This program prepares students for positions as respiratory therapists. Students learn
to assess, perform diagnostic tests, treat, and educate patients with cardiopulmonary
disease. The program includes general education courses as well as respiratory care
didactic, laboratory, and clinical practice in area health facilities.
The overall goal of the Respiratory Care program is to prepare graduates with demonstrated
competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior)
learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory
Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat and care for patients of all ages with cardiopulmonary
disorders. A day in the life of a respiratory therapist might include:
Interviewing patients and performing physical examinations to obtain assessment data.
Performing and evaluating diagnostic tests to identify cardiopulmonary disorders.
Determining the type of therapy needed for the patient’s condition and consulting
with physicians to recommend changes in therapy.
Managing ventilators and artificial airways for patients who cannot breathe normally
on their own.
Performing Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric
Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP).
Educating patients and families about lung disease.
For more information about the respiratory care profession, visit be-an-rt.org.
Job Outlook and Salary
A career in respiratory care is one of the most in demand job fields. According to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2018 to
2028, much faster than the average for all occupations and the median annual wage
of a respiratory therapist was $60,280 ($28.98/hour) in 2018.
Prerequisites to Apply to the Program
The Respiratory Care program is a selective program in which prerequisites are required
in order to apply. These include the following:
English and Reading proficiency
Math proficiency: students must either place into MTH 160 OR complete MTH 140 or higher
with a “C” or higher within 5 years
Chemistry: students must have completed two semesters of high school chemistry with
lab OR one semester of college chemistry with lab (STLCC CHEM 101 or higher) with
"C" grade or higher within 5 years
Anatomy & Physiology I (STLCC BIO 207) completed with a "C" or higher within 5 years
Anatomy & Physiology II (STLCC BIO 208) is a prerequisite to the first semester of
respiratory care courses, but it does not have to be completed in order to apply
General Education and Respiratory Course Requirements
The curriculum requires two full academic years with an intervening summer. The recommended academic plan blends general education requirements with areas of concentration to ensure students
get the most out of their Associate in Applied Science in Respiratory Care degree.
STLCC’s Respiratory Care program is a selective admission, college level program.
Each year 25 students who meet the application requirements are accepted on a first
come/first serve basis.
Students are encouraged to take as many general education courses as possible prior to starting the first semester of respiratory care coursework.
Prior to application, students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to
help plan courses and clarify program requirements.
When a student has met all program requirements for application, the student must
meet with an academic advisor to complete an application. Applications are submitted
to the Program Coordinator Lindsay Fox at STLCC-RespiratoryCare@stlcc.edu and are accepted on a continuing basis. Students will be notified via email on the
status of their application. Acceptance to the program will be conditional upon the
onboarding requirements that include attending a mandatory orientation in the summer
and completion of a background check and drug test. Once students complete the onboarding
requirements, the admissions office will process a "Change of Program" form allowing
students to register for fall respiratory care classes.
Applicants entering the fall semester must attend a mandatory orientation session
that will be held in June.
Information about the orientation will be sent via the student’s my.stlcc.edu email.
Once students complete the mandatory orientation, the admissions office will process
a "Change of Program" form allowing students to register for fall respiratory care
Eligible applicants not admitted due to space availability will remain on the admissions
waitlist and will receive notification via their my.stlcc.edu email with a request
to reply with their intentions to continue to be considered for admission to the program
in the future. Failure to respond to this email by the deadline given will result
in removal from the waitlist.
The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) accredits respiratory
therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes
an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that
reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and
by which program effectiveness is documented. The information on outcomes of all accredited
programs can be found at https://coarc.com/students/programmatic-outcomes-data/.
Respiratory Care Technical Skills and Competencies
Respiratory Care Practitioner's 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
administering medical gases, humidification and aerosols, aerosol medications, airway
clearance therapy, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation
providing support services to mechanically ventilated patients
maintaining artificial and natural airways
performing pulmonary function testing, hemodynamic monitoring and other physiologic
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
Functions safely, effectively, and calmly under stressful situations
Maintains composure while managing multiple tasks simultaneously
Prioritizes multiple tasks
Accepts directives, maintains confidentiality, does not discriminate, and upholds
the ethical standards of the profession
Essential Functions: Physical and mental standards
The Respiratory Care Program requires agility and strength sufficient to move from
room to room, lift and position patients, maneuver in small places, and perform clinical
services. Students must possess gross and fine motor abilities as well as auditory,
visual, and tactile acuity, which are required to assess health status and perform
effective patient care. To achieve the necessary requirements for issuance of an Associate
in Applied Science degree in Respiratory Care, the graduate must meet technical skills
with or without reasonable accommodations. Students with disabilities who believe
that they may need accommodations are encouraged to contact the Access Office to ensure
that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. See the chart below
for specific requirements by the Respiratory Care program.
Frequency: O = Occasionally (1-33%) F = Frequently (34-66%) C = Constantly (67-100%)
Physical Stamina Required (Description)
Specify need for accommodation
Lift - up to 50 lbs. to assist moving patients, supplies, equipment. Lift - up to 200 lb. when moving patients
Stoop - adjust equipment.
Kneel - manipulate equipment, perform CPR, plug in electrical equipment.
Motor skills, manual dexterity – small and large equipment for storing, moving; apply sterile gloves; take BP; operate
computers; perform CPR; utilize syringes, tubes, catheters; set up and maintain sterile
Stand for prolonged periods of time (to deliver therapy, check equipment and patient; perform
Climb Stairs to respond quickly to an emergency on another floor when elevators are unavailable
Feel - palpate pulses; perform physical exams; feel arteries or veins for puncture; assess
Push/Pull large wheeled equipment, i.e. mechanical ventilators, wheelchairs, patients, x-ray,
equipment, EKG machines, and office equipment.
Walk for extended periods of time.
Walk quickly or run to respond to emergency calls or assist in critically ill patient transports.
Manipulate - knobs, dials associated with diagnostic or therapeutic devices; small instruments,
Respond - verbal directions, alarms, telephone; hear through a stethoscope for heart sounds,
lung sounds, and blood pressure.
Assess - patient conditions such as skin color, work of breathing; read small print and
calibration on equipment; perceive color.
Communicate - goals and procedures to patients in English.
Communicate - pertinent information (patient assessment, outcome assessments) in English.
Comprehend - typed, handwritten, computer information in English.
Mental Attitude (Description)
Function safely, effectively and calmly under stressful situations.
Maintain composure and concentration while managing multiple tasks simultaneously.
Prioritize multiple tasks.
Social skills necessary to interact with patients, families, co-workers - of the same
or different cultures; respectful, polite, discrete; able to work as a team.
Maintain personal hygiene consistent with close contact during direct patient care.
Display actions, attitudes consistent with ethical standards of the profession.
Exposure to blood borne pathogens – Hepatitis, HIV.
For more information on cost of attendance visit MoSCORES.
Program Career and Salary Information
Pursuant to Missouri HB 1606 (2018), information regarding the number of credit hours,
program length, employment rate, wage data, and graduates employed in careers related
to their program of study at St. Louis Community College can be found at https://scorecard.mo.gov/. Search using School / Program “St. Louis Community College” and choose the degree
or credential type of interest.
The following limitations to the data apply - Information provided is based on the
most recent cohorts available. Typically, most recent cohorts for wage and completion
data are six years prior to the current academic year. Time to complete a program
of study varies depending on the number of credit hours students earn per semester.
Hours for all campuses: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.