Apr 27, 2018  
Catalog and Student Handbook 2009-2010 
Catalog and Student Handbook 2009-2010 [Archived Catalog]

Respiratory Care (A.A.S.)

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Major in Respiratory Care (A.A.S.)

(Designed for the student who does not intend to transfer into a baccalaureate degree program.)

The five-semester Respiratory Care Program offered at Columbia State is designed to prepare students to function as registered respiratory therapists. Registered respiratory therapists assist physicians in the diagnosis, evaluation, monitoring, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with disorders affecting the cardio-respiratory system. Registered respiratory therapists also educate patients, families and communities on topics relating to the cardio-respiratory system.

In addition to lecture and lab courses, the program provides clinical experiences at several middle Tennessee health care facilities. These experiences include working with newborns, children, adults and geriatric patients. Clinical experiences are obtained in such areas as general care, intensive care, emergency room and pulmonary diagnostics. Transportation to and from clinical sites is the responsibility of the student.

The graduate is eligible to take the national credentialing examinations to become a registered respiratory therapist (RRT). Those desiring to work in Tennessee upon graduation are required to obtain a Respiratory Care License to practice.

Criminal background checks are a requirement at most affiliated clinical training sites. Based on the results of the criminal background check, an affiliated clinical site may determine to not allow your presence at their facility. This could result in your inability to successfully complete the requirements of a specific course and your program. More information is available from your program director.

Applicants who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation may be ineligible for licensure as a registered respiratory therapist. For more information, contact the respiratory care program director for details.

Multiple clinical affiliates require satisfactory results from a drug screen prior to the start of clinical training. A positive drug screen will result in the student being excluded from clinical attendance. In this case the student will be counseled to withdraw or will ultimately earn a failing grade based on inability to complete the clinical requirements of the program. Students are also subject to random drug screening throughout the program.

The respiratory care  program at Columbia State Community College is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
1248 Harwood Road
Bedford, TX 76021-4244

Program outcomes include:

  1. Students will pass a multi-part comprehensive examination similar to the national credentialing examinations prior to graduation.
  2. Graduates will pass the credentialing examinations at or above the national rate.
  3. Graduates will receive satisfactory performance evaluations from their employers within the first year after graduation.

A new class is admitted each fall. Applications are accepted from January 1 to May 1. Applicants will be notified by the first week in June concerning acceptance into the fall class. Applications received after May 1, but before the beginning of the fall semester, may be considered on a space available basis. Class size is limited by laboratory and clinical space. Therefore, entrance into the program is competitive. Those not selected may reapply for subsequent classes.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must complete the following requirements by the application deadline to be considered for entrance into the program.

  1. Meet all College admission requirements.
  2. Complete all entrance examinations such as the ACT/SAT or placement exam as required by the College prior to the application deadline.
  3. Complete all developmental studies (DSP) courses in reading, writing, math, and learning strategies as determined by the ACT/SAT or placement exam or obtain a permanent waiver from the exam or course prior to the application deadline.
  4. Possess a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for academic subjects. Developmental studies courses are not included as part of the GPA.
  5. The Respiratory Care Program complies with all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. All students will be provided reasonable accommodations regarding physical and mental limitations. In keeping with the accreditation standards outlined by CoARC, all students must possess the physical and emotional abilities required of a respiratory therapist. These abilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Physical strength necessary to carry common objects, push or move common equipment, move and reposition patients in bed, perform CPR, etc.
    2. Manual dexterity required to assemble common equipment, perform skills such as intubation, arterial puncture, etc.
    3. Auditory ability to hear alarms, listen to breath sounds, measure blood pressure, etc.
    4. Visual acuity necessary to differentiate colored alarms, read information from various types of electronic monitors, record data onto electronic and print media, etc.
    5. Possess a command of the English language necessary to effectively communicate verbally and in writing with patients, families and other health care workers. An English proficiency test may be required of those who use English as a second language.
    6. Perform the duties of a respiratory therapist under the stress of medical emergencies, death and dying, natural disasters, etc.

Admission Procedures

  1. Submit the following to the Admissions office:
    1. Completed Application for Admission to the College.
    2. Official college transcripts.
    3. High school transcripts or GED.
    4. ACT/SAT or placement exam results as required by the College.
  2. Submit program application to the Respiratory Care Program director.
  3. Attend an interview, by appointment, with program faculty once all other application requirements have been completed.

Continuation Requirements

In order to remain in the program, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Earn a “C” or higher in each respiratory care course.
  2. Satisfactorily complete each clinical skill evaluation.
  3. Complete the required math and science courses no later than the semester listed on the program of study.
  4. Earn a “C” or better in each math and science course.
  5. Maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA or better, excluding developmental studies courses.
  6. Maintain professional conduct as outlined in the program’s student handbook.
  7. Prior to the start of clinical rotations each student must provide documentation regarding a physical exam, current immunization, proof of health insurance, possession of malpractice insurance, criminal background check and drug screening. See the program’s student handbook for details.
    1. Health Requirements: All students must submit evidence of good health by returning a completed Physical Examination form. Forms are given to the students once admitted into the Respiratory Care program.
    2. All students must have:
      1. Documented initial negative TB skin test and chest x-ray. TB skin tests must be repeated annually.
      2. Evidence of Immunity for:
        1. Rubella (German measles or 3 day measles), (positive titer).
        2. Varicella zoster (chicken pox) (positive titer).
        3. Rubeola titer (measles), (positive titer).
        4. Tetanus/diphtheria booster within the past ten years.
        5. Mumps (positive titer).
        The complete list of requirements is given on the Physical Examination form.
    3. CPR Requirements: All students must submit evidence of a current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification for the health care professional which does not expire until after graduation.
    4. Malpractice Insurance: Malpractice insurance is required for all clinical courses. A group policy is provided with the fee assessed with tuition each fall.
    5. Health Insurance: Students are responsible for all costs incurred related to health problems, including injuries occurring during clinical experiences. Students are required to maintain health insurance while in the program and provide verification prior to the start of clinical training.
    6. Criminal background check: All students must have a criminal background check performed within 90 days prior to the start of clinical training. Depending on the finding of the background check a student may not be allowed to start or finish clinical training requiring the student to withdraw from the program.
    7. Drug screening: All students must have a drug screen performed within 90 days prior to the start of clinical training. Depending on the results of the drug screen a student may not be allowed to continue in the program.
  8. Meet/comply with the requirements of clinical affiliates regarding students.

Students who do not meet the continuation requirements will be dismissed from the program. Those dismissed may still be eligible to continue as students of the College. Depending on the circumstances of the dismissal, those dismissed from the program may apply for readmission into the program at a later date. A student who is dismissed from the program two (2) times will not be readmitted.

Readmission into the Program

Readmission into the program will be based on available space and the circumstances for withdrawal or dismissal. Readmission is not guaranteed. Students seeking readmission must apply in writing to the program director at least 60 days prior to the beginning of the semester they desire to enroll. Didactic and clinical skills may be tested in order to determine placement.

Students must have completed, with a “C” or better, all required math and science courses no later than the semester listed in the program of study and possess a GPA of 2.0 or higher, excluding developmental studies courses. Due to the rapid technological changes in respiratory care, those having sat out three or more years must repeat all Respiratory Care courses, and both Anatomy & Physiology courses.

Advanced Standing (transfer into the program & CRT-to-RRT)


Students wanting to transfer into the program must follow the admission requirements outlined above. Additionally, the program director or the director of clinical education from the previous program must provide a letter of recommendation. Transfer into the program will be based on space availability and the circumstances of the transfer. Admission into the program based on transfer is not guaranteed. Students must make application to the program at least 60 days prior to the beginning of the semester they desire to enroll.

Students may be tested over previous Respiratory Care course material and clinical skills. A minimum of 75% must be obtained in all areas in order to be accepted. Placement will be based, in part, on didactic and skill evaluations.

Students must have completed, with a “C” or better, all required math and science courses as outlined in this catalog. Those having a three or more year gap in their respiratory care education must repeat all Respiratory Care courses and Anatomy & Physiology I & II.

Transfer students will take at least the last two semesters of Respiratory Care courses at Columbia State.


Those with the CRT credential wanting to continue their education and become registry eligible must follow the admission requirements outlined above. Admission into the program is not guaranteed. Students must make application to the program at least 60 days prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Specific requirements include:

  1. Satisfy the “Admission Requirements” and “Continuation Requirements” of the program as listed above.
  2. Provide documentation of current ACLS provider training that does not expire prior to the anticipated graduation date.

The CRT-to-RRT applicant must complete the last two semesters of Respiratory Care courses at Columbia State Community College. The applicant may request to test out of Clinical Practice III.


Required Courses

Freshman Year

Summer - 11 Credit Hours

Sophomore Year

Fall - 14 Credit Hours

  • Humanities/Fine Arts Elective Credits: (3).
    (See Elective Options below)

Total Credit Hours: 72

Elective Options

Elective options are listed on the Associate of Arts & Associate of Science Degree Requirements page.

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