Department of Health Professions

Respiratory Care
Associate of Applied Science Degree

Respiratory Care is an allied health specialty. It is an important part of modern medicine and health care.  Respiratory Care encompasses the care of patients with respiratory problems in the hospital, clinic and home.
Respiratory therapists, as members of a team of health care professionals, work to evaluate, treat, and manage patients of all ages with respiratory illnesses and other cardiopulmonary disorders in a wide variety of clinical settings. Respiratory therapists must behave in a manner consistent with the standards and ethics of all health care professionals.In addition to performing respiratory care procedures, respiratory therapists are involved in clinical decision-making such as patient evaluation, treatment selection, assessment of treatment efficacy, and patient education. The scope of practice for respiratory therapy includes, but is not limited to:

  • acquiring and evaluating clinical data;
  • assessing the cardiopulmonary status of patients;
  • performing and assisting in the performance of prescribed diagnostic studies, such as drawing blood samples, performing blood gas analysis, pulmonary function testing, and electrocardiograms;
  • utilizing data to assess the appropriateness of prescribed respiratory care;
  • establishing therapeutic goals for patients with cardiopulmonary disease;
  • participating in the development and modification of respiratory care plans;
  • case management of patients with cardiopulmonary and related diseases;
  • initiating ordered respiratory care, evaluating and monitoring patients’ responses to such care, modifying the prescribed respiratory therapy and cardiopulmonary procedures, and life support endeavors to achieve desired therapeutic objectives;
  • initiating and conducting prescribed pulmonary rehabilitation;
  • providing patient, family, and community education;
  • promoting cardiopulmonary wellness, disease prevention, and disease management;
  • participating in life support activities as required; and
  • promoting evidence-based medicine; research; and clinical practice guidelines.

Starting salaries are competitive with premiums paid for evening, night and weekend shifts.  Jobs are plentiful throughout the United States.  Graduates are eligible to take the credentialing examinations administered by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) which lead to the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.  Application for licensure in the State of Montana and most other states requires successful completion of the NBRC Entry Level (CRT) examination.
The Respiratory Care Program at the University Of Montana, Missoula College, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care ( 1248 Harwood Road, Bedford, Texas. 76021-4244. Graduates receive the degree of Associate of Applied in Respiratory Care.
The goal of the Respiratory Care 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 (RRT’s)

Students entering the program are required to rotate to clinical sites outside the Missoula area on a periodic basis.  These rotations will take place during spring semester, summer season and fall semester of the second year.  The sites may include, but are not limited to, Kalispell, Butte, Bozeman, Polson, Ronan, Hamilton, Billings, Lewiston, Idaho and Spokane, Washington.

See additional program information. (Adobe Acrobat required)

Length of Program: 3 – 16 week semesters, 1 - 3 week  winter session;1- 10 week summer session for a total of approximately 15.5 months.
Award Upon Graduation: Associate of Applied Science Degree
Entry Times: Fall Semester


General Education Curriculum Program Entry Requirements

Students must prove competence with computer technology in one of the following three ways:
       a. Acceptable transfer credit for CAPP 120
       b. Passing challenge exam for CAPP 120
       c. Take and pass CAPP 120
Program applicants must have a 2.75 grade point average, GPA, for the following general education courses and
must earn the minimum of a “B-“ in SCN201 and SCN202 or accepted transfer course for the same.
       PSYX 161S – Organizational Psychology, or PSYX 100S, Introduction to Psychology
       M 121 – College Algebra, or M 115 – Probability & Linear Math or M105 Contemporary Math
       BIOH 201N – Anatomy & Physiology I
       BIOH 211N – Anatomy & Physiology II
       WRIT 121 – Technical Writing, or WRIT 101 – English Composition
       SCN 175 – Integrated Physical Science

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