2019-2020 Catalog and Student Handbook 
    Jul 18, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Respiratory Care, A.A.S.

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

Sample Academic Plan - Total Credit Hours: 73

Students must be accepted into the Respiratory Care program before they can register for RESP courses. Note: Respiratory Care courses must be repeated if three or more years have elapsed since completion. See complete program information below. Students may be required to take additional Learning Support courses.  Courses cannot be used more than once to satisfy program requirements. 


*BIOL 2010  and BIOL 2020  must have been completed no more than five years prior to start of program. Students must earn a "C" or higher in all Biology courses.

**Students must earn a "C" or higher in the Mathematics course.

2Humanities/Fine Arts Requirement - Select from ART 1035 , ART 2000 , ART 2020 , ENGL 2160 , ENGL 2860 , HUM 1010 HUM 1020 MUS 1030 PHIL 1030 PHIL 1040 PHIL 2200 THEA 1030 . Literature Options: ENGL 2055 , ENGL 2130 , ENGL 2235 , ENGL 2310 , ENGL 2320 .

3Mathematics Requirement - Select from MATH 1530 , MATH 1630 , MATH 1710 , MATH 1720 , MATH 1730 , MATH 1830 , MATH 1910 .

Requirements for Graduation Include:

  1. Earn 25% of total program credits in residence at Columbia State.
  2. Earn a GPA of at least 2.0 in program courses.
  3. Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  4. Take the Exit Exam required by Columbia State.

This degree program is in compliance with the Common Course Curriculum Library for the A.A.S. in Respiratory Care program as delivered by the Tennessee Board of Regents community colleges.

Students and advisors should run a degree audit from myChargerNet each semester to confirm classes are applicable to the program of study.

For more information contact:
R. David Johnson at david.johnson@columbiastate.edu or 931.540.2663
Health Sciences Division office at healthsciences@columbiastate.edu or 931.540.2600 or 931.540.2599

Detailed information is available via www.columbiastate.edu/respiratory-care

Admission and Continuation/Retention Requirements

A Respiratory Therapist is a health care professional that assists physicians in 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.

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.


The Respiratory Care Program at Columbia State Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), 264 Precision Rd., Telford, TN 37690, and phone 817.283.2835 www.coarc.com.

Program outcomes include:

The goal of the 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 (RRTs).
In order to achieve the program goals the program has adopted the following outcomes:

  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.

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. Exemption from or satisfaction of Learning Support competencies in reading, writing, and math as determined by college placement standards.
  4. Possess a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for academic subjects. Learning Support 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. Verbal abilities to effectively communicate necessary information to others.
    6. 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.
    7. Perform the duties of a respiratory therapist under the stress of medical emergencies, death and dying, natural disasters, etc.
  6. College credit for Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II must be within the past five years to count toward the Respiratory Care degree or the courses must be repeated.

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 High School Equivalency Diploma (GED® or HiSET®).
    4. ACT/SAT or placement exam results as required by the College.
  2. Attending a program orientation session is strongly encouraged. Orientation gives an overview of the profession and the program selection criteria, important components of the program and continuation criteria.
    Orientation sessions are scheduled throughout the year. Contact the program director for dates and times.
  3. Submit program application to the Respiratory Care Program director by the application deadline.
  4. 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. All math and science courses are to be completed with a grade of "C" or better no later than the semester listed in the program of study.
  4. Earn a "C" or better in each required math and science course.
  5. Maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA or better, excluding Learning Support 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 or program director for current details.
    1. Health Requirements: All respiratory care students must submit evidence of good health by returning a completed Physical Examination form. Forms are given to the student upon acceptance into the program. All students must have a:
      1. Evidence of Immunity for:
        1. MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella): titer lab report verifying immunity OR documentation of two (2) MMR vaccinations.
        2. Varicella zoster (chicken pox): titer lab report verifying immunity, documentation of disease (month and year of occurrence validated by a medical provide), OR documentation of two (2) Varicella vaccinations.
        3. Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster within the past ten years.
        4. Hepatitis B: documentation of the Hep B vaccine series (completed or in progress) OR titer lab results verifying immunity.
        5. Seasonally current Influenza immunization
    2. Documented negative TB skin test and/or chest x-ray yearly. TB skin tests must be within three months of the start of the program.
    3. CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) requirements: All admitted students must have evidence of current BLS (Basic Life Support) provider training compliant with AHA (American Heart Association) standards. BLS skills include one and two adult, child and infant CPR and AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) use and airway obstruction relief techniques. AHA HeartSaver training is not acceptable. BLS classes are available through numerous providers and are periodically offered by Columbia State through the Workforce and Continuing Education office. Certification must be maintained continuously for the duration of enrollment.
    4. Malpractice insurance is required for all clinical courses. A group policy is provided with the fee assessed annually.
    5. Health insurance is required. Students must provide evidence of health insurance coverage before clinical assignments may begin.
    6. A criminal background check and drug screen are required by most clinical affiliates prior to the start of clinical training. Depending on the finding a student may not be allowed to start or finish clinical training requiring the student to withdraw from the program. More information is available from the program director.
  8. Meet/comply with the requirements of clinical affiliates regarding students.

Students who do not meet the continuation requirements described above will be unable to continue in the program and required to withdraw. Students who withdraw from the Respiratory Care program may still be eligible to continue as a student of the College. Depending on the circumstances, students may have the option to apply for readmission to the program at a later date. Refer to "Readmission" below. A maximum of two program admissions are allowed.

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.

Readmission into the Program

Readmission into the program is not guaranteed. Readmission is based on available space and the circumstances of withdrawal or dismissal. Students seeking readmission must submit a formal, written request to the program director and an updated program application at least 60 days prior to the beginning of the semester for which they desire to enroll. Didactic knowledge and clinical skills may be retested in order to determine placement. Previously completed classes may need to be repeated. Other activities may need to be completed as a condition for readmission depending on the circumstances of withdrawal. Consult the program's student handbook and program director for further details.

All admission and continuation requirements apply to those seeking readmission. Due to the rapid technological changes in respiratory care, a gap of three or more years will necessitate repeating all respiratory care education courses. Additionally, Anatomy and Physiology I & II courses which are more than 5 years old must be repeated.

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. Anatomy & Physiology I and II courses that are more than 5 years old must be repeated. Due to the rapid technological changes in respiratory care, those having a three or more year gap in their respiratory care education must repeat all Respiratory Care courses.

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

Depending on the semester entering the program the student may need to provide documenation of a current AHA BLS and ACLS provider training that does not expire prior to the anticipated graduation date.


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 AHA BLS and ACLS provider training that does not expire prior to the anticipated graduation rate.

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 RESP 2449, Intensive Care Practicum I.

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