Respiratory care is a diverse, growing, health profession with extensive patient contact, often with the critically ill. Respiratory therapists administer prescribed respiratory care and life support to patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. They work in many settings requiring a considerable degree of independent clinical judgment under the direct or indirect supervision of a physician. The two-year, professional phase of the program begins the summer semester of the junior year. Students complete lecture and laboratory courses designed to develop knowledge and skills necessary for application to the clinical settings. Required courses in management, research, respiratory physiology and pharmacology, pathology and cardiology are integrated with the respiratory therapy curriculum. The final semester of the program consists entirely of clinical externships and online coursework. Students may select affiliated hospitals outside the Columbia area for this clinical experience or remain in Columbia. The MU RT program has a satellite campus at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Accreditation of the program is granted by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).