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Respiratory Care Degree

Health and Sciences Division

General Description | Semester Layout  | Course Requirements | Printable Checklist


To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychmotor (skills), and affective (behavior) domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).


Respiratory therapists work closely with physicians and nurses in the treatment and diagnosis of various breathing disorders. Respiratory therapists, practicing under a physician's direction, assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Respiratory therapists are also more likely to provide complex therapy requiring considerable independent judgment, such as caring for patients on life support in hospital intensive care units. Respiratory therapists are required to have an in-depth knowledge of heart-lung physiology, effective communication skills, problem solving skills, integrity, compassion, tolerance, ethics, and effective stress coping skills. Graduates are also eligible to apply for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in Respiratory Care at a senior college.

Respiratory therapists are employed in health care facilities including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site, the median annual income for respiratory therapists was approximately $52,200 for May 2008. Employment of respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 21% through the year 2018, because of substantial growth in numbers of the middle-aged and elderly population -- a development that will heighten the incidence of heart and lung disease. For more information on the profession, go to

Applications are accepted March 1 - April 1. All prerequisites must be completed by the end of the Spring Semester in which you apply. Respiratory Care application, entrance map, and advising worksheets may be downloaded or printed at

Accreditations, Approvals, and Certifications

This program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care  1248 Harwood Road  Bedford,  TX  76021-4244  817.283.2835 ) .

Program Entrance Requirements

Course Level Required Courses
High School


College BIO 112 or BIO 210 & BIO 211, MAT 110, PHS 101

NOTE:  A grade of "C" or better is required for each prerequisite course.

Other Required

Diploma or GED


Approval/Permission Needed -- Application Process

Departmental Approval


Prior Experience/Observation

Minimum Cumulative GPA  of 2.0


Current CPR Certification

by American Heart Association or American Red Cross

First Aid Certification No

Hepatitis B Immunization

or Signed Informed Refusal or Titer


MMR Immunization or Titer


Chicken Pox Vaccination or Titer


Two-step PPD / Chest X-Ray


Medical Examination

Forms are provided by the college and should be current (within one year) and complete.


Dental Examination

Forms are provided by the college and should be current (within one year) and complete.

Dental health must meet departmental standards.


Technical Standards

Forms are provided by the college and should be current (within one year) and complete.


Negative Drug Screen


Satisfactory Background Check


Other Diplomas, Licensures, etc.


Recent Photograph

Photograph will not be returned.


Academic Standards

Standard Criteria Required

Courses requiring a grade of "C" or better

Any course with one of the following prefixes: ALL


Courses that may not be attempted more than twice


Complete or Maintain CPR Certification

by American Heart Association or American Red Cross


Curriculum Completion Requirement


Drug Calculation Competency

Students must demonstrate drug calculation competency each semester in order to progress in curriculum courses.


Dismissal Policy

A student who fails four or more required courses will be dismissed from the program and will not be eligible to re-enter the program.


Re-entry Policy

Any student who has been dismissed from the Respiratory Care program for academic or clinical failure may re-enter the program the following year in the semester from which they failed. This will be allowed only if the student's GPA is a 2.0 or better, they have not failed more than three (3) courses, and there is space available in the curriculum. A student who has a cumulative GPA of less than 2.0 and/or violates the Respiratory Care Program Academic Progression Policy cannot apply for re-admission into the Respiratory Care curriculum until after a waiting period of at least one (1) year. The student will be allowed to re-enter the Respiratory Care curriculum one (1) time only.


Agency Requirements

Students in health majors must meet the published clinical agency requirements when participating in assigned labs. Requirements include immunizations, background checks, and drug testing. To be in compliance with Article, 23, Section 44-7-2920 of the S.C. Code of Law, all students enrolled in AHS 141, DAT 154, DHG 154, HIM 102, MED 102, MLT 110, NUR 160, NUR 201, PNR 110, RAD 101, RES 101, and SUR 101 must complete the requirements listed above prior to being assigned to any direct care entity. Results of the background check/drug screening could affect the student's ability to complete required clinical rotations and/or become credentialed. For example, a felony conviction could make a student ineligible to take the licensing exam(s) required by the profession or prevent the student from participating in the clinical training component.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete all required courses specified in the curriculum.
  • Fulfill all financial obligations to the College.
  • Achieve a cumulative final GPA of 2.0.
  • Earn at least 25 percent of the total credit hours of his/her curriculum at FDTC.  Exceptions can be made only by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Program Specific Notes

Respiratory Care Department visit is encouraged but not required. If an applicant is a graduate of an accredited certified respiratory therapist program or a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) by the National Board for Respiratory Care, some entrance requirements may be waived.