Online Respiratory Therapy Classes

Online courses in respiratory therapy prepare students for clinical respiratory care by teaching classes in mechanical ventilation, anatomy and physiology, cardiopulmonary diseases, pharmacology, and perinatal care. Students develop skills in patient assessment, dexterity, math and physics, critical thinking and analysis, and communication.

Online Respiratory Therapy Classes

Students learn to care for patients who have difficulty breathing because of disease or accidental injury. Students study the anatomy and physiology of the cardiopulmonary system, the diseases that affect it, and the drugs and agents used to treat these diseases. Students also learn to interpret laboratory tests, make diagnoses, and perform procedures used in airway management.

Knowledge Gained

Online classes will provide students with knowledge in many areas, including:

Mechanical Ventilation

Students learn about types of mechanical ventilators and artificial airways, equipment setup and maintenance, when to place patients on mechanical ventilators and how to care for and monitor these patients.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology classes focus on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems with an emphasis on lung physiology. Sample topics in these classes include the anatomy of the airways and the cardiovascular system, muscle groups controlling ventilation, oxygen transport in the blood, and lung volumes.

Cardiopulmonary Disease

Students learn about the diagnosis, pathology, treatment and prognosis for inherited lung diseases including asthma and cystic fibrosis and infectious diseases like influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis.


Pharmacology courses teach the types of drugs commonly used by respiratory patients, their mode of action, and the response of the cardiopulmonary system to these drugs. Students learn about antibiotics, mucokinetic agents, anti-inflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, and other drugs used to treat respiratory diseases.

Perinatal Respiratory Care

Studying perinatal respiratory care prepares students to treat the lung diseases of newborn infants. Students learn about neonatal and fetal physiology and development, and the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cardiopulmonary disease.

Skills Developed

Students will also gain skills in the following areas:

Patient assessment

Students learn how to assess and evaluate patients with respiratory disease by obtaining a medical history, taking vital signs, assessing laboratory and X-ray results, and following clinical procedures.


Students gain the manual dexterity required to work with medical equipment and patients. Examples of respiratory therapy procedures that require dexterity include chest tube insertion, tracheotomy, suctioning, aseptic technique and arterial puncture.

Math and Physics

Math and physics classes teach the physics and laws that govern pulmonary functioning. Math skills are required for calculating levels of gases in the blood, the composition of medical gas, airway pressure, and humidity.

Critical Thinking and Analysis

Students learn to analyze and assimilate information from patient medical records, history, laboratory tests, X-rays and personal observation in order to best diagnose and treat respiratory care patients.


Students learn the medical terminology to collaborate with other health care professionals and the correct protocols for talking to patients.

Related Subjects

Online Allied Health Courses, Online Health Science Courses, Online Nursing Courses, Online Nursing Assistant Courses