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Respiratory Care - Bachelor

Respiratory Care - Bachelor

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Offered through Health Professions

@ Florissant Valley | Forest Park

This program prepares students for a career as a Respiratory Care Practitioner. Students learn to assess, perform diagnostic tests, treat, and educate patients with cardiopulmonary disease. As a Bachelor of Science in respiratory care degree, this program additionally prepares future respiratory care leaders by including curricular content in management, education, research, and advanced clinical practice.


This program prepares graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs). As a Bachelor of Science in respiratory care degree, this program additionally prepares leaders for the field of respiratory care by including curricular content with objective related to the acquisition of skills in one or more of the following: management, education, research, and advanced clinical practice (which may include an area of clinical specialization).

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:

  • Assessing patients for lung and breathing disorders and recommending treatment modalities.
  • Interviewing patients and performing physical examinations to determine what kind of therapy is best for the patient's condition.
  • Consulting with physicians to recommend a change in therapy, based on your evaluation of the patient.
  • Managing ventilators and artificial airway devices for patients who cannot breathe normally on their own.
  • Responding to Code Blue or other urgent calls for care.
  • Educating patients and families about lung disease so they can maximize their recovery.

For more information about the respiratory care profession, visit https://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 23 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations and the median annual wage of a respiratory therapist was $61,830 ($29.73/hour) in 2021.

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.

Prerequisites to Apply to the Program

Admission into the third year of the program is selective. The following are requirements that must be met to apply to the professional portion of the program to start taking the Respiratory Care (RC) coursework:

  • Complete a minimum of 45 credit hours of the pre-professional coursework required for this program.
    • Students may not enroll into the professional portion (Year 3) of the program until all 60 hours of pre-professional coursework have been completed.
  • All pre-professional coursework must be completed with a "C" or higher grade.
  • The cumulative GPA of the pre-professional coursework must be a 2.5 or higher.
  • Students entering the professional portion of the program must attend a mandatory orientation the summer prior to the fall start date.
  • Additional requirements include a criminal background check, drug screen, immunizations, and AHA Basic Life Support certification. Detailed information on these requirements can be found in the Respiratory Care Handbook.

General Education and Respiratory Course Requirements

The curriculum requires four full academic years with one intervening summer between the third and fourth year. The recommended academic plan blends general education requirements with areas of concentration to ensure students get the most out of their Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care degree. Upon completion of this program, a graduate will be eligible take the National Board for Respiratory Care board exams to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).

The first two years of the Bachelor of Science in respiratory care (BSRC) program consists of 60 credit hours of pre-professional coursework. This coursework includes oral/written communication, social/behavioral sciences, mathematics, and biomedical/natural science.

Pre-Professional Coursework

Course Credits
ENG 101 Composition I (MOTR ENGL 100) 3
SOC 101 Intro to Sociology (MOTR SOCI 101) 3
BIO 111 General Biology (MOTR BIOL 100L) 4
Civics Requirement 3
Core 42 Elective 3
Subtotal 16

Course Credits
COM 107 Public Speaking (MOTR COMM 107) OR
COM 101 Oral Communications I (MOTR COMM 100)
MTH 160 Precalculus Algebra (MOTR MTH 130) OR MTH 160S 3
ENG 102 Composition II (MOTR ENGL 200) 3
HIM 101 Medical Terminology and Language 3
PSY 200 General Psychology (MOTR PSYC 100) 3
Subtotal 15

Course Credits
BIO 207 Anatomy & Physiology I (MOTR LIFS 150 LAP) 4
CHM 101 Foundations of Chemistry I (MOTR CHEM 100L) OR
CHM 105 General Chemistry I (MOTR CHEM 150L)
BIO 203 Microbiology 4
Core 42 Elective 3
Subtotal 16

Course Credits
PHL 109 Bio-Medical Ethics 3
MTH 180 Introduction to Statistics (MOTR MTH 110) OR MTH180S 3
BIO 208 Anatomy & Physiology II 4
COM 117 Health Communications 3
Subtotal 13

Respiratory Care (RC) Professional Coursework

Course Credits
RC 110 Cardiopulmonary A & P 3
RC 125 Fundamentals of Respiratory Care 6
RC 135 Fundamentals of Respiratory Care I Lab 2
RC 140 Pharmacology 2
RC 300 Clinical Practice I 1
Subtotal 14

Course Credits
RC 150 Fundamentals of Respiratory Care II 4
RC 160 Mechanical Ventilation 4
RC 180 Cardiopulmonary Diseases 3
RC 340 Clinical Practice II 1
***COM 200 Communication Between Cultures (MOTR SBSC 101) 3
Subtotal 15

Course Credits
RC 240 Respiratory Care Specialties 3
RC 310 Neonatal Respiratory Care 2
RC 380 Clinical Practice III 1
Subtotal 6

Course Credits
RC 320 Pediatric Respiratory Care 2
RC 330 Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Lab 1
RC 200 Adult Critical Care 3
RC 210 Mechanical Ventilation II 4
RC 400 Clinical Practice IV 2
Subtotal 12

Course Credits
RC 410 Respiratory Care Management 3
RC 420 Respiratory Care Research 3
RC 430 Health Education and Disease Management 3
RC 440 Respiratory Care Capstone 1
RC 450 Clinical Practice V 3
Subtotal 13

*** COM 200 is a general education course that can be taken during the pre-professional portion of the program (first two years).

Total Credit Hours in the Program 120


Student Handbook -- For more information about the policies and procedures of the program.



Applying to the Respiratory Care program

STLCC’s Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care program is a selective admission, college level program.

Each year 16 students who meet the application requirements are accepted into the professional portion (Year 3 and 4) of the program on a first come/first serve basis.

Students cannot apply until a minimum of 45 credit hours of pre-professional coursework has been completed with “C” or higher grades in each course. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher of the pre-professional coursework must be met to apply.

Academic Advising

Prior to application, students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to help plan courses and clarify program requirements.

Admission Process

Once a student has completed a minimum of 45 credit hours of pre-professional coursework with “C” or higher grades and a minimum GPA of 2.5, the student must meet with an academic advisor to complete an application. Applications are submitted to the Program Coordinator Lindsay Fox at lfox40@stlcc.edu and are accepted on a continuing basis. Students will be notified via email on the status of their application.

The acceptance into the professional portion of the program starting in the 3rd year of the 4-year program will be conditional upon the following:

  • Completion of all 60 credit hours of pre-professional coursework with a "C" or higher - See Recommended Academic Plan.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Attend a mandatory orientation in the summer prior to the 3rd academic year.
  • completion of a background check, drug test, submission of immunizations, and completion of the AHA Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers certification.

    Students unable to complete the above requirements will not be able to enroll into the respiratory care (RC) coursework and will need to reapply the next year once all the above have been met.

    Please note that all correspondence will be via the student’s STLCC email.

The Respiratory Care Program (Program #210050) offering a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree at the Forest Park campus located at 5600 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO is currently in the process of seeking CoARC accreditation for a respiratory care program. However, St. Louis Community College can provide no assurance that accreditation will be granted by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com).

Additional Resources

American Association for Respiratory Care – professional organization
National Board for Respiratory Care Accreditation – credentialing

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 such as:
    • 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 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
  • 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 a Bachelor of 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) Frequency Specify need for accommodation
Lift - up to 50 lbs. to assist moving patients, supplies, equipment.
lift - up to 200 lbs. when moving patients.



Stoop - adjust equipment. F  
Kneel - manipulate equipment, perform CPR, plug in electrical equipment. O  
Reach - overhead lights, equipment, cabinets attach oxygen to outlets, stocking. C  
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 field. C  
Stand for prolonged periods of time (to deliver therapy, check equipment and patient; perform surgical procedures). C  
Climb Stairs to respond quickly to an emergency on another floor when elevators are unavailable or full. O  
Feel - palpate pulses; perform physical exams; feel arteries or veins for puncture; assess skin temperature. C  
Push/Pull large wheeled equipment, i.e. mechanical ventilators, wheelchairs, patients, x-ray, equipment, EKG machines, and office equipment. C  
Walk for extended periods of time. C  
Walk quickly or run to respond to emergency calls or assist in critically ill patient transports. O  
Manipulate - knobs, dials associated with diagnostic or therapeutic devices; small instruments, syringes. C  
Respond - verbal directions, alarms, telephone; hear through a stethoscope for heart sounds, lung sounds, and blood pressure. C  
Assess - patient conditions such as skin color, work or breathing; read small print and calibration on equipment; perceive color. C  
Communicate - goals and procedures to patients in English. C  
Communicate - pertinent information (patient assessment, outcome assessments) in English. C  
Comprehend - typed, handwritten, computer information in English. C  
Mental Attitude (Description)    
Function safely, effectively and calmly under stressful situations. C  
Maintain composure and concentration while managing multiple tasks simultaneously. C  
Prioritize multiple tasks. C  
Social skills necessary to interact with patients, families, co-workers - of same or different cultures; respectful, polite, discrete; able to work as a team. C  
Maintain personal hygiene consistent with close contact during direct patient care. C  
Display actions, attitudes consistent with ethical standards of the profession. C  
Exposure to blood borne pathogens - Hepatitis, HIV. F  
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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/.

Estimated expenses in addition to your tuition and fees

  • ~$1,500 for textbooks (professional portion of program only)
  • $300-350 for supplies (lab coat, scrubs, stethoscope, second-hand watch, personal protective equipment, etc.)
  • $13.80 for a criminal background check (price increases with additional residences)
  • $28.80 for drug testing
  • $27.50 for compliance tracking through CastleBranch
  • Physical examination and immunizations (cost varies)
  • $109 for American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support course at STLCC
  • $300-350 for American Heart Association ACLS course
  • $150 for Trajecsys Clinical Tracking System
  • $25/year for AARC Early Professional Membership

For more information on cost of attendance visit MoSCORES.

Lindsay Fox, Program Coordinator

Blake Anyan, Clinical Coordinator

Danielle Gutierrez, Adjunct Instructor

Dr. Kurtis Sobush, Medical Director

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