Master of Health ScienceRespiratory Therapy

Student practicing on dummy

Prepare for a career in healthcare in the high-demand field of respiratory therapy.


Do you want a degree that guarantees a job? Our full-time entry-to-practice Master of Respiratory Therapy degree takes you straight into a career helping people breathe easy! This program provides a strong foundation in clinical practice, education, and research.

Why choose Respiratory Therapy at Bellarmine?

The Master of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy is a two-year graduate program focused on preparing individuals for an exciting career as a respiratory therapist. This is one of only five programs of its kind in the nation. The program focuses on developing strong clinical skills as well as a preparing leaders in the profession in the areas of education and research. As an entry-to-practice program, no prior health care experience is required for admission.

Respiratory therapists are healthcare professionals who evaluate and treat persons of all ages having lung and heart disorders. The Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that this career will grow by 21% over the next 10 years-well above average career projections for other fields. Respiratory therapists find careers in multiple settings including hospitals, home care, and rehabilitation.

Transcript Review

We can provide feedback about your transcript(s) and coursework. Simply complete the form below by attaching unofficial copies of your transcript(s).

Program Highlights

Bellarmine Respiratory Therapy graduates boast a 100% pass rate on the Certified Respiratory Therapy credentials between 2016 and 2018. According to AARC Human Resource Survey, only 10.7% of current respiratory therapists have a master’s degree. Combine that with the courses in healthcare leadership and health promotion and our program graduates are prepared to lead in their industry.

While in the program, students complete 72 semester hours. Students acquire approximately 700 hours of clinical experience at our partner facilities. The technical standards for the program include minimum standards of observation, motor function, behavioral-social capabilities and communication. A list of the technical standards may be obtained from the Respiratory Therapy Department website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a demand for respiratory therapists?
Yes. Demand for this career is projected to grow by 21 percent over the next 10 years, this is well above the national average and that means an RT degree is a good investment in your future.

What are the prerequisite course requirements for a master’s in RT?
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, students must have 8 hours of anatomy and physiology I and II, 4 hours of microbiology, 4 hours of general chemistry, 3-4 hours of physics, 3 hours of psychology, 3-4 hours of pathophysiology, and 3-4 hours of statistics. Complete our transcript review to see if you meet our minimum requirements.

Will I need to find my own clinical placement?
No. We work with area hospitals to place our students for their clinical rotations.

Can I work while I get my RT degree?
This is a rigorous program, with a great deal of time devoted to in-class lecture, labs, and clinical experiences. We strongly encourage students to devote their time to the program for the best career outcomes.

How much time would I need to spend outside of class to be prepared for class?
On average, we recommend three hours outside of class to prepare for each hour of instruction. However, this will vary with the content of the courses(s) you are taking each semester.

Would I be eligible for any financial assistance?
Yes. You will want to file the FAFSA and apply for federal loans at Graduate students are eligible for loans in the amount of $20,500 per academic year (fall, spring and summer) while enrolled.

Can I visit a class to get a better feel for the program?
Yes. You are welcome to visit a class. To schedule a visit, please contact Dr. Christy Kane directly at 502.272.8424 or

Student Story

T. Johnston

“The people at Bellarmine are like a second family. The faculty are not only teachers but true mentors. The connections you make here will last a lifetime. And the opportunities available to all students here, to make connections and to not only learn your discipline but to work with others are incredibly valuable. Completing my undergraduate and graduate studies at Bellarmine was an easy choice.”

Thomas Johnston ’17 ’19 MHS-RT

Faculty Profiles

Here is a quick snapshot of a few of our faculty members.


Christy Kane, Ph.D., RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, AE-C, FAARC 
Dr. Kane completed an Associate of Applied Science degree from Vincennes University as well as a Bachelor of Health Science degree, a Master of Education, and a PhD from the University of Louisville. She served as the Director of Clinical Education at the University of Louisville’s respiratory program for six years. In 2001, the University of Louisville’s Respiratory Therapy Department moved to Bellarmine. Dr. Kane was appointed the department chair in 2008. In addition to her role in respiratory therapy, Dr. Kane also serves as the chair of Bellarmine’s PhD in Health Professions Education Program. In 2016, American Association for Respiratory Care honored her service with a fellowship. Dr. Kane is the current president-elect of the Coalition for Baccalaureate and Graduate Respiratory Therapy Education (CoBGRTE), with her term beginning in 2020. Dr. Kane has numerous peer-reviewed publications as well as presentations at state, regional, and national conferences

Sarah Pehlke, MHS, RRT

Sarah Pehlke, MHS, RRT
Sarah Pehlke is a proud two-time Bellarmine University alum, completing her Bachelor of Health Science in Respiratory (2013) and Master of Health Science in Education (2015). Sarah’s experience in respiratory therapy includes neonatal and pediatric intensive care. She served as the pediatric hospital’s first respiratory therapy clinical coordinator, where she collaborated on a multi-disciplinary team to implement practice changes. Her collaborative work resulted in a poster presentation at the American Thoracic Society national conference. Now, Sarah is working toward her PhD in Health Professions Education. Scholarship interests include: student development, teaching, asthma, and neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

Admission Requirements

Students must submit an application on the Centralized Application Service. We require a bachelor’s degree, with a GPA of at least 2.75. Students should have completed all pre-requisite course work with a GPA of at least 3.0. We ask students to submit an essay, and 2 professional references. We do not require the GRE. For the full admission process, visit admission requirements page.

Tuition and Fees

Visit our Graduate Tuition and Fees page for the most up-to-date tuition and fees information.

Financial Assistance
At Bellarmine, we recognize that the cost of private higher education is a major consideration for you, and we are committed to providing you with a high-quality education at a reasonable cost. Our staff will work closely with you to explore all the resources and funding options available. Our goal is to ensure that every student receives our best offer of financial assistance and that your affordable investment in a Bellarmine education is a reality. Federal student loans are available for eligible students and students may choose to apply to local hospital scholarship-to-work programs. For more information on how to fund your Bellarmine education, please visit and The Bellarmine school code is 001954.

Respiratory Therapy Program Accreditation

The Respiratory Therapy Program (CoARC program number #200281, offering the Bachelor of Health Science degree in Louisville, KY) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)  (

The Respiratory Therapy Program (CoARC program number #220281 offering the Master of Health Science degree in Louisville, KY) holds Provisional Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care ( 

This status signifies that a program with an Approval of Intent has demonstrated sufficient compliance with the Standards (through submission of an acceptable Provisional Accreditation Self Study Report (PSSR) and any other documentation required by CoARC, as well as satisfactory completion of an initial on-site visit) to be allowed to admit students. It is recognized as an accredited program by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), which provides enrolled students who complete the program with eligibility for the Respiratory Care Credentialing Examination(s). The program will remain on Provisional Accreditation until it achieves Continuing Accreditation.

Disclosure for Students who Reside Outside of Kentucky

Bellarmine University cannot confirm whether its courses or programs meet requirements for professional licensure in states other than Kentucky. Prior to enrolling in a Bellarmine program, a student who does not reside in Kentucky should contact applicable licensing board(s) in the student’s home state to determine whether the program meets requirements for licensure in the state where the student resides.

Respiratory Therapy licensure contacts:

Contact Information

Dr. Christy Kane, Associate Professor and Program Chair
502.272.8424 or

James Standard, Senior Graduate Admission Officer
502.272.8351 or

Office of Graduate Admission
502.272.7200, 800.274.4723 x.7200