Respiratory Care

Respiratory care is a dynamic, high tech, high touch field involving direct patient care. This field is a life-supporting, life-enhancing allied health care profession practiced under qualified medical direction. Services provided to patients with disorders of the cardiopulmonary system include diagnostic testing, therapeutics, monitoring, and rehabilitation. Patient, family, and public education are essential to the mission of the profession. Respiratory care services are provided in all health care facilities (acute, subacute/long-term, skilled nursing) and in the home.

Upon completion of the program, the graduate qualifies for an associate in applied science degree and is eligible to apply to take the national entry-level (CRT certification) and advanced practitioner (RRT registry) examinations offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). Additionally, graduates are qualified to sit for the NBRC specialty exams for pulmonary diagnostics and neonatal pediatric specialty. Each required course for graduation must be completed with a 2.0 grade or better before proceeding to the next quarter.

Respiratory Care
Advance for Respiratory Care and Sleep Medicine Professionals Magazine
Uncover the latest respiratory care and sleep medicine topics to research at Advance for Respiratory Care and Sleep Medicine Professionals.


SCC's Respiratory Care program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com).

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
1248 Harwood Road
Bedford, Texas 76021-4244
(817) 283-2835 (telephone)
(817) 354-8519 (fax)

Program outcomes data including attrition, job placement, NBRC examination success, on-time graduation rate, and enrollment may accessed through the following link: http://www.coarc.com/47.html

Dave Field

Dave Field, RRT, RPFT, R.P/P
Respiratory Therapist, Deaconess
Medical Center
SCC Respiratory Therapy graduate
Home Care Therapist, Apria Health Care

"My education at SCC prepared me well for my profession. Respiratory care allows me the autonomy to make decisions affecting the patient's cardiopulmonary status-quickly, positively and effectively."

These technical standards represent the non-academic demands associated with the respiratory care discipline. The standards result from information obtained from industry sources, instructional faculty, and published occupational references. Successful program completion is, in part, contingent upon students' ability to meet the physical and cognitive demands represented by these standards.

General Job Description: Utilizes the application of scientific principles for the identification, prevention, remediation, research, and rehabilitation of acute or chronic cardiopulmonary dysfunction thereby producing optimum health and function. Reviews existing data, collects additional data, and recommends obtaining data to evaluate the respiratory status of patients, develop the respiratory care plan, and determine the appropriateness of the prescribed therapy. Initiates, conducts, and modifies prescribed therapeutic and diagnostic procedures such as: administering medical gases, resuscitation; providing support services to mechanically ventilated patients; maintaining artificial and natural airways; performing pulmonary function testing, hemodynamic monitoring and other physiologic monitoring; collecting specimens of blood and other materials. Documents necessary information in the patient's medical record and on other forms, and communicates that information to members of the health care team. Obtains, assembles, calibrates, and checks necessary equipment. Uses problem solving to identify and correct malfunctions of respiratory care equipment. Demonstrates appropriate interpersonal skills to work productively with patients, families, staff, and co-workers. Accepts directives, maintains confidentiality, does not discriminate, and upholds the ethical standards of the profession.

  • Lift/carry objects such as portable ventilators and battery packs weighing up to 40 lbs frequently; assist moving or repositioning patients with or without assistance - Patients may weigh in excess of 300 lbs and weight lifted may be in excess of 100 lbs occasionally.
  • Stand/walk for prolonged periods of time with only occasional sitting - Walking is generally on hard surfaces and occasionally involves stairs.
  • Bend and twist frequently and intermittently for prolonged periods of time - Some degree of bending and twisting is involved with nearly every task.
  • Kneel, stoop, and crouch occasionally when performing such tasks as adjusting equipment, plugging in electrical equipment, or performing CPR
  • Push/pull large wheeled equipment such as ventilator machines weighing in excess of 200 lbs.
  • Manual and finger dexterity sufficient to manipulate patients and equipment; grasp syringes, laryngoscope, and endotracheal tubes; handle small and large equipment for storing, retrieving, and moving; manipulate knobs and dials; and assemble, disassemble, correct malfunctions, perform maintenance and evaluate various pieces of medical equipment
  • Extend arms downward, outward, or upward
  • Auditory ability sufficient to hear verbal instructions, hear gas flow through equipment, and perceive warning signals.
  • Visual acuity sufficient to read typed, handwritten, or computer information; see patient conditions such as skin color, work of breathing, and mist flowing through the tubing; and accurately read gauges, dial settings, and digital and analog displays
  • Physical tolerance to a clinical environment that may include noisy conditions, crowded conditions, sterile surroundings, exposure to blood-borne pathogens, and exposure to chemicals/solvents
  • Calculate, analyze, interpret, and record numbers and physical data accurately from observation, charts, radiology screens, and computer information systems
  • Apply theory to clinical practice, maintaining competence under challenging and sometimes stressful situations
  • Communicate effectively, utilizing written and spoken English when interacting with patients, their families, and other health care professionals
  • Interact professionally and effectively with patients, families, and coworkers as a health care team member
  • Carry out orders accurately and in a timely manner
  • Function safely, effectively, and calmly under stressful situations
  • Prioritize effectively and maintain composure while managing multiple tasks
  • Accept and apply constructive criticism
  • Maintain a positive and constructive manner with peers, coworkers, and instructors

Respiratory Care (photo)
In class instruction and demonstration
with the Vest Airway Clearance

Respiratory Care (photo)
Community of Interest core group, known as the
advisory committee, representing our
clinical facilities and program faculty

Respiratory Care (photo)
Core group for Respiratory Care program
(left to right), Gary White, director of clinical education,
Dr. James Bonvallet, Medical Director, Dee Arkell,
program director and Michael Mowreader, 
chair of the advisory committee

Respiratory Care (photo)
Dr. Richard Lambert (pulmonologist) speaks about
chest x-rays and CT scan interpretation

Respiratory Care (photo)
Dr. Lambert working with SCC students
and Spokane's RCP community

Respiratory Care (photo)
Student visit to Dr. Forrest Bird's 
research facilities (fun toys too)

Respiratory Care (photo)
Dr. James Bonvallet, sharing some knowledge
 with one of our clinical preceptors


What is the role of a respiratory care practitioner (RCP)? (Click to open)

Respiratory Care Respiratory care is a dynamic, high-tech, high-touch field involving direct patient care.

RCPs work under the direction of a physician and assist in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with pulmonary disorders.

RCPs work with patients of all ages - from premature infants to the elderly - and commonly treat such diseases as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. In disease diagnosis, RCPs measure the capacity of a patient's lungs to determine if there is impaired function. After diagnosis, the RCP is responsible for administering therapeutic gases, aerosols and medications using highly technical, industry standard equipment.

In emergency and critical care settings, the RCP provides basic and advanced life support for critically ill patients. These RCPs must be skilled in ventilator and airway management, arterial blood gas sampling and analysis, hemodynamic monitoring, and assisting with special procedures such as bronchoscopy.

Today's health care is rapidly changing and evolving. Areas such as home care, rehabilitation, long-term extended care and wellness education are steadily growing. RCPs are in an excellent position to move into opportunities offered in these nontraditional health care settings.

What personal qualities should I possess to be a successful RCP?

Respiratory Care The best RCPs are sensitive to the needs of patients who have serious physical impairments. They are energetic, have a strong sense of responsibility, as well as good communication skills--both written and oral.

As an RCP, you will be expected to work well as a team member with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. To be able to advance with the changes in the profession, you must be able to communicate the needs of your patients while employing independent judgement, knowledge and assessment skills.

Since much of your work involves the use of high-tech medical equipment, you should have an interest in learning proper handling and operational procedures.

Most shifts are now 12.5 hours, 3 days per week.

How do I become an RCP?

To practice as an RCP, you must graduate from an accredited two-year respiratory care program and pass a Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) exam to become a licensed as a RCP (Respiratory Care Practitioner). This exam, offered in all 50 states, can be taken in June following graduation. Those who pass will meet requirements for state licensure.

Following certification, you are encouraged to take advanced practitioner exams to become a registered respiratory therapist (RRT). Specialties such as pulmonary diagnostics and perinatal respiratory care offer their own credentialing systems. All exams, currently administered in the Seattle area, are computerized with instant results.

What makes the program at Spokane Community College stand out?

SCC's respiratory care program is unique in that it offers a strong emphasis in pulmonary diagnostics, basic life support instruction, advanced cardiac life support, and long-term and home care. Also, because it is articulated with the SCC cardiovascular programs, students gain additional training that enhances their employability.

One-hundred percent of the graduates of this program have passed the entry-level certified respiratory therapist exam and have found employment in this field. Our graduates' pass rate for advanced practitioner exams equals or exceeds national averages from similar programs across the country.

Starting in the fall of 2001, students from outside the Spokane area may enroll in the distance learning option through the following community colleges: Columbia Basin, Yakima Valley and Wenatchee Valley. Students wishing to pursue this option must first successfully pass appropriate support courses.

What classes will I take?

Respiratory Care The two-year respiratory therapy program begins each fall quarter and leads to an associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree.

Courses in biology, anatomy and physiology, physical science, microbiology, electro-physiology, interpersonal communications, and specialty courses in respiratory care and pulmonary diagnostics are required. The curriculum incorporates classroom, laboratory and clinical courses in order to prepare students to function as RCPs after graduation. All courses must be completed with a grade point of 2.5 or better to continue in the program.

The two-year respiratory care program begins each fall quarter, and leads to an associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree.

Tentatively in Fall 2017 we will move from a 2-year to a 4-year Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) program.

How much will the program cost?

Required Items   Cost  
Application fee: $10.00
Test (ASSET): $10.00
Uniforms: $100.00
Insurance: $35.00
Physical exam: $100.00
National certification: $100.00
NBRC: $100.00
AARC: $35.00
WA state licensure: $100.00
State seminar: $80.00
Approx. quarterly cost*   
Resident tuition/registration fees: $544.00
Nonres. tuition w/waiver/reg. fees: $668.00
Parking fee: $12.00
Books (est. for 7 quarters): $1,500.00
Supplies and equip. (est. for 7 quarters): $300.00
Uniforms: $100.00
Insurance: $35.00
TB/flu/Drug testing: $100.00
NBRC: $190.00
AARC: No charge
WA State Licensure: $260.00
State Seminar: $80.00
Lab fees: (see class
  • All costs are subject to change without notice.
  • Students must have reliable transportation for clinical travel at students own expense.
  • Distance learning option requires computer access, Internet account and various hardware.

Where can I get a job?

Employment opportunities in respiratory care are available in acute care facilities (hospitals), subacute and long-term care facilities, medical equipment supply companies, home health agencies and physicians' offices. According to the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), this profession is expected to grow 46 percent by the year 2005. Approximately 120,000 RCPs are practicing in the U.S. and overseas. The AARC website offers a six-minute video, "Life and Breath 2000," which may be helpful to anyone interested in learning more about a career in respiratory care.

How much will I earn?

In 2014, Respiratory Care was placed in the top 100 jobs, with average pay at $28.12/hour. Locally, entry level is $24 - $25/hour; with additional credentials and experience you can earn up to $38/hour.

This career field offers a high degree of mobility. Trained therapists may relocate to other areas of the country and branch into management, sales, education and cardiopulmonary diagnostics. They may also pursue additional education including internships, baccalaureate degrees and master's degrees.

Respiratory Care

Browse additional programs in the CCS Online Catalog.

If you have questions regarding this program, please contact Christian Striggow, who is the director of clinical education for the program, or Gary White, M.Ed., RRT, RPFT, who is the program director. Their contact information is as follows:

All course offerings are subject to change. The college cannot guarantee class offerings, designated times or specific instructors - as funding levels and student interest may affect whether or not an offering is available.

Click on the course title to view course description.

Course Title Credits
RT 101Respiratory Care Fundamentals I 3.0
RT 102Respiratory Care Fundamentals I Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 103Respiratory Care Anatomy and Physiology 2.0
RT 104Respiratory Care Fundamentals II 2.0
RT 105Respiratory Care Fundamentals II Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 106Clinical Interpretation of Blood Gases 2.0
RT 107Respiratory Care Pharmacology 4.0
RT 108Basic Life Support Instructor Course 2.0
RT 109Computer Applications in Respiratory Care 1.0
RT 110Physical Science for Respiratory Care 3.0
RT 114Respiratory Care Clinical I 1.0
RT 115Fundamentals of Spirometry and Blood Gas Analysis 2.0
RT 116Fundamentals of Spirometry and ABG Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 117Respiratory Care Fundamentals III 4.0
RT 118Respiratory Care Fundamentals III Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 119Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology 3.0
RT 121Respiratory Care Clinical II 2.0
RT 122Respiratory Care Clinical III 8.0
RT 201Critical Care I 4.0
RT 202Critical Care I Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 203Advanced Cardiac Life Support Course 2.0
RT 204Advanced Cardiac Life Support Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 205Pulmonary Volumes, Diffusion and Instrumentation 2.0
RT 206PVDI Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 207Respiratory Care Clinical IV 5.0
RT 208Pulmonary Diagnostics Clinical 1.0
RT 213Electrophysiology 4.0
RT 216Critical Care II 3.0
RT 217Critical Care II Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 218Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care 2.0
RT 219Perinatal/Pediatric Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 225Advanced Pulmonary Diagnostics 3.0
RT 226Advanced Pulmonary Diagnostics Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 227Respiratory Care Clinical V 4.0
RT 228Advanced Pulmonary Diagnostics Clinical 1.0
RT 229Current Trends in Respiratory Care 4.0
RT 235Patient Management and Problem Solving 3.0
RT 236Patient Management and Problem Solving Lab 1.0
RT 237Management in Health Care 2.0
RT 238Respiratory Care Clinical VI 5.0
RT 241Fundamentals of Respiratory Care I 3.0
RT 242Fundamentals of Respiratory Care I Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 244Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology 3.0
RT 248Physical Science for Respiratory Care 3.0
RT 251Fundamentals of Respiratory Care II 3.0
RT 252Fundamentals of Respiratory Care II Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 254Fundamentals of Spirometry 2.0
RT 255Fundamentals of Spirometry Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 256Interpretation of Arterial Blood Gases 2.0
RT 261Fundamentals of Respiratory Care III 4.0
RT 262Fundamentals of Respiratory Care III Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 263Respiratory Care Pharmacology 4.0
RT 264Computer Applications in Respiratory Care 1.0
RT 265RT Clinical I 1.0
RT 301Critical Care I 4.0
RT 302Critical Care II 3.0
RT 303Home Care and Rehabilitation 2.0
RT 304Pathophysiology 5.0
RT 305Pulmonary Volumes Diffusion and Instrumentation 2.0
RT 308Basic Life Support Instructor 2.0
RT 309Advanced Pharmacology 3.0
RT 311Critical Care I Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 312Critical Care II Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 313Home Care and Rehabilitation Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 315PVDI Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 321RT Clinical II 2.0
RT 322RT Clinical III 2.0
RT 325PFT Clinical I 1.0
RT 331Critical Care Clinical I 5.0
RT 401Pediatrics/Neonatal RT 3.0
RT 402Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support 2.0
RT 403Advanced Pulmonary Diagnostics 3.0
RT 404Research in Respiratory Care 2.0
RT 406Management in Respiratory Care 2.0
RT 407Patient Management and Problem Solving 3.0
RT 409Research in Respiratory Capstone 2.0
RT 410Fundamentals of Education Course Design 2.0
RT 411Pediatrics/Neonatal Technical Skills Lab 2.0
RT 412Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Lab 1.0
RT 413Advanced Pulmonary Diagnostics Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 415Disease Management 4.0
RT 416Disaster Management 2.0
RT 417Patient Management and Problem Solving Technical Skills Lab 1.0
RT 421Critical Care Clinical II 4.0
RT 423Advanced Pulmonary Diagnostics Clinical 1.0
RT 424Pediatric/Neonatal Clinical 3.0
RT 425Advanced Critical Care Clinical 2.0
RT 433Advanced Clinical 5.0