University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

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 include the Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) examination and the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE).  Upon successfully achieving the designated Low Cut score, the candidate is awarded the Certified Respiratory Therapist credential.  When the candidate successfully achieves the High Cut score, instead of the Low Cut score, on the TMC, they are eligible to take the CSE.  Once the CSE is successfully passed, the candidate is awarded the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. Licensure requirements in the state of Montana are met by successful achievement of the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential.

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 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 (, 264 Precision Boulevard, Telford, Tennessee 37690.. 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, Plains, Butte, Billings, Hamilton, Helena, and Coeur d Alene, Idaho. Transportation and housing are the student's responsibility.

Associate of Applied Science - Respiratory Care


Pre- Respiratory Care Prerequisite Courses23
Respiratory Care Courses48
Total Hours71

Degree Specific Credits: 71

Required Cumulative GPA: 2.0

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.

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 Anatomy & Physiology I4
BIOH 211NHuman Anatomy and Physiology II4
COMX 115SIntroduction to Interpersonal Communication3
M 115Probability and Linear Mathematics3
PSYX 100SIntro to Psychology3
PHSX 105NFundamentals of Physical Science3
WRIT 121Introduction 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 131Respiratory Care Fundamentals I5
AHRC 132Respiratory Care Fundamentals II3
AHRC 150Respiratory Care Lab I1
AHRC 231Respiratory Critical Care4
AHRC 232Respiratory Pathology & Disease3
AHRC 235Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiology3
AHRC 243Perinatal & Pediatric Respiratory Care3
AHRC 250Respiratory Care Lab II2
AHRC 252Respiratory Care Review2
AHRC 255Clinical Experience I4
AHRC 260Respiratory Care Lab III1
AHRC 265Clinical Experience II5
AHRC 270Respiratory Care Lab IV1
AHRC 275Clinical Experience III6
Total Hours48

Minimum Required Grade: B-