of patients with cardiopulmonary deficiencies and diseases. Respiratory therapy is a health profession that functions in the diagnosis, treatment, management, and preventive care of patients with medical disorders such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, croup, bronchitis, and newborn and acute respiratory distress. These professionals utilize their specialized knowledge, critical thinking, clinical expertise, and interpersonal skills to care directly for patients. The respiratory therapist is proficient in the therapeutic use of medical gases, humidification, aerosols, artificial airways, mechanical ventilation, chest physiotherapy, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
To obtain required knowledge and skills needed for respiratory therapy, students must follow a prescribed sequence of academic and clinical courses. Core 39 courses also are required for completion of degree requirements. All Core 39 courses and most respiratory therapy (REST) courses are taught on campus. Clinical courses are conducted at various clinical sites including Deaconess Hospital, St. Vincent Evansville, Deaconess Gateway-Evansville, Community Methodist-Owensboro, Select-Vincennes, and other area health care facilities.
The program involves four years of continuous full-time study. To complete the program, students must complete all required pre-requisite courses, Core 39 courses, and respiratory therapy courses. Core 39 courses may be completed on a part-time basis prior to entering the program, or they can be transferred from other approved institutions. Students interested in completing Core 39 courses prior to entering the program or transferring credits should contact the program chair.
A Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Therapy is awarded to students who successfully complete the program. Graduates are eligible to take the examinations (entry-level and registry) given by the National Board for Respiratory Care and become registered therapists (R.R.T.) upon successful completion of the credentialing process.
The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). CoARC is located at 264 Precision Blvd., Telford, TN 37690 and can be reached at 817-510-1063.
Applicants must apply and be accepted to the University of Southern Indiana before being admitted to the respiratory therapy program. This includes payment of an application fee as well as submission of high school and college/university transcripts to Undergraduate Admissions, 8600 University Blvd., Evansville, IN 47712.
In addition, applicants must complete and submit a separate Respiratory Therapy Program application that can be found at www.usi.edu/health/respiratory-therapy or in the College of Nursing and Health Professions (812-464-1708). Prior to acceptance into the respiratory therapy program, students are classified as pre-respiratory therapy majors. Enrollment in pre-respiratory therapy does not ensure admission to the respiratory therapy program.
After completion of the first-year pre-requisite courses and 12 hours of scheduled observation in repsiratory therapy, pre-respiratory therapy students are eligible to apply to the respiratory therapy program. The completed application must be submitted to the respiratory therapy program by October 1 of the year the student desires admission to the program. Due to limited enrollment, applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. A complete set of official high school and any college/university transcripts must be included with the program application form.
Admission to the program is competitive and the selection of applicants is based on the following criteria:
- Applicants must have a minimum high school or college grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or above based on a 4.0 scale.
- Applicants are required to complete 12 hours of observation in a hospital respiratory therapy department and submit an observation verification form. The observation verification form can be found at www.usi.edu/health/respiratory-therapy and must be submitted with the application.
- Completion of all required pre-requisite courses by the application deadline of October 1.
- Students must be in good health, eligible for respiratory therapy certification and capable of fulfilling clinical practice requirements.
Applications will be scored using the following guidelines - 26 points possible:
- Applicants must have a grade point average in the required first year pre-requisite courses of at least 2.5 or above based on a 4.0 scale. GPA will be then be multiplied by six for a total maximum of 24 points.
- Up to 2 points will be awarded for health care experience: 2 points for direct health care work (i.e. CNA or EMT), or 1 point for non-direct health care work experience (i.e. receptionist, pharmacy tech) or for completion of a health occupation program.
- In the event that applicants have equivalent qualifications, SAT and/or ACT scores will be considered.
Degree Completion Option
The degree completion option of the respiratory therapy program allows practicing registered respiratory therapists with the NBRC credential RRT to earn a Bachelor of Science degree with a major of respiratory therapy through 100% online coursework. Individuals entering the degree completion program in respiratory therapy must have completed a CoARC accredited associate degree program in respiratory therapy and must hold a current National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) credential in Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). Admission requirements and program required coursework can be found at Respiratory Therapy Major, Degree Completion Option, B.S.