Respiratory Care - Associate in Applied Science



The Associate Degree Respiratory Care Program at NCC prepares graduates to assume entry level positions as respiratory therapists. Respiratory therapists are specialized healthcare practitioners responsible for the care of patients to help patients breathe better through a variety of methods that may include administrating oxygen, performing tests, managing equipment, and making respiratory-related recommendations in collaboration with the healthcare team. The program is designed so that students develop their knowledge, skills and abilities in the discipline over the course of the program, resulting in a graduate practitioner who can deliver safe, competent respiratory care to patients across the lifespan in a variety of healthcare settings. Graduates will be prepared to take the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credentialling exam and be eligible for licensure to practice.

Program Features

The Associate Degree Respiratory Care Program requires a minimum of seven semesters (including summers) to complete. The program is offered at the Fowler Family Southside Center but general education courses can be taken at any of NCC’s campuses or online. Admission to the program is competitive and one cohort of students will be accepted annually in the fall semester. The program is designed to include 34 credits of general education courses, offering students foundational knowledge in the biopsychosocial sciences and humanities. Respiratory program courses, which total 32 credits include classroom, laboratory and clinical learning experiences to develop, with increasing complexity, the students’ knowledge, skills and abilities in the respiratory care field. Clinical simulation will be included in some of the respiratory program courses.

Students will develop theoretical knowledge and psychomotor skills in the on-campus classrooms and laboratory and then apply those skills and knowledge in clinical learning experiences in a variety of settings in the healthcare community. Class, lab and clinical are scheduled typically during the day, however the college reserves the right to schedule clinical experiences in the evening/weekend if necessary.

Accreditation Information

Northampton Community College, (Program # 200676) is seeking accreditation by The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), 364 Precision Blvd., Telford, TN 37680, 817-283-2835. (https://coarc.com)

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. NCC can provide no assurance that accreditation will be granted by CoARC.

For More Information
Contact Ms.Tina Fitzgerald, Program Director
Fowler Family Southside Center
511 E. Third St. Office 637
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 332-6410

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Respiratory Care AAS program is on a competitive basis. Students must meet the following requirements at a minimum to be considered for admission to the program. The minimum admission requirements to the program include:

  • Completion of high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Completion of one-year of high school biology with a lab with a grade or B or better or NCC’s BIOS 115 with a grade of B or better
  • Completion of one-year of high school chemistry with a lab with a grade or B or better or NCC’s CHEM 135 with a grade of B or better
  • Completion of 2 units of algebra with a grade of C or better or NCC’s Math 022 and 026 with a grade of C or better or exemption through placement testing
  • Submission of an application
  • Meeting with the program director
  • Submission of all official transcripts
  • Completion of a Career Assessment form (CAF)
  • Minimum overall GPA of 2.75


Program Goals

  1. 1. To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domain of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).
  2. Upon successful completion of the respiratory care program, students will be able to:

  3. 2. Successfully pass the professional registry exam to be credentialed as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).
  4. 3. Plan, deliver and evaluate respiratory care modalities for patients across the lifespan in a variety of healthcare settings.
  5. 4. Employ clinical decision-making based on critical thinking skills and evidence-based practice to deliver safe effective respiratory care.
  6. 5. Demonstrate professional behaviors consistent with the respiratory care scope of practice and code of ethics and employer expectations, as a collaborative member of the healthcare team.
  7. 6. Engage individuals, families, and communities in the teaching-learning processes to promote, maintain, and restore respiratory health and wellness.

Career Outlook

There are an abundance of employment opportunities for licensed registered respiratory therapists in the communities we serve and beyond. The employment outlook shows an expected 32% growth over the next several years. Respiratory therapists are employed in various types of practices including the locations below:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician offices
  • Diagnostic imaging centers
  • Urgent care centers
  • Education – faculty, administration, etc.
  • Equipment vendors