Respiratory Therapist Associate in Applied Science (Associate in Applied Science, 2020-2021)

Program Info

Year Established
Program Code
Degree Type
Associate in Applied Science

Program Description


Prepares individuals for employment as entry-level Respiratory Therapists. Graduates of the program are awarded an Associate in Applied Science Degree and are eligible to apply for the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) examination(s) leading to the national credential designation of Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and state licensure as a Respiratory Therapist. The program provides a blend of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences. The first year of the program involves completion of technical and support courses. Beginning with the spring semester and throughout the second year of the program, students are required to complete advanced technical courses and a wide variety of clinical rotations. Core courses are offered during the day and only in the semester as indicated in the course sequence. Support courses are usually offered in a variety of semesters and times.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students should be able to:

  1. Evaluate a patient's current condition and response to therapy using physical exam, laboratory data, and other clinical information.
  2. Develop a treatment plan specific to the needs of the patient.
  3. Recommend additional procedures and therapy to treat the patient, and modifications to treatment plan.
  4. Administer oxygen therapy according to standard protocol.
  5. Administer aerosolized medication therapy according to standard protocol.
  6. Administer bronchial hygiene and lung volume expansion therapy according to standard protocol.
  7. Recommend initiation, modifications, and liberation from life support.
  8. Administer mechanical ventilation and life support according to standard protocol.
  9. Educate patients and family members concerning disease processes and self-care, and the public on preventative medicine.
Career Opportunities

The Profession

Respiratory therapists are health care professionals, dedicated to providing life-supporting, life- enhancing care to newborns, children, adults and the elderly. Respiratory therapists work under qualified medical direction to assess, treat, manage, provide diagnostic evaluation, educate, and care for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities associated with the cardiopulmonary system. Therapists work throughout hospitals, most often in intensive care units and emergency settings. Therapists are a special blend of patient-centered caregivers and technically sharp, analytical thinkers. Some therapists concentrate on pulmonary rehabilitation and continuing care in patient homes or extended care facilities while others specialize in pediatric/neonatal care. The respiratory therapist may also work in areas such as cardiopulmonary diagnostics, medical equipment sales, management, and education.


The outlook for RTs has never been better. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to increase faster than average through the year 2022. The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) offers a wide variety of information on a career in Respiratory Therapy at

Occupational Exposure/Risk

Applicants considering a career in Respiratory Therapy should be aware that during their course of study and in subsequent employment in the field, they are likely to work in situations where exposure to infectious disease is possible. This is an occupational risk for all health care workers. Persons should not become health care workers unless they recognize and accept this risk. Proper education and strict adherence to well established infection-control guidelines, can reduce the risk to a minimum. Thorough education in infection control procedures is an important part of the respiratory therapist program of study.

Latex Allergies
Early recognition of sensitization to natural rubber latex (NRL) is crucial to prevent the occurrence of life-threatening reactions in sensitized healthcare workers. The program faculty strongly advises that students sensitized or allergic to latex consult a physician for guidance on the merits of continuing in a health care career. NRL sensitized students who choose to continue in the Respiratory Therapist program must notify the program director.

Registry / Certification / Licensure Exam Information

Successful completion of the program of study qualifies graduates to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree, become eligible to sit for the national accreditation exams for the designation of the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and apply for state licensure as a respiratory therapist. The national examinations consist of the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination (TCM) and the Clinical Simulation Examination offered by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). Information on the exam process is available through the NBRC at

Program Completion Limits

Program is twenty-one months in length. Students must complete all RTH courses within three years of beginning the formal program. Each Respiratory Therapist course may be repeated only once.

The College continuously attempts to improve each program and as a result, courses and/or requirements may be modified. Curriculum, course content, and admission criteria are subject to change by action of the College faculty and administration. Contact the Health Careers Office for any current program updates or visit for any current updates.


The Respiratory Therapist program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Student/Graduate outcomes for respiratory therapist programs can be found on the CoARC website at:

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) 1248 Harwood Road, Bedford, Texas 76021-4244 817-283-2835,

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements and Eligibility

Students who meet all admission requirements are considered qualified and are admitted once a year in the fall semester on a "first-qualified, first admitted" basis. Acceptance into the college does not constitute nor guarantee admission to the program. Final approval to enroll in the program comes from the Respiratory Therapist Program Director.

Program Admission Requirements

  1. College GPA of at least 2.70 or higher for a minimum of 12 academic credits, excluding lower than 100 level courses.
  2. Accuplacer Next Gen (255+) Reading Score.
  3. Eligible for placement into ENG 131.
  4. Eligible for placement into MATH 110.
  5. AH-100, with a C grade or better.
  6. BIO-233, with a C grade or better.
  7. CHEM-131, with a C grade or better.

Program Admission Process

Our Health Career programs are limited enrollment programs with specific admission requirements. In order to get on the qualified list, you must complete the Health Careers Respiratory Therapist (RTH) application found at the Health Careers Admissions Process site and all the RTH admission requirements. It is recommended that students interested in a health career meet with the Health Careers Student Success Navigator located in the Welcome Center Advising area. Make an appointment with the Health Careers Student Success Navigator early in your planning process. This will allow you to discuss program options and create an academic plan to qualify for the selected program.

Due to the number of credit hours required for program completion and the intensity of the program, students are encouraged to complete as many of the Required Support Courses as possible prior to entering the program. The first courses that a student should complete are those required for program admission followed by the other Required Support Courses.

Courses Required for Admission
Additional Program Requirements

Prior to starting the Program

Applicants are invited and must attend informational and orientation meetings scheduled by the Program Director for the Respiratory Therapist Program.

CPR--AHA Basic Life Support Healthcare Provider American Heart Association: Evidence of CPR completed within two months of beginning the RT program by providing current AHA, BLS Healthcare Provider card. May be fulfilled by taking AH-105: Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers

Program Supplies Students must purchase clinical uniforms and supplies including stethoscopes and electronic software program which students must purchase for electronic clinical documentation. Do NOT purchase in advance. Specific directions will be given during orientation meeting.

Program Deposit At the time of formal admission to the program, each applicant must pay a $100 fee to secure a place in the program. This fee is refunded only if the student is still active in the program Oct. 15 of Fall Term 1. Required core courses can be taken only after acceptance into the RTH program through the Health Careers Office.

Health Appraisal Students in the RTH program are expected to meet the same physical and mental health requirements as a respiratory therapist. A representative RTH Job Profile listing these requirements, as well as environmental conditions of this occupation, is available through the Health Careers Office.

Final acceptance and continuation in the RTH program is contingent upon fulfilling and maintaining minimum program requirements and proof of the following by specified deadline dates:

  • Physical examination (must meet job profile requirements as determined by a physician and validated on health form).
  • Required titers from previous immunizations and needed immunizations from titer results, if necessary.
  • Evidence of titers must be provided by submission of current lab copies.
  • Tuberculosis screening.
  • Vaccinations as required by health care community, including the flu vaccine.
  • Health Insurance coverage throughout program

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen * Consistent with Section 20173 of the Michigan Public Health Code and the requirements of clinical rotation partners, a Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen clearance (the first time) are required for all students in the RTH program prior to participating in any clinical rotations. The cost for this test is in addition to the basic tuition and fee schedule. For questions regarding this policy, contact the Health Careers Office

Students who are not cleared for clinical through the Health Appraisal, Criminal Background Check, and Drug Screen clearance (the first time) will not be able to complete the RTH program.

Other Requirements All program courses taken at HFC must be successfully completed with a "C" grade or better. Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical sites and any expenses incurred.

Program Requirements


All program courses, required core and required support course must be successfully completed with a "C" grade or better.

Required Support Courses
Course name Credit Hours
BIO-234: Anatomy and Physiology II 4.00
ENG-131: Introduction to College Writing 3.00
HCS-131: Computers in Health Care 3.00

Social Science: Complete one Political Science (POLS), Psychology (PSY), or Sociology (SOC) course.

Credit Hours: 13
Minimum Total Credit Hours
Requirements are subject to change. The information represented here is effective starting Fall 2019 and applies to the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the My Progress section of HFC Self Service.