Respiratory Care A.A.S.

Paul J. Crockford, Med, RRT, Program Director

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, and assessment of treatment efficacy) and patient education. The scope of practice for respiratory therapist 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 applying adequate recording electrodes using polysomnographic techniques;
  • 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 excellent 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 for Respiratory Care (NBRC) which lead to the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. Licensure requirements in the state of Montana also are met by successful completion of the NBRC Entry Level (CRT) examination.

The goal of the program is, "To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs)" CoARC standard 3.01.

The program is 4 ½ semesters in length which includes the AA prerequisite courses and a summer session. 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 Science in Respiratory Care.

Students accepted to the program are required to rotate to clinical sites outside the Missoula area on a periodic basis. These rotations take place during the spring semester, summer session and autumn semester of the second year. These sites may include, but are not limited to: Kalispell, Ronan, Polson, Butte, Billings, Bozeman, Hamilton, Helena, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston, Idaho and Spokane, Washington. Transportation and housing are the student’s responsibility.

Associate of Applied Science - Respiratory Care

Missoula College

Degree Specific Credits: 75

Required Cumulative GPA: 2.0

Catalog Year: 2018-2019

Note: It is preferred that students have the prerequisite core completed by the end of the semester in which they intend to apply to the program (i.e. applying to the program in the spring and completing the core by the end of that spring semester.) However, those students who anticipate completing the core by the end of the summer semester are still encouraged to apply in the spring and may be granted provisional acceptance. Computer competency must be demonstrated by taking CAPP 120 or may be challenged by testing out.


Pre- Respiratory Care Prerequisite Courses23
Respiratory Care Courses52
Total Hours75

Pre- Respiratory Care Prerequisite Courses

Note: Must be completed or be in the process of completing when applying to the program. A minimum GPA of 2.75 for prerequisite courses is required in order to apply to the program.

Complete all of the following courses:
BIOH 201NHuman Anat Phys I (equiv 301)4
BIOH 211NHuman Anat Phys II (equiv 311)4
CAPP 120Introduction to Computers3
M 115Probability and Linear Mathematics3
PSYX 100SIntro to Psychology3
SCN 175NIntegrated Physical Science I3
WRIT 121Intro to Technical Writing3
Total Hours23

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Respiratory Care Courses

Complete all of the following courses:
AHRC 101Communication Management1
AHRC 129Patient Care & Assessment4
AHRC 131Resp Care Fundamentals I5
AHRC 132Respiratory Care Fundamentals II3
AHRC 150Respiratory Care Lab I1
AHRC 231Resp Crit Care4
AHRC 232Resp Path & Disease3
AHRC 235Cardiopulm Anat & Phys3
AHRC 243Perinat & Pediat Res Care3
AHRC 250Respiratory Care Lab II2
AHRC 252Respiratory Care Review2
AHRC 255Clinical Experience I4
AHRC 260Resp Care Lab III1
AHRC 265Clinical Experience II5
AHRC 270Resp Care Lab IV1
AHRC 275Clinical Exp III6
Total Hours48

Minimum Required Grade: B-