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Overview of Respiratory Therapist to Registered Nurse Programs

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Many nursing skills and concepts are learned in respiratory therapy training and on the job. Several nursing schools offer accelerated programs for respiratory therapists. This nursing curriculum is often referred to as a bridge, career transition track or RT to RN program.

Distance Learning

Known as Rue or Excelsior College, this institution is known for its specialization in distance and nontraditional learning. In its RT to RN bridge program, you will learn by self-study, video and online instruction. On average, an RT can complete an Associate of Science in Nursing through Excelsior in eight to 16 months.

Community Colleges

Community colleges also offer fast-track or accelerated programs for respiratory therapists wishing to enter nursing. A few of these schools include the Kansas City Kansas Community College, Lansing Community College (Michigan), Seminole State College (Florida) and Austin Community College (Texas). Upon completion of these RT to RN programs, you will receive an Associate of Science Degree in nursing and will be eligible to take the licensing exam. On average, these programs are completed in about three semesters of part-time study.


If you're a respiratory therapist with a bachelor's degree, consider an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at a college or university. Schools offering this type of program include Virginia Commonwealth University, Samford University (Alabama) and Mount St. Mary's College (California). This and similar programs take about five semesters to complete the post-program prerequisites. You'll receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and be eligible to sit for the national nursing exam.


Dee Dee (Ford) Smith has been a writer for more than a decade. Her writing specialties include food, travel, golf and career stories, along with marketing literature and product descriptions. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational psychology from Wilberforce University in Ohio.

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