Respiratory Care

Program Overview

Respiratory care is a life supporting, life-enhancing health care profession. Become a RT and you’ll be saving lives, enhancing the quality of life and bringing comfort to patients every day. This professional allied health specialty uses scientific principles to identify, evaluate, treat, and care for people with breathing issues and acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. An important member of the health care team, respiratory therapists work with all types of patients, ranging from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people whose lungs are diseased.

The future holds great promise for those educated in Respiratory Care. Respiratory therapists provide complex therapies that require independent judgement and the use of sophisticated medical equipment. Respiratory care is a unique field, blending hands –on patient care with advanced technology. Respiratory therapists also have a major role in educating patients and families about heart and lung disease to promote optimal health and recovery. Our Respiratory Care program's goal is to develop professionals who are willing and prepared to help those with cardiac and pulmonary issues obtain better health. The respiratory care program at WU offers a Bachelor of Science degree with a proven track record of producing leaders in the field. Our liberal arts approach means that you will graduate with oral and written communication skills, greater ethical reasoning and critical thinking skills.

The Respiratory Care Practitioner program, CoARC program 200264 BS degree awarded at WU in Wheeling, WV is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.


  • Is one of roughly 67 programs which awards a Bachelor of Science degree out of 433 programs in the US
  • Is a fully accredited program since the start of the major in 1979
  • Uses Diverse clinical affiliates from small community hospitals to large University medical settings, chosen for their specialties and to provide our students with the most current therapies and technology in the local and regional area
  • Assist students in preparing to take the professional licensure examination, with a 100% pass rate the last 5 years
  • Prepares student to pursue study in graduate programs if desired
RETH 345 Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care
RETH 363 Clinical Orientation
RETH 466 Principles of Critical Care
RETH 340 Advanced Ventilation and Adjunctive Therapies
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The Respiratory Therapy program is designed to develop student who will be eligible for careers within:

The Hospital setting – caring for inpatients who may be in the Intensive care units, the Emergency Department, or the General care areas. You may find your patient navigator/case manager to be a Respiratory Therapist if you have heart or lung disease.

Outpatient setting- treating and testing patients to help diagnose the patient’s disease in the Pulmonary function lab, Sleep lab or in Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

In the home, caring and educating patients on their disease process and on their prescribed treatments, medications and needed equipment to maintain their ability to remain at home.

Industry setting – as a clinical/equipment specialist or pharmaceutical sales

Many graduates with application and acceptance to a graduate program of choice, the following professions are possible:

Physical Therapist/ Occupational Therapist/ Physician Assistant/Perfusionist/ Physician/ Chiropractor
Stegar TB scholarship - This scholarship is awarded by the Ohio County Tuberculosis Association in memory of Dr. William Stegar a long time physician who dedicated much of his practice to eradicating this terrible lung disease.

Respiratory Therapy Club
Anti-Tobacco College Coalition
The Lambda Beta Society- National honor society for Respiratory therapy profession

The RCP program at WU is designed to begin observational clinical rotations as a sophomore, with hands on clinical, lab or simulation 2 times a week as a junior at local affiliates – Wheeling Hospital, Acuity Specialty Hospital- LTAC and Ohio Valley Medical Center- all located in Wheeling. As a senior you will do full time clinical in the fall semester again at our local affiliates and then at UPMC Children’s and Mercy in Pittsburgh, PA (only an hour away) and at West Virginia University Hospitals (Ruby and Children’s) in Morgantown, WV (about an hour and 15 minutes away).