Respiratory Therapy | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Respiratory Therapy

Three People Working on a Patient

A Respiratory Therapist (RT) is a highly specialized medical professional who works alongside physicians to provide life-saving health care for those with heart and lung disease. As a critical member of the health care team, Respiratory Therapists utilize high-tech equipment to provide hands-on patient centered respiratory care to those of all ages. 

Respiratory therapists help improve outcomes for people who have been diagnosed with disorders ranging from the non-acute and chronic lung diseases to life-threatening emergencies. Patients may include newborns, trauma victims, drowning victims and those suffering from asthma, bronchitis, coronary heart disease, emphysema and pneumonia.

About the Program

NWACC's Respiratory Therapy (RT) program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Respiratory Therapy and will prepare you for the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential from the National Board for Respiratory Care

The RT program prepares you with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs). 

You will be able to perform the following as an RRT:

  • Provide patient and caregiver education
  • Maintain all equipment used in respiratory support
  • Perform complete patient assessment, using the appropriate respiratory care protocols, and collaborate as a health care team member
  • Administer advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Administer medication, therapeutic medical gases, and therapeutic procedures for the treatment of pulmonary conditions
  • Provide appropriate mechanical assistance to support respiration when necessary
  • Perform diagnostic pulmonary function testing and blood-gas analysis
  • Exercise judgment and accept responsibility in therapeutic procedures based on observation of patient and knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and clinical medicine

Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to take the National Board for Respiratory Care Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) exam and Clinical Simulation Exam (CSE). Upon successful completion of these exams, you will hold the RRT credential.

Still in high school? Physical science, biology, chemistry, algebra and medical terminology would be ideal courses to take to prepare for a career in respiratory therapy.