Feb 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Respiratory Care, AS

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Graduates of the Respiratory Care Program are prepared to become credentialed as Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) after successful completion of the National Board for Respiratory Care Examinations. Respiratory Therapists are members of a team of health care professionals working in a wide variety of clinical settings to evaluate, treat, and manage patients of all ages with respiratory illnesses and other cardiopulmonary disorders. As members of this team, Respiratory Therapists should exemplify the ethical and professional standards expected of all health care professionals. Respiratory Therapists provide patient care which includes clinical decision‐making and patient education. The Respiratory Care scope of practice includes, but is not limited to the following basic competencies:

  • acquiring and evaluating clinical data
  • assessing the cardiopulmonary status of patients
  • performing and assisting in the performance of prescribed diagnostic studies such as: obtaining blood samples, blood gas analysis, pulmonary function testing, and polysomnography
  • evaluating 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 prescribed respiratory care treatments, managing life support activities, evaluating and monitoring patient responses to such therapy and modifying the prescribed therapy to achieve the desired therapeutic objectives
  • initiating and conducting prescribed pulmonary rehabilitation
  • providing patient, family, and community education
  • promoting cardiopulmonary wellness, disease prevention, and disease management
  • promoting evidence‐based practice by using established clinical practice guidelines
  • evaluating published research for its relevance to patient care.


Current occupational employment and wages data for Respiratory Therapists are published by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291126.htm.

Program Structure

The Respiratory Care Program admits students once per year and starts each Fall semester. This program is a planned sequence of instruction consisting of 76 credit hours in the following areas: 28 credit hours of General Education Requirements and 48 credit hours of Program Requirements. The curriculum includes a combination of classroom, laboratory, and clinical education experiences. General Education and Program Specific coursework may be taken on various campuses but the Respiratory Care core courses are only offered on the Thomas Edison (Lee) Campus. Clinical education occurs at affiliated hospitals throughout Southwest Florida.


The Florida SouthWestern State College Respiratory Care Associate in Science Degree Program at the Thomas Edison (Lee) Campus is nationally accredited by

The Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
264 Precision Blvd.
Telford, TN 37690


Application Deadline

May 31

Admission Requirements

Respiratory Care has limited enrollment due to the rigorous clinical education requirements for the program. Acceptance to Florida SouthWestern State College does not imply acceptance into the Respiratory Care program. Each applicant must meet specific criteria which are listed in the admission policies. Admission applications are located at www.fsw.edu/academics/programs/asrespiratorycare.

Admission to the program is determined by admissions points, academic transcript evaluation, and affective skills demonstration. Admissions points are awarded for the completion of General Education coursework and prospective students are encouraged to complete as many courses as possible prior to starting Respiratory Care Program Requirements. Pre-admission requirements include satisfactory completion of the following:

  • Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Examination
  • Panel Interview
  • College-approved criminal records check and drug testing at the applicant’s expense
  • Proof of personal health insurance throughout enrollment in the program, naming the student and dates of coverage


After acceptance, students must complete the following:

  • Immunization and health report
  • TB Skin Test
  • Certification in American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Professionals (CPR and AED), which will be scheduled during the first year of the program

Baccalaureate Degree Opportunity

Florida SouthWestern State College also offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Cardiopulmonary Sciences. Graduates of the Respiratory Care, AS degree program with the RRT credential may enroll in the Cardiopulmonary Sciences, BS program and complete remaining courses to earn the bachelor’s degree. For more information, please contact the School of Health Professions (239) 489-9255.

Course Prerequisites

Many courses require prerequisites. Check the description of each course in the list below for prerequisites, minimum grade requirements, and other restrictions. Students must complete all prerequisites for a course prior to registering for it.

Graduation Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements of their program to be eligible for graduation. All courses specified below must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or better. This includes General Education Requirements and Program Requirements for the degree. Students must indicate their intention to attend commencement ceremony by completing the Commencement Form by the published deadline.

General Education Requirements: 28 Credit Hours

Total Degree Requirements: 76 Credit Hours

Information is available online at: www.fsw.edu/academics/ and on the School of Health Professions Home page at: www.fsw.edu/sohp

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