Respiratory Therapist

Program Information

Degree Type: 
Associate in Applied Science

Prepares individuals for employment as entry-level Respiratory Therapists. Graduates of the program are awarded an Associate in Applied Science Degree and are eligible to apply for the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) examination(s) leading to the national credential designation of Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and state licensure as a Respiratory Therapist. The program provides a blend of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences. The first year of the program involves completion of technical and support courses. Beginning with the spring semester and throughout the second year of the program, students are required to complete advanced technical courses and a wide variety of clinical rotations. Core courses are offered during the day and only in the semester as indicated in the course sequence. Support courses are usually offered in a variety of semesters and times.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Evaluate a patient's current condition and response to therapy using physical exam, laboratory data, and other clinical information.
  • Develop a treatment plan specific to the needs of the patient.
  • Recommend additional procedures and therapy to treat the patient, and modifications to treatment plan.
  • Administer oxygen therapy according to standard protocol.
  • Administer aerosolized medication therapy according to standard protocol.
  • Administer bronchial hygiene and lung volume expansion therapy according to standard protocol.
  • Recommend initiation, modifications, and liberation from life support.
  • Administer mechanical ventilation and life support according to standard protocol.
  • Educate patients and family members concerning disease processes and self-care, and the public on preventative medicine.
Admission Requirements / Eligibility: 

Students who meet all admission requirements are considered qualified and are admitted once a year in the fall semester on a "first-qualified, first admitted" basis. Acceptance into the college does not constitute nor guarantee admission to the program. Final approval to enroll in the program comes from the Respiratory Therapist Program Director. Students interested in this program are to select the program Associate in Science with a specialization in Pre-Respiratory Therapist degree and meet with the Health Careers Advisor/Admissions Specialist in the Welcome Center.

  1. Minimum College GPA of 2.7 (4.0 scale) - (at least 12 credit hours excluding lower than 100 level courses).
  2. COMPASS Reading score of 84 or better.
  3. COMPASS Writing score sufficient for placement in ENG-131. This requirement may also be fulfilled by successful completion of required developmental English courses or completion of ENG-131 with a C grade or better.
  4. Minimum math requirement is Algebra*
    • May be satisfied by one of the following:
    • Math placement into MATH-110 or better.
    • MATH-0894, OR MATH-080, with a C or better
  5. BIO-233, with a C grade or better.
  6. AH-100, with a C grade or better.
  7. CHEM-131, with a C grade or better.

Individuals new to the field of Respiratory Therapy may find it helpful to job shadow a Respiratory Therapist. This will give new students the ability to see first-hand the wide variety of responsibilities that are part of the profession. Contact your local Respiratory Care department to arrange for this opportunity.

** The Program Admission Process **

It is recommended that students interested in a health career meet with the Health Careers Admissions Assistant/Advisor in the Welcome Center or (313) 845-9877 to discuss program options and then create an academic plan to qualify for the selected program.

Step 1 - Apply to the program

  • First time applicants to HFC will indicate the program by selecting an Associate of Science with a specialization in Pre-Respiratory Therapist degree on the application to the college.
  • Current HFC students must complete a program change form indicating the new program as an Associate of Science with a specialization in Pre-Respiratory Therapist degree. College applications and change forms must be submitted to the Records and Registration Office located in the Welcome Center.

Step 2 – Qualifying for admission

  • Complete all program admission requirements.

Step 3 - Deliver information and track applicant status

  • It is the student’s responsibility to make certain official transcripts are sent to: Henry Ford College, Transfer Evaluation, 5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128-2407
  • It is the student’s responsibility to make certain all necessary records are submitted to the Admission Assistant of Health Careers in the Welcome Center.
  • Students are responsible to monitor their program admission progress via the WebAdvisor Program Evaluation link.

Step 4 - Qualifying and admission

  • Students are qualified when all of the program’s admission criteria have been satisfied.
  • Applicants are admitted on a “first-qualified, first-admitted” basis. Application date may be used to determine placement on the qualified list if necessary.
  • Students will only be contacted via the contact information provided through WebAdvisor. It is imperative that all student contact information such as phone numbers and addresses are kept current. If we are unable to contact a student, we then will move to the next qualified applicant.
  • Final approval to enroll in the program only comes from the Respiratory Therapist Program Director.

NOTE: Due to the number of credit hours required for program completion and the intensity of the program students are encouraged to complete as many of the Support and General Education classes as possible prior to entering the program. The first courses that a student should complete are those required for program admission followed by the required Support and General Education courses.

Degree-Specific Requirements

All students receiving an Associate Degree are required to meet Degree-Specific Requirements AND General Education Requirements. Courses listed in the Required Core and/or Required Support Courses may also be used to fulfill Degree-Specific and General Education Requirements. Developmental courses (those numbered below 100) cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.

Attention: It is the student's responsibility to review the entire program form before making course selections for registration purposes. The College recommends that students meet with an advisor or counselor well in advance of registration deadlines and before making course selections.

General Education Requirements: 

The following courses are required in this program and satisfy HFC’s General Education Outcomes for this program. Students who change their program will need to confirm in advance that they are completing all required courses for their specific program of study, including additional General Education courses. All Associate in Applied Science degrees require at least 15 General Education credits total, including at least three credit hours from each of the five areas below. For this program:

  1. Civil Society & Culture: Complete the following:

  2. Communication: Complete the following:

  3. Computer Technology: Complete the following:

  4. Critical Thinking & Information Literacy: Complete one of the following:

  5. Quantitative Literacy: Complete the following:

NOTE: For this program, General Education minimum credits: 16

Degree-Specific Requirements: 

Fulfill the Required Core, Required Support, and/or Elective Courses for this program.

Required Support Courses

Minimum Credit Hours: 

Program Admission Course Requirements

CHEM-131: Principles of Chemistry Meets the Quantitative Literacy General Education Requirement
Minimum Credit Hours: 
Minimum Number Of Credits To Graduate: 
79.5 (Including Options/Electives)

Program Requirements

Additional Program Requirements: 

Prior to starting the Program

Applicants are invited and must attend informational and orientation meetings scheduled by the Program Director for Respiratory Therapy.

CPR--AHA Basic Life Support Healthcare Provider American Heart Association: Evidence of CPR completed within two months of beginning the RT program by providing current AHA, BLS Healthcare Provider card.

Program Supplies Students must purchase clinical uniforms and supplies including stethoscopes and electronic program which students will purchase for electronic clinical documentation. Do NOT purchase in advance. Specific directions will be given during orientation meeting.

Program Deposit At the time of formal admission to the program, each applicant must pay a $100 fee to secure a place in the program. This fee is refunded only if the student is still active in the program Oct. 15 of Fall Term 1. Required core courses can be taken only after acceptance into the RTH program through the Health Careers Office.

Health Appraisal Students in the RTH program are expected to meet the same physical and mental health requirements as a respiratory therapist. A representative RTH Job Profile listing these requirements, as well as environmental conditions of this occupation, is available through the Health Careers Office.

Final acceptance and continuation in the RTH program is contingent upon fulfilling and maintaining minimum program requirements and proof of the following by specified deadline dates:

  • Physical examination (must meet job profile 
requirements as determined by a physician and validated on health form)

  • Required titers from previous immunizations and needed 
immunizations from titer results, if necessary. Evidence 
of titers must be provided by submission of current lab 

  • Tuberculosis screening

  • Vaccinations as required by health care community

  • Health Insurance coverage throughout program

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen Consistent with Section 20173 of the Michigan Public Health Code and the requirements of our clinical affiliates, a Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen are required for all students in the RTH program prior to beginning clinical assignments.

Students who are not cleared for clinical through the Health Appraisal, Criminal Background Check, and Drug Screen will not be able to complete the RTH program.

Other Requirements All RTH courses taken at HFC must be successfully completed with a "C" or better. Students are responsible for their own transportation to clinical sites and any expenses incurred.

Program Duration Limits / Updates / Changes: 

Program is twenty-one months in length. Students must complete all RTH courses within three years of beginning the formal program. Each Respiratory Therapist course may be repeated only once.

The College continuously attempts to improve each program and as a result, courses and/or requirements may be modified. Curriculum, course content, and admission criteria are subject to change by action of the College faculty and administration. Contact the Health Careers Office for any current program updates or visit for any current updates.

Requirements are Subject to Change

The information represented here is for the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the Program Evaluation section of WebAdvisor.

Other Information

Occupational Exposure / Risk: 

Applicants considering a career in Respiratory Therapy should be aware that during their course of study and in subsequent employment in the field, they are likely to work in situations where exposure to infectious disease is possible. This is an occupational risk for all health care workers. Persons should not become health care workers unless they recognize and accept this risk. Proper education and strict adherence to well established infection-control guidelines, can reduce the risk to a minimum. Thorough education in infection control procedures is an important part of the respiratory therapist program of study.

Latex Allergies
Early recognition of sensitization to natural rubber latex (NRL) is crucial to prevent the occurrence of life-threatening reactions in sensitized healthcare workers. The program faculty strongly advises that students sensitized or allergic to latex consult a physician for guidance on the merits of continuing in a health care career. NRL sensitized students who choose to continue in the Respiratory Therapist program must notify the program director.

Registry / Certification / Licensure Exam Information: 

Successful completion of the program of study qualifies graduates to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree, become eligible to sit for the national accreditation exams for the designation of the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and apply for state licensure as a respiratory therapist. The national examinations consist of the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination (TCM) and the Clinical Simulation Examination offered by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). Information on the exam process is available through the NBRC at


The Respiratory Therapist program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Student/Graduate outcomes for respiratory therapy programs can be found on the CoARC website at:

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

Year Established: 
Program Code: 


Health Sciences Division: 313-845-9877, Health Careers Education Ctr, Room: G-132
Kim Najarian: 313-317-6812,, Health Careers Education Ctr, Room: G-133F

Transfer Information

Transfer Options/Requirements: 

The College has articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to help students who want to transfer to other institutions once they have completed their studies at HFC. Articulation agreements ensure that graduates from HFC can transfer to another institution and work towards a bachelor’s degree without a loss of coursework completed at HFC. Transfer guides denote the transferability of HFC coursework toward specific degree programs at other institutions. It is important that students who intend to transfer to another institution consult the appropriate articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to ensure the transferability of the courses they take to the institution they plan to attend. Articulation agreements and transfer guides are available on the HFC Transfer Resources page. For additional resources and assistance with transferring, students are encouraged to work with HFC’s University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center (313-845-9612,, Learning Resource Center). Students enrolled in this program frequently transfer to institutions such as:

  • Siena Heights University
  • University of Michigan - Dearborn
Career Opportunities: 

The Profession

Respiratory therapists are health care professionals, dedicated to providing life-supporting, life- enhancing care to newborns, children, adults and the elderly. Respiratory therapists work under qualified medical direction to assess, treat, manage, provide diagnostic evaluation, educate, and care for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities associated with the cardiopulmonary system. Therapists work throughout hospitals, most often in intensive care units and emergency settings. Therapists are a special blend of patient-centered caregivers and technically sharp, analytical thinkers. Some therapists concentrate on pulmonary rehabilitation and continuing care in patient homes or extended care facilities while others specialize in pediatric/neonatal care. The respiratory therapist may also work in areas such as cardiopulmonary diagnostics, medical equipment sales, management, and education.


The outlook for RTs has never been better. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to increase faster than average through the year 2022. The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) offers a wide variety of information on a career in Respiratory Therapy at