Apr 13, 2024  
2020-2021 College Catalog 
2020-2021 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Respiratory Care AAS

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Program Description

Respiratory Care is in the center of patient care and especially emergency scenarios. The Respiratory Care program teaches the student to serve the heart of the patient with a heart of compassion. Come join us and make a difference in the lives of others in a health care setting.

The Respiratory Care Program is designed to prepare individuals with the knowledge, skills and behaviors that are required for successful advanced respiratory therapists. If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment where your technical and scientific responsibilities will be matched by a real need for human relations skills, then the TCC Respiratory Care program may be for you. Respiratory Care is a health care specialty that offers a set of unique challenges in the areas of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, management and rehabilitation of people with lung disorders. As an advanced respiratory therapist, you will be involved in a wide variety of lifesaving and life-supporting situations, working side by side with physicians, nurses and others on the health care team. You will treat patients ranging from newborns to senior citizens. Your expertise will be in demand and opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills will be great.

The Respiratory Care Program is a 2-year, 5-term, full-time day program consisting of specialized courses offered in a specific sequence. Graduates of the program are awarded an Associate Degree in Applied Science and are eligible to apply for the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Certification and Registry Examinations.

Essential Functions

Students admitted to the Respiratory Care program must demonstrate sufficient physical and emotional health to participate in academic and laboratory activities and to practice clinically with the public in a safe and effective manner. Students with disabilities are expected to perform all the essential functions of the program with or without reasonable accommodation. The College will work with the student and the EAC to provide, if possible, reasonable accommodations. While the College will make every effort to work with our students with disabilities to accommodate their disability related needs, it is important to note we are not required to provide requested accommodations that would fundamentally alter the essential functions, technical standards, or academic requirements of the Respiratory Care Program, or result in an undue financial or administrative burden.

Students may not come to class or participate in Clinicals/ Fieldwork/Practicums or Program activities impaired by alcohol or drugs, including marijuana.

Your role as a student in one of the TCC School of Allied Health programs is considered a “safety-sensitive position.” This includes tasks or duties that can affect the safety and health of the student or others. Examples include (but not exclusive to):

  • patient care
  • ability to escape injury and to prevent injury to others
  • handling of controlled substances during laboratories or Practicum
  • dispensing pharmaceuticals
  • working with hazardous materials, including pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, laboratory chemicals and other substances
  • working with volatile materials, including compressed gases and gas anesthetics
  • operation of a motor vehicle or other vehicles, equipment, machinery or power tools

 Physical Demands:

 Program applicants/current respiratory care students must be able to

 1. Lift and carry fifty pounds. Must be able to walk, run, stoop, and crouch for 8-12 hour shifts.

 2. Protect a patient when the patient is standing and ambulating on all surfaces with or without the use of assistive devices, including canes, crutches and walkers.

 3. To safely move a patient weighing more than 100 pounds from one surface to another using the appropriate level of help.


Motor Skills:

 Program applicants/current respiratory care students must possess sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other evaluation procedures.

 Program applicants/current respiratory care students must:

 1. Be able to execute motor movements including the physical/dexterity strength to stand and ambulate and possess the physical/dexterity strength to lift and transfer patients.

 2. Have the physical strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

 3. Possess coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch, hearing and vision.

 4. Possess the ability to engage in procedures involving grasping, pushing, pulling, holding, manipulating, extending and rotating.

 5. Possess gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective respiratory therapy treatment.

Example: Use sophisticated equipment and patient manipulation; mechanical ventilators,

oximeters, analyzers, metering devices, artificial airways, obtain blood and sputum samples.


 Sensory/Observational Skills:

 Program applicants/current respiratory care students must be able to observe patients and be able to obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian. Such observation requires the functional use of vision, hearing, and other sensory modalities. They must have visual perception, which includes depth and acuity.


  Communication Skills:

 Program applicants/current respiratory care students must:

 1. Be able to communicate in English effectively and sensitively with patients. In addition, they must be able to communicate in English in oral and hand written form with faculty, allied personnel, and peers in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.

 2. Be sensitive to multicultural and multilingual needs.

 3. Have the ability to complete reading assignments and search and evaluate the literature.

 4. Be able to complete written assignments and maintain written records.

 5. Have proficient verbal skills to communicate with patients, physicians, & staff, and patient’s family members.


Intellectual/Conceptual, Integrative, and Qualitative Skills:

 Program applicants/current respiratory care students must have the ability to measure, calculate reason, analyze, and synthesize data. Problem solving and diagnosis, including obtaining, interpreting, and documenting data, are critical skills demanded of respiratory therapists which require all of these intellectual abilities.

 They must have the ability to learn to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.

Behavioral/Social Skills and Professionalism:

Program applicants/current respiratory care students must:

 1. Demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation.

 2. Possess the emotional well-being required for use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities regarding the evaluation and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients.

 3. Be able to adapt to ever changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stresses, which are inherent in the educational process, as well as the clinical problems of many patients.

 4. Be able to maintain professional conduct and appearance, maintain client confidentiality and operate within the scope of practice.

 5. Have the ability to be assertive, delegate responsibilities appropriately, and function as part of a medical team. Such abilities require organizational skills necessary to meet deadlines and manage time.

 Environmental Exposure:

 Respiratory care students will face exposure to:

 1. Blood and/or body fluid.

 2. Infectious media and agents, toxins, and medications.

These essential functions are not to be construed as an exhaustive list, but rather examples of skills or duties that are required.


The Respiratory Care Program at Tulsa Community College is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (COARC), 1248 Hardwood Rd., Bedford, TX 76021, (817) 283-2835.

Admission to the Program

The Respiratory Care program generally accepts 30 students each year beginning in the fall term. The general education courses may be taken prior to being accepted into the program to lighten term course loads.

Program Application Instructions

  1. All prospective Respiratory Care students who have not been enrolled at TCC within the past year must complete an application for admission to the College and submit their high school transcripts, ACT scores, and previous college transcripts to the Metro Campus Student Completion Services office at 909 South Boston, Tulsa, OK 74119.  Incomplete submissions will not be considered for admission into the Respiratory Care Program. Admission to Tulsa Community College does not guarantee admission to the Respiratory Care Program.
  2. Application period for Fall 2021 will be Sept. 1st, 2020 until April 15th, 2021.  For more information, contact the Department of Allied Health office at (918) 595-7002.

Program Admission Requirements

A selection committee reviews all applications. Qualified applicants will be granted an interview with the Respiratory Care Program faculty. Qualified applicants are then ranked from the highest to the lowest score according to an established point system. The top 30 applicants are selected for the next fall semester. The selection criteria are based upon the following:

  • Cumulative GPA (2.5 or greater)
  • High School GPA (if less than 12 college credit hours)
  • ATI TEAS Composite Score
  • ATI TEAS Math and Reading Score
  • Interview
  • Successful completion of BIOL 1314 - Human Anatomy and Physiology  with a grade of ‘C’ or better prior to the application deadline.
  • Student must be able to travel to local and distant clinical sites.
  • An extensive criminal background check, including but not limited to a seven-year county of residence nationwide criminal history check, national sexual predator screening, Social Security check, and Medicare/Medicaid fraud screening is required by all clinical affiliates.  All Allied Health students participating in clinicals are required to complete these background checks, immunizations and a drug screening test by the Department of Allied Health office deadline prior to the first clinical rotation.  Any positive findings may be subject to review by the clinical affiliates and could prevent the student from completing clinical requirements.

Contact Information
Program Director
Beth Tenney, MS, RRT
Additional Information Available

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program you will be able to:

  • Administer oxygen.
  • Perform endotracheal and tracheostomy tube suctioning.
  • Administer medications in aerosoliized form.
  • Manage a patient on a mechanical ventilator.
  • Properly assess a patient with pulmonary disorders.


Search careers in this field at Focus 2 Career or schedule an appointment with TCC Career Services to learn more about our free career planning and job preparation services.

Student Organizations

AARC (American Association of Respiratory Care) and NN2RC (National Network of Associate Degree Respiratory Care)

Degree Requirements

View a semester-by-semester course plan of study on the Respiratory Care Degree Map.  

General Education Requirements Credit Hours: 19

Biology 4 hours**

Total Credit Hours: 71

**Courses must be completed with a “C” or better.

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