Respiratory Therapist

Program Information

Program Code: 
Degree Type: 
Associate in Applied Science
Year Established: 
Health Careers - (313) 845-9877 -

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 Program The respiratory therapist program provides a blend of classroom and clinical experiences. Program faculty work closely with clinical sites and employers to prepare graduates for today’s rapidly changing health care environment. 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. The technical and clinical courses will be conducted during the day. Support courses such as ENG 131 generally are available during both days and evenings.

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. Information on the exam process is available through the NBRC at

The student must complete a total of 76.5-79.5 credits of course work (12 credits pre-admission coursework, 6 credits required General Education coursework, 7-10 credits required support courses and 51.5 credits required RTH courses). Due to the number of credit hours required for the program completion and the intensity of the program students are encouraged to complete as many of the support/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 other required support/General Education courses.

Career Opportunities: 

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 2012. The American Association for RespiratoryCare (AARC) offers a wide variety of information on a career in Respiratory Therapy at

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.

Registry / Certification / Licensure Exam Information: 

Successful completion of the program of study qualifies graduates to receive an Associate of Applied Science degree and to apply to take both the Entry-Level Certification Exam and the Advanced Practitioner Examination offered by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). The successful graduate of the program is eligible to take the national exam and to apply for state licensure as a respiratory therapist. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national accreditation exams for the designation of the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).


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,

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 HFCC.   Articulation agreements ensure that graduates from HFCC can transfer to another institution and work towards a bachelor's degree without a loss of coursework completed at HFCC.  Transfer guides denote the transferability of HFCC 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 in the University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center (313-845-9612,, Learning Resource Center).  Some of the institutions students enrolled in this program frequently transfer to include:

  • Siena Heights University
  • University of Michigan - Dearborn

Program Requirements

Admission Requirements / Eligibility: 
  1. Minimum College GPA of 2.7 (4.0 scale) - (if student has completed 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 or its equivalent with a C grade or better.
  4. MATH proficiency as demonstrated by successful completion of MATH 080 with a C grade or better OR COMPASS Algebra score of 46 or better.
  5. Successful completion of BIO 233 – Anatomy and Physiology I, with a C grade or better.
  6. Successful completion of AH 100 – Medical Terminology, with a C grade or better.
  7. Successful completion of CHEM 131 – Principles of Chemistry, 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 Application Process It is recommended that each applicant meet with a Health Careers Advisor (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 HFCC will indicate the program selection on the application to the college.
  • Current HFCC students must complete a specific program application. Program applications are available in the Health Careers office or Welcome Center. Applications must be submitted to the Admission Assistant of Health Careers located in the Welcome Center.

Step 2 – Qualifying for admission: Complete all program admission requirements.

Step 3 – Deliver information and track application

  • It is the student’s responsibility to make certain official transcripts are sent to: Henry Ford Community 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.
Additional 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.

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 devices (i.e. iPod Touch) 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.

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.

Program Duration Limits / Updates / Changes: 

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.

All RTH courses taken at HFCC must be successfully completed with three consecutive calendar years.

Each Respiratory Therapist course may be repeated only once. The Computer Literacy General Education Requirement is to be completed no later than Fall Term I. See the Required Support Course Sequence.

Minimum Number Of Credits To Graduate: 
77 (Including Options/Electives)

Degree-Specific Requirements

Degree-Specific Requirements: 

Students must also complete the specific degree requirements for the Associate in Applied Science Degree. Courses listed in the Required Core Courses and/or Required Support Courses may also be used to fulfill Associate in Applied Science Degree Requirements when applicable. Developmental courses (developmental courses are those numbered below 100) cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.

General Education

General Education: 

Students must also complete the General Education requirements of the College. Courses listed in the Required Core Courses and/or Required Support Courses for the, as well as courses used to fulfill requirements of the Associate in Applied Science degree, may also be used to fulfill General Education requirements when applicable.

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.