Respiratory Care Program

What is a Respiratory Therapist?

A Respiratory Therapist specializes in the assessment, treatment, and education of patients with respiratory or cardiac problems. In this profession, the type of patient cared for ranges from premature infants needing life support to the elderly patient trying to remain independent at home. Hospitals are just one of many healthcare facilities that employ Respiratory Therapists; others include pulmonary rehabilitation centers, doctor offices, emergency transport companies, medical sales, and home health care companies. The highly specialized technical training earns the Respiratory Therapist a vital role on the healthcare team.

Program Overview:
The Respiratory Care Program is a stand alone 2 year Associate of Applied Science degree. The program is designed to meet the standards as outlined by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Graduates of the program will be eligible to take the Therapist Multiple Choice credentialing exam offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). Upon successful attainment of the CRT or RRT credential, the graduate can be licensed by the West Virginia Board of Respiratory Care (WVBORC), and be legally eligible for employment as a Licensed Respiratory Therapist in the state of West Virginia. The graduate will also be eligible to work elsewhere by fulfilling the licensing requirements for that state or country.

Click Here for CoARC Data Outcomes for Pierpont Community and Technical College

Employment Opportunities:
Job opportunities are expected to be very good for respiratory therapists with cardiopulmonary care skills or experience working with infants. Employment of respiratory therapists is expected to increase approximately twice as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012, because of substantial growth in numbers of the middle-aged and elderly population—a development that will heighten the incidence of cardiopulmonary disease.

The median annual salary for a Registered Respiratory Therapist was $62,223 a 10.7% increase since 2005 according to the 2009 AARC Human Resource Study. In West Virginia the median salary is slightly lower, but the need for therapists continues to grow and the salaries continue to climb. The number of active Respiratory Therapist grew almost 30% during the past decade, from 111,706 in 2000 to 145,117 in 2009. On average, each respiratory therapist reported caring for about 6 patients recieving mechanical ventilation.

Because of the unique eighteen-month structure of this program, graduate therapists will be available for work at a time most needed by employers. Successful completion of the AAS Respiratory Care program of study does not guarantee success on the NBRC examinations or job placement.

Educational Advancement Opportunities:
For many individuals, completing a degree in Respiratory Therapy is a stepping stone to advanced education and career opportunities in medicine and health administration. For students seeking a bachelor’s degree or more, our Associates of Applied Science degree in RT can be as a foundation for multiple advanced degrees. Below are a few examples:

Students interested advancing their career can use a Respiratory Therapy degree to complete a more advanced degree in fields such as the following:

Allied Health Administration, Business/Economics, Occupational Safety

Clinical Education
General Education, Biology, Chemistry

Medical Equipment Sales/Service
Business/Economics, Biometrics, Electronics Engineering Technology, Graphics Technology, Computer Science

Nursing, Nurse Anesthesia, Physicians Assistant, Medical School

Home Health Care Rehabilitation
Psycology, Physiology, Physical Therapy

Whether a student is just entering the healthcare field or trying to advance a current career, The Respiratory Therapy profession is an excellent bridge to future success.

Applications, Transcripts and Letters of Interest must be sent to the Office of the Registrar.  Application packages are accepted by the resgistrar year-round. Application deadline is January 31 each year. Cohorts begin to matriculate each August.


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