Jun 12, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Respiratory Care, A.A.S.

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Degree: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5215
Curriculum Code: 655B.RES
Campus Location: North

Health Sciences Division

Pre-Admission Recommendations: Math,Biology,Chemistry
Recommended High School Courses and/or Experiences: Math ,Chemistry and Biology

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. SUNY Erie’s Respiratory Care Program trains individuals to become registered 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 SUNY Erie Community College North Campus Respiratory Care Program (program #200130) offers an AAS degree and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com).

Programmatic outcomes data referring to credentialing success, attrition, job placement and the number of enrollees and graduates can be found at www.coarc.com/students/programmatic-outcomes-data/

Licensure Compliance Statement

SUNY Erie Community College Respiratory Care curriculum and its program of study meets the educational requirements set by the Board of Regents in New York State to award an Associate in Applied Science Degree (AAS) with a major in Respiratory Care. We are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), and our graduates are eligible to take national credentialing exams needed for licensure as a Respiratory Therapist or Respiratory Therapy Technician in New York State. In addition, the core credentials that we are eligible for are recognized by 49 states and the District of Columbia for licensure. The state of Alaska currently does not have licensure for Respiratory Therapy but recognizes the national credentials needed for employment in that state. To search a State’s Respiratory Therapy license requirement, please visit: https://practitionerportal.nbrc.org/licensure/list .

Admission and Academic Advisement

Application to the college and program are to be completed on the college website at www.ecc.edu.  Applications are processed on a continuous basis and students are encouraged to apply early. Applicants are selected in the spring semester for the following fall start. Due to the competitive nature of the program, applicants are ranked based on their academic history and preparation. Once a student applies,they should contact the Respiratory Care department for further information and advisement.

Coursework older than ten years and (P-pass) or (S-satisfactory) grades will not be transferred, and any SUNY Erie Community College course older than ten years will not be accepted or used in the ranking of the applicant. Courses with grades less than C will not be transferred, and any SUNY ECC course with a grade less than C will not be accepted or used in the ranking of an applicant. English and math placement exams will be required of all students who cannot show competency within three 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 and the number of applicants, most students complete most, if not all, the general education courses 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 adviser 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
  • students will never be used as a substitute for clinical, instructional, or administrative staff and cannot receive any form of payment for patient care provided while acting as a student during a clinical course period

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;
  • 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 B 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.

Program academic polices apply equally to all students and faculty regardless of location.


The Respiratory Care Foundation of the American Association for Respiratory Care and the Erie Community College Foundation offer various scholarships. Students are encouraged to apply at https://www.ecc.edu/about/foundation/scholarships.html.

Program Competencies

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

  • evaluate data in the patient record relative to respiratory care;
  • perform clinical assessment;
  • perform procedures to gather clinical information and evaluate procedure results;
  • recommend diagnostic procedures relative to respiratory care;
  • assemble and troubleshoot respiratory care equipment;
  • ensure infection prevention;
  • perform quality control procedures;
  • maintain a patent airway including the care of artificial airways;
  • perform airway clearance and lung expansion techniques;
  • support oxygenation and ventilation;
  • administer medications and specialty gases;
  • ensure modifications are made to the respiratory care plan;
  • utilize evidence-based practices;
  • provide respiratory care in high-risk situations;
  • assist a physician / provider in performing procedures;
  • conduct patient and family education; and
  • demonstrate behavior consistent with acceptable professional conduct.


Total Degree Credits: 68

Summer Session I

Second Year, Spring Semester


*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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