Sep 28, 2023  
Fall 2014 Catalog 
Fall 2014 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Respiratory Care, A.A.S.

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Degree: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5215
Curriculum Code: 0655
Campus Location: North

Health Sciences Division

Pre-Admission Recommendations: Math I, Biology, Chemistry, Physical Exam
Recommended High School Courses and/or Experiences: Math I & II, Physics, Microbiology

Career Opportunities/Further Education: Hospitals, Extended Care Facilities, Physicians’ Offices, Home Care


Program Description

The respiratory care profession is a rapidly expanding dynamic allied health career. ECC’s Respiratory Care Program trains individuals to become respiratory therapists who, under medical direction, work in the treatment, management, diagnostic evaluation and overall care and education of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory therapists are involved with patients of all ages, from the premature newborn whose lungs are not fully developed to the elderly whose lungs become diseased.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 Therapists (RRT’s).

Utilizing classroom lecture, laboratory and clinical experiences, the Respiratory Care Program prepares students to assume responsible positions as part of a health care team. The curriculum is designed to provide a broad knowledge so that students are academically prepared and competent to enter the profession. Students are prepared to practice in a variety of settings and as graduates can find employment in hospitals and other acute care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, physician offices, laboratories and home care.

Graduates of the program become eligible to obtain certified and registered respiratory therapist credentials. Graduates can then apply for a license to practice through The Office of Professions, New York State Education Department. Most states currently require a license to practice as a respiratory therapist.


The Respiratory Care Program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care (CoARC).

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

Programmatic outcomes data referring to credentialing success, attrition, job placement and the number of enrollees and graduates can be found at

Admission and Academic Advisement

Application to the College and program are to be completed on the college website at Applications are processed on a continuous basis and students are encouraged to apply early. Due to the competitive nature of the program, applicants may be ranked based on their academic preparation and preference will be given to those who applied earliest. A new class is admitted only each fall semester. 

Coursework greater than 10 years old and (P-pass) or (S-satisfactory) grades will not be transferred and any Erie Community College course greater than 10 years will not be used in the ranking of the applicant. English and math placement exams will be required of all students who cannot show competency within five (5) years of application and there is no advanced placement based on work, previous college credits or otherwise.

Because of the competitive nature of the program, most students complete some, if not all, the non-Respiratory Care Program requirements prior to beginning the professional coursework. Applicants who do not meet minimum requirements will be individually advised in an effort to improve their academic success. This path provides an opportunity to meet program requirements and improve ranking. Students may begin this option at any time, spring, summer or fall semester. The Respiratory Care Program faculty will act as the student’s advisor along the way. Acceptance to begin Respiratory Care Program coursework will be based on a student’s academic success and space availability.

Clinical Experiences

  • The program utilizes many clinical affiliates throughout Western New York.
  • Students will be assigned to several clinical sites throughout the educational experience.
  • Students must provide his/her own transportation to clinical affiliates.
  • Students must purchase uniforms and other specific equipment prior to clinical coursework.
  • Students must provide evidence of updated required immunizations and a completed physical exam ensuring that they are in good physical and mental health and are capable of completing the requirements of the clinical part of the program.
  • Students must maintain current CPR certification throughout their clinical experience.
  • Students in the program may be subjected to drug testing and criminal background checks at their own expense. Failure to meet clinical site requirements may preclude completion of the Respiratory Care Program.

Department Notes

A student accepted for matriculation in the Respiratory Care Program is responsible for the following items:

  • all Respiratory Care Program coursework must be in sequential order. Failure to pass any respiratory care professional course will prevent the student from going on to the next semester;
  • if coursework continuity cannot be maintained, the department reserves the right to have the student demonstrate skills and knowledge through written, psychomotor and/or oral evaluation;
  • response to a criminal conviction that may affect an individual’s ability to be licensed upon graduation;
  • in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other governmental regulations, Respiratory Care Technical Standards  that define the essential functions of respiratory care are listed by the department and are used in the lawful and non-discriminatory admission of students;
  • because of the critical nature of the profession, deviations from professional conduct may adversely affect the patient’s well-being. Therefore, the department reserves the right to immediately remove the student from didactic, laboratory and clinical coursework and/or dismiss that student from the program if the department determines that the student has acted in an unprofessional manner;
  • all students must successfully complete the program’s capstone assessments administered during the final semester of the second year;
  • each student must attain a minimum grade of “C” (2.0) GPA in college courses and a (2.5) GPA in department courses. Failure to do so may lead to dismissal from the program;
  • a minimum grade of “C” is required for all math and English developmental coursework; and
  • the Respiratory Care program does not accept prior respiratory care education or work experience in lieu of required respiratory care coursework and does not offer advanced placement.


The Respiratory Care Foundation of the American Association for Respiratory Care and the Erie Community College Foundation offer various scholarships. 

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Respiratory Care, the graduate will be able to:

  • collect and evaluate existing pertinent clinical information and recommend procedures to obtain additional data relative to respiratory care;
  • manipulate equipment by order or protocol;
  • ensure infection control;
  • perform quality control procedures for respiratory care equipment;
  • maintain records and communicate information;
  • maintain a patent airway, including care of artificial airways;
  • remove bronchopulmonary secretions;
  • achieve adequate ventilator support;
  • evaluate and monitor patient’s objective and subjective response to respiratory care;
  • recommend and independently modify therapeutic procedures based on patient’s response;
  • initiate and conduct pulmonary rehabilitation and home care within the prescription;
  • determine the appropriateness of the prescribed respiratory care plan and recommend modifications when indicated;
  • initiate, conduct, or modify respiratory care techniques in an emergency setting;
  • act as an assistant to the physician performing special respiratory care procedures; and 
  • demonstrate behavior consistent with the acceptable professional conduct standards; such as: appearance, quality of work, quantity of work, continuing education, human relation skills, leadership skills, reading skills, writing and verbal communication skills.


Total Degree Credits: 72

Summer Session I

Communication elective 3 Credit Hours – Choose one:


*Indicates laboratory fee required.

NOTE: All respiratory care professional coursework must be taken in sequential order. Please contact the Respiratory Care Department for further advisement and placement testing.

NOTE: This is the recommended sequence. Student must consult with their academic adviser prior to registering to maintain matriculation status.

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