Master of Science in Respiratory Care Leadership

Campus Locations Boston, Online
Also available 100% Online Yes
Other Format(s)
Credits Required for Graduation 45
Entry Terms Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter, Summer Quarter
Meets International Visa Requirements No


Emerging environmental issues, recent technological advances, and a growing elderly population are escalating the need for skilled respiratory therapists. To be successful, today’s respiratory care leaders must be skilled educators, practitioners, and case managers. In response, Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies has developed the Master of Science in Respiratory Care Leadership.

Created for practicing respiratory therapists, this master’s degree in respiratory care incorporates an action-learning approach that builds leadership competencies and advances your clinical knowledge. Core respiratory care courses cover areas such as advanced cardiopulmonary physiology and research design. In addition, you will have the opportunity to focus your studies in one of six concentrations: health management, higher education administration, adult and organizational learning, nonprofit management, regulatory affairs, and clinical trial design.

Program Objectives

  • Develop and evaluate strategies for appointment to leadership positions
  • Prepare and evaluate plans for career advancement
  • Evaluate the leadership challenges facing the respiratory therapy industry
  • Describe and interpret statistical tests applied to medical research data
  • Apply evidence-based medicine to clinical practice
  • Review and evaluate published research
  • Analyze and apply research-based evidence
  • Evaluate respiratory therapists’ evolving roles and responsibilities
  • Compare and contrast the political and economic factors that affect the field of respiratory therapy

Career Outlook

While the overall respiratory care industry is expected to grow at a much-faster-than-average pace, those with advanced degrees will enjoy the best job prospects. The vast majority of respiratory therapy jobs will continue to be in hospitals, but the American Association of Respiratory Care indicates that opportunities to move from a clinical to an academic setting should be plentiful over the next several years, particularly for those with graduate degrees.

How Recent Graduates Have Fared:

  • Past students have served as president of their state’s Society for Respiratory Care
  • Former students have presented research abstracts and technical papers, served in the American Association of Respiratory Care House of Delegates, and written examination questions for the National Board for Respiratory Care
  • A 2009 graduate, Keith Hirst, MS, RRT-NPS, has been appointed to an assistant professor position at Rush University in Chicago. Two other 2009 alums are full-time faculty members at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah
  • Christopher Blake, class of 2010, has been promoted to Regional Director of 40 physician specialty practices at Carilion Medical Center in Roanoke, Virginia


Required Respiratory Care Courses (24 q.h.)

RPT 7200 Advanced Cardiopulmonary Physiology 3 q.h.
RPT 7205 The Evolving Roles of Respiratory Care Professionals 3 q.h.
RPT 7210 Research Design 4 q.h.
RPT 7215 Applied Research in Respiratory Care 3 q.h.
RPT 6970 Seminar 3 q.h.
RPT 7300 Development of Clinical Practice Guidelines and Respiratory Care Protocols   4 q.h. 
RPT 7302  Respiratory Therapist Education   4 q.h. 

Required Leadership Courses (6 q.h.)

Choose two of the following courses:

LDR 6100 Developing Your Leadership Capability 3 q.h.
LDR 6110 Leading Teams 3 q.h.
LDR 6135 The Ethical Leader 3 q.h.
LDR 6140 Developing the Strategic Leader (should be taken as the last course) 3 q.h.

Concentrations (15-16 q.h.)

Adult and Organizational Learning Concentration (16 q.h.)

Choose four of the following courses:

EDU 6051 Culture, Power, Equity, and Influence 4 q.h.
EDU 6201 Landscape for Higher Education   4 q.h. 
EDU 6202 Faculty, Curriculum, Academic Community  4 q.h.  
EDU 6221 Enrollment, Retention, Graduation, Success   4 q.h. 
EDU 6319 How People Learn  4 q.h. 
EDU 6323  Technology as a Medium of Learning   4 q.h. 
EDU 6447  Demographics of Higher Education   4 q.h. 

Clinical Trial Design Concentration (16 q.h.)

Choose four of the following courses:

BTC 6210 Human Experimentation: Methodological Issues Fundamentals 4 q.h.
BTC 6211 Validation and Auditing of Clinical Trial Information 4 q.h.
BTC 6213 Clinical Trial Design Optimization and Problem Solving 4 q.h.
BTC 6260 The Business of Medicine and Biotechnology  4 q.h. 
RGA 6100  Introduction to Drug and Medical Device Regulation  4 q.h. 
RGA 6202  Medical Device Development: A Regulatory Overview  4 q.h. 
RGA 6205  Emerging Trends and Issues in the Medical Device Industry  4 q.h. 

Health Management Concentration (15 q.h.)

Choose five of the following courses:

HMG 6110 The Organization, Administration, Financing, and History of Health Care 3 q.h.
HMG 6120 Human Resource Management in Health Care 3 q.h.
HMG 6130 Health-Care Strategy Management 3 q.h.
HMG 6140 Principles of Population-Based Management 3 q.h.
HMG 6160 Health-Care Information Systems Management 3 q.h.
HMG 6170 Health Law, Politics, and Policy 3 q.h.
NPM 6120 Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations  3 q.h. 
NPM 6125 Promoting Nonprofit Organizations 3 q.h. 
NPM 6130  Fund-Raising/Development for Nonprofit Organizations 3 q.h. 


Total Quarter Hours: 45-46 

Admissions Requirements

Below are the official Admissions Requirements for this program.

  • Online application
  • Statement of purpose (500-1000 words): identifying your educational goals and expectations from the program; please be aware that the University's academic policy on plagiarism applies to applicant's statement of purpose
  • Professional resume: Current resume that displays job responsibilities, relevant experience, and education history
  • Two letters of recommendation: from individual(s) with either academic or professional knowledge of your capabilities, such as a faculty member, current employer, mentor, or colleague
  • Official undergraduate degree documentation
  • Copy of Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) license
  • Proof of English language proficiency: ONLY for students for whom English is not their primary language: English language proficiency guidelines

For general admissions information and recommended admissions deadlines, Graduate Admissions.

All requirements must be received prior to review.


Estimated total tuition for this program is $26,730.00.

Tuition for individual courses is based on the number of quarter hours. Most courses are 3-6 quarter hours. See Graduate Tuition Rates for details.

Use our Tuition Calculator below to see if transfer credit or tuition reimbursement from your employer could reduce your total tuition.

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Please note: The estimated total tuition is based on tuition rates for Academic Year 2014-15 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time.

*A maximum of 9 quarter hours of graduate- or doctoral-level credit obtained at another institution may be awarded as Advanced Graduate Credit to the Doctor of Education program.

Student Profile

Who Will Your Classmates Be?

This program is well suited for individuals who wish to assume a managerial position within a healthcare organization or teach respiratory therapy in an academic setting.

Students must be registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) and have earned an undergraduate degree—typically a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy or an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy combined with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences (or its equivalent).

Image of Carl, a MS in Respiratory Care Leadership student

Class of 2012

Carl was promoted in March of 2011 to Assistant Manager of the Respiratory Care Department at Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle. He was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care (FAARC) and honored as the 2011 Adult Acute Care Specialty Practitioner of the Year at the 2011 AARC Congress. Carl also received the William F Miller Postgraduate Education Recognition Award at the AARC Congress. In 2010, he served as President of the Washington Society for Respiratory Care.

Image of Keith, a MS in Respiratory Care Leadership student

Keith H. MS, RRT-NPS
Class of 2009

Keith was promoted on August 2011 to Director of Clinical Education at Rush University in Chicago. He was appointed to the Rush University Respiratory Therapy Program faculty as an Assistant Professor effective January 2011. Keith is a PhD candidate in Health Sciences with a concentration in Respiratory Care in the Rush University College of Health Sciences. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Chapter 2 of the Illinois Society for Respiratory Care. Keith earned his bachelor of science degree in respiratory therapy from Northeastern University. He worked at Boston's Children's Hospital as a respiratory therapist for six years before being appointed to the faculty at Rush University.
Image of Lois, a MS in Respiratory Care Leadership student

Class of 2009

Lois is completing her first year as Educational Coordinator for Respiratory Care Services at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. At the 2011 AARC Congress, she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care (FAARC). Since 2008, Lois has been a member of the AARC Political Action Team providing advocacy for the profession of respiratory therapy at national and state levels. She has delivered lectures on respiratory care locally and at national professional meetings. Lois serves as the 2011 President of the Virginia Society for Respiratory Care.
Image of Dan, a MS in Respiratory Care Leadersip student

Class of 2012

Dan was recently appointed by the Governor of Virginia to the Advisory Board on Respiratory Care. He has served as Virginia Society for Respiratory Care Delegate to the AARC House of Delegates for the last three years where he serves on four House committees. Dan is actively involved on the AARC International Committee and spent a week in Haiti as part of a disaster relief team following their devastating earthquake. He received the NBRC/AMP 2011 Gareth B. Gish, MS, RRT Memorial Postgraduate Education Recognition Award at the 2011 AARC Congress. Dan is a Supervisor of Respiratory Care at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville. He is a Past President of the Virginia Society for Respiratory Care.
Image of Cheryl, a MS in Respiratory Care Leadership student

Cheryl T., MS, RRT
Class of 2009

Cheryl has just completed her first year as Manager of  Respiratory Care at the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She completed her bachelor of science degree in respiratory therapy at Salisbury University in Maryland where she was inducted into the Lambda Beta Honorary Society sponsored by the National Board for Respiratory Care. Cheryl worked as a staff respiratory therapist at the Naval Hospital while completing the masters program at Northeastern University. She finished her degree by September of 2009 and quickly moved into a leadership position as Manager of the department.
Image of Cynthia, a MS in Respiratory Care Leadership student


Class of 2012

Cyndi was appointed in July 2010 as Research Coordinator for the Respiratory Care Division at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center. She was named the 2009 Neonatal Pediatric Specialty Practitioner of the Year. In the fall of 2010 she was elected the 2011-2012 Chair of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) Neonatal Pediatric Membership which includes a seat on the AARC Board of Directors. She has received the 2010 Carefusion Research Award for Neonatal Pediatrics. Cyndi was inducted as an Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care (FAARC) in December of 2010. She was the recipient in 2010 of the NBRC/AMP Gareth B. Gish, MS, RRT Memorial Postgraduate Education Recognition Award

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Prepare respiratory specialists, department directors and educators for leadership roles.

  2. Analyze and apply evidence found in research care research.

  3. Evaluate, conduct and publish respiratory research studies.

  4. Compare, contrast and identify ways to lower the cost of healthcare delivery.

  5. Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of interdisciplinary healthcare teams.

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Next Class Starts
  • Summer Term
    Jul 28, 2014 (4-week classes)
  • Fall Term
    Sep 8, 2014 (6- and 12-week classes)
    Oct 20, 2014 (6-week classes)

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