West Chester University, in conjunction with Bryn Mawr Hospital, offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Care. Students are afforded the opportunity to enter the challenging health care field as Respiratory Care Professionals through the unique partnership of an institution of higher learning and a well-respected teaching hospital. Respiratory Care Professionals work to evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. They include those patients who have been born prematurely and whose lungs are not fully developed, patients who have lung disease, and those requiring assistance from life support technology.
The mission of the West Chester University/Bryn Mawr Hospital Respiratory Care Program is to provide students with a comprehensive academic and clinical curriculum that allows graduates to serve the medical community as competent, ethical, and professional Respiratory Therapists who are committed to life-long learning.
Upon completion of the Respiratory Care Program, graduates will function as an advanced-level practitioner who utilizes effective communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills in the clinical setting with a strong commitment to the importance of patient safety.
Brian Kellar, MS, MEd, RRT-NPS, RPFT
Susan Powell, MBA, RRT-NPS, RPFT, AE-C
General Education/Supporting Requirements:
Professional Health Courses:
Students are required to achieve a letter grade of "C-" or better in all General Education/Supporting Courses and a letter grade of "C" or better in all Professional Health Courses. An overall GPA of 2.5 is required prior to the continuation to the first clinical practice course. In addition, professional courses must be taken in sequence and combination as listed on the advising sheet.
The percentage of Program Graduates in a three-year cohort (2011, 2012, and 2013) who have achieved the RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) credential is 97%
The number of Program Graduates who have achieved the RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) credential within one year of graduation is as follows:
|Year||Number of Graduates||RRT Credential 1-Year Post Graduation|
Michael William Sheehan
Two years ago when I first heard of the WCU/BMH Respiratory Care Program, I was not aware of RT’s and what their role in the hospital entailed. I have never had breathing problems or seen anyone on life support, but after some research and talking to RT’s, I decided that this profession would be one that would constantly challenge me and satisfy my desire to learn and help others.
The program has allowed me to experience incredible things and thanks to its thorough and sometimes grueling curriculum, my time-management, critical thinking, and analytical skills have improved drastically since I started out as freshman on campus.
Training to become an RT is like training for most other jobs. I believe to properly learn how to do something, is to do it with hands on work. Anyone can memorize data and formulas to pass a test but the ability to apply the formulas in the ‘real world’ effectively is invaluable.
The internships that most other students participate in are the equivalent to the clinical rotations that most allied health majors are required to complete. Clinical rotations for the WCU/BMH Respiratory Program required that we attend nine weeks of floor care over the summer, followed by one day a week in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the fall, and by our last spring semester, four days a week in the ICU. From Day One on the floors to now, I have grown into a much more confident and competent Student RT.
One of the most beneficial aspects of the program is the variety of hospitals that we are affiliated with. From inner city to small suburban hospitals, I have been exposed to many patients and scenarios. It was tough at first, transitioning from one hospital to another without really getting a chance to become familiar with your surroundings. But, as time went on I learned how to adapt quickly and take bits and pieces of other RT’s methods of performing tasks and creating my own routine from them.
In conclusion, I feel that I am ready for graduation and the challenges that will be presented afterward. Being a part of the Respiratory Care program has molded me into a more mature individual, not only from the course work, but also from the confidence gained clinically. I would recommend this major to anyone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge and enjoys helping others.
About five years ago, I began my college journey and never did I think I would have been where I am today, only a few months away from graduating as a Respiratory Therapist. I started my freshman year at West Chester University as a student athlete on the field hockey team with an undeclared major. I then earned my EMT certification during the summer to enter into the College of Health Sciences as a General Health Science major. Being a student athlete in college presented me with many challenges, as well as great successes and rewards. My teammates and coaches have not only helped shape me into the person I am today but also led me on the path to becoming a part of the WCU/BMH Respiratory Care Program.
I didn’t know much about what a Respiratory Therapist’s job entailed other than what I was told from a few teammates who were currently in the major. So, as I begin to schedule my classes for what should be my last semester, I decided to enroll in one of the respiratory classes that was open to non-majors. Immediately following that class, I emailed to director of the program expressing my interest and sat down for an interview. Before I knew it, I became a member of the Respiratory Care Program and the class of 2018 and would enroll in another two years of school.
Although this Program may have a vigorous curriculum including both classroom and clinical experiences, I believe it has and continues to set the path for success. A major benefit to the WCU/BMH Care Program is the amount of hospital affiliations. As a result, we are exposed to many different situations and gain a great deal of knowledge from the diversity of hospitals we are able to attend. Although at first it was tough to get settled, the more experiences and exposure I received, the more my confidence grew. From day one until now, I can say my skills, my knowledge, and my courage have improved significantly thanks to all the instructors and classmates I have had the chance to work with.
The WCU/BMH Respiratory Care Program has opened my eyes to the world of Respiratory Care and the importance we play in patient care. I knew I wanted to have a career in the medical field, to be able to help people, to be challenged, and hopefully make a difference; this career allows me to do just that. I am excited for what the future holds and cannot wait to begin my journey as a Respiratory Therapist!
When I walked in for my interview for the Respiratory Care Program at West Chester University, I was very excited and hopeful for the opportunity to continue my education in a field that I knew was both interesting and exciting. I clearly understood the demands and intensity of the Program but honestly, that just enhanced my interest even more. Receiving my acceptance letter just a few short days later was one of the best feelings ever.
Honestly, I did not expect the Program to be as demanding as it was. Very early in my first semester I had to do some prioritizing to assure a successful outcome. Prioritizing was actually my first and most valuable lesson learned in the Program. I also adapted very quickly to organizing a full schedule, as my first semester consisted of 5 core classes of somewhat intricate and foreign material. Prioritizing and organizing were both life skills being indirectly taught to me, and carried me throughout the Program.
Training to become a Respiratory Therapist requires a slightly different learning style then what is traditionally taught. It is more than just memorization and recognizing an answer when you see it again. Instead, it requires application and critical thinking, which was taught throughout the Program. Both have also proven to be invaluable skills. I’ve been taught to look at a scenario and come up with a plan through dissection and comprehension. So having an understanding of the material, rather than memorizing it, is key to being successful in the Program. The professors of the Respiratory Care Program are all dedicated to our education and for that I am most grateful that I chose West Chester University and the Respiratory Care Program for my healthcare education.
Our clinical rotations are one of the best experiences of it all. The variety of hospitals our Program is affiliated with is unreal. From the smallest suburban hospital to the city’s largest trauma center, you literally get to see it all. We rotate to different hospital sites, so we get to work with a diverse group of skilled and seasoned therapist. This was the time for me to tie everything that I learned in the classroom together and to really become comfortable with patient interaction and patient care. From my first day of clinical to now, I have grown into a skilled and confident Respiratory Therapist.
The knowledge I’ve gained in the 15 months since starting the Program, has me very eager and excited for my career as a Respiratory Therapist. The West Chester University Respiratory Care Program has also afforded students, such as myself, the opportunity to complete and externship during our last year at participating hospitals. Being able to work a few hours a week in a Respiratory Care department while surrounded by practicing Respiratory Therapist has afforded me an opportunity to gain additional insight into the profession. We have such a reputable Respiratory Care Program, that hospitals have already started to offer our seniors job opportunities following graduation. These are the moments when I’m most grateful for our grueling curriculum because it puts our Program ahead of the rest and it shows in our performance.
I would encourage anyone with a passion to help those struggling to perform the most basic life functions, necessary for survival, to seriously consider West Chester University Respiratory Care Program as a career choice. You will be challenged and sometimes pushed beyond your comfort zone, but in the end, you will have gained exceptional skills that will make you a valuable part of any team in healthcare.
The Program offers assistance with employment to all of our graduates who wish to enter the workforce. A large percentage of graduates secure employment immediately post graduation. The Program enlists the assistance of twelve clinical sites to complete the educational process. Most graduates become employees of those institutions; however, respiratory care professionals are needed throughout the United States. There are even opportunities to work in underdeveloped countries for extraordinarily high salaries.
AARC State Societies
(links available to 46 state societies)
(organizations with which AARC has an official liaison)
(agencies of interest to the respiratory care community)
Health Care Organizations
(other health care associations and organizations)
(useful online services)
The West Chester University/Bryn Mawr Hospital Respiratory Care Program, located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, awards a BS degree in Health Science: Respiratory Care. This Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).