Respiratory therapy students practice intubation

Graduate Programs

5 Reasons Bellarmine’s Respiratory Therapy Program is Tops in the Nation

Health Professions

College Choice and both rank Bellarmine University’s Respiratory Therapy degree as the best in the nation.  

Respiratory therapists are specialized healthcare practitioners with training and expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and management of cardiopulmonary diseases, including mechanical ventilation in emergency, critical-care and long-term care settings. 

Respiratory therapists have a strong job market. They earn above the median income in the United States, with a median salary of just under $70,000 a year, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 22 percent growth in the Respiratory Therapy job market over the next decade, which is much faster than average. 

College Choice, a website that offers college rankings and resources, develops its rankings based on factors including institutional merit, student fulfillment, and return on investment., which uses similar factors in its rankings, named Bellarmine the intelligent choice for future respiratory therapy professionals, giving it a top score of 99.42 out of 100.

Here are five reasons that both of these websites say Bellarmine’s Respiratory Program is tops in the nation. 


Types of degrees offered

Bellarmine offers both a Bachelor of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy degree and a Master of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy degree. With just the bachelor’s degree, graduates will be able to step directly into the profession. The entry-level Respiratory Therapy graduate program is one of five in the nation. As an entry-to-practice program, no prior healthcare experience is required for admission to the master’s program. 


Board exam pass rates for graduates

The undergraduate program was awarded the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (COARC)’s Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success for five consecutive years, from 2013 through 2017, and also for 2020. Both undergraduate and graduate students exhibit credentialing success higher than the national average. 


Curricular design

Bellarmine offers a robust combination of in-person and virtual classes, labs and clinical experiences. All full-time and part-time faculty members are practicing respiratory therapists who are on top of industry trends and practices. 


Clinical experiences

Bellarmine Respiratory Therapy students complete more than 800 hours of clinical experience across varying patient populations in Louisville, a regional health-care hub.  


Reputation of the program/recruitment of students

College Choice also ranked the Bellarmine University Respiratory Therapy program as No. 1 in the nation in 2018. One hundred percent of Bellarmine’s respiratory therapy graduates get jobs—in fact, many land full-time jobs before they graduate. 


Visit the Master of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy program page for program details, frequently asked questions and the application process.

Tags: Graduate Programs , Healthcare , Respiratory Therapy



Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.