Respiratory Care, A.A.S.

Save lives with a degree in Respiratory Care. Learn to care with compassion.

About the Program

  • This program centers on patient care, particularly in emergency situations. You will learn to provide compassionate care at its core.
  • The Respiratory Care Program's goal is to prepare graduates who excel in knowledge, skills, and behavior within the field. These graduates can become registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).
  • If you thrive in a fast-paced environment that demands both technical and interpersonal skills, this program is tailored for you.
  • Respiratory Care is a specialized healthcare field that encompasses preventing, diagnosing, treating, managing, and rehabilitating patients with lung disorders.
  • As an advanced respiratory therapist, you will be involved in life-saving situations, collaborating with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Your expertise will be in high demand.
  • Graduates are eligible to apply for the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Certification and Registry Examinations. This certification is essential for licensure in most states regulating respiratory care.

Program Details

Discover the Respiratory Care A.A.S. program. Life-saving skills in two years.

Employment demand for Respiratory Therapists is expected to grow by 12 percent by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics, faster than other occupations. An increasing elderly population and advances in respiratory treatments are expected to drive the job market for Respiratory Therapists at hospitals, health care service providers and physician offices.

Respiratory Care student

TCC’s Respiratory Care Program generally accepts up to 25 students each year beginning in the fall term. Applications are open annually starting September 1, and the deadline to apply is April 15.

The Respiratory Care Program is a two-year, five-term, full-time day program. It consists of specialized courses that have to be taken is a specific order. To prepare graduates 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). Respiratory Care program courses are offered during the day only. General education courses may be taken prior to being accepted into the program to lighten course loads. Human Anatomy and Physiology is a prerequisite course that must be taken prior to acceptance into the program. Your course of study will include all aspects of respiratory health and respiratory care techniques as well as hands-on clinical experiences.

When you graduate from our program, you will be awarded an Associate Degree in Applied Science and eligible to apply for the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Certification and Registry Examinations. The NBRC states, “The first examination for earning the RRT is the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination (prior to January 2015, it was known as the Written Registry Examination). The TMC Examination evaluates the abilities required of respiratory therapists at entry into practice and determines eligibility for the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE). The CRT and/or RRT credentials are used as the basis for the licensure in all 49 states that regulate the practice of respiratory care. 

There are two cut scores for the TMC Examination. 

  • If a candidate achieves the low-cut score, he or she will earn the CRT credential. 
  • If a candidate achieves the high cut score, he or she will earn the CRT credential and become eligible for the Clinical Simulation Examination (provided the candidate is eligible to earn the RRT credential).”

After successfully completing this program, you will have the ability to:

  • Apply knowledge, understanding, and troubleshooting skills to respiratory therapeutics in all patient settings.
  • Evaluate a patient in all settings and recommend proper diagnostic tools.
  • Communicate effectively with all team members and patients, recognizing diverse needs and employing methods of compassionate care.
  • Uphold standards of ethics, safety, infection control, and proper documentation across all settings.
  • Use evidence-based practices to create patient care plans based on individualized and diverse needs.
  • Manage and troubleshoot respiratory care equipment across all patient settings.

Explore program requirements and start your journey.

Degree Requirements

Plan your path to success with our program map.

Program Map

Respiratory Care student at TCC

Our Respiratory Care Program admits a new class of students annually, beginning in August at the Metro Campus. The applicant pools for programs in the School of Health Sciences are very competitive. Application does not mean acceptance into the Respiratory Care Program. Applicants must meet with a Health Sciences advisor before they apply to a program and may be required to attend an orientation for the Allied Health-related programs. All application correspondence from the School of Health Sciences will be through your TCC email. 

We've got a clear path to get you started in the Respiratory Care program:

  1. Apply to TCC: First, apply for admission to TCC. This involves submitting your high school and any college transcripts. Please note that if you haven't been enrolled at TCC in the past year, you'll need to complete this application.
  2. Submit the TOEFL Requirements, if applicable.
  3. Contact a School of Health Sciences Academic Advisor.
  4. Complete TCC Accuplacer Math and Reading exams
  5. Review the Respiratory Care Essential Functions
  6. Review the Estimated Cost of the Respiratory Care Program.
  7. Apply to the Respiratory Care Program: Applications are open annually from September 1 to April 15.
  8. Check your TCC email for correspondence about your application. All application correspondence from the School of Health Sciences will be through your TCC email only.

We're here to help you succeed. Contact us at for more information.

Admission Requirements

To join the Respiratory Care Program, you must meet these requirements:

  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater
  • Complete BIOL 1314 - Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology with “C” or higher by the end of the current Spring semester.
  • Complete TCC Accuplacer Math and Reading exams within 5 years of the current application deadline.
  • Prepare for an extensive background check, including a seven-year county of residence nationwide criminal history check, national sexual predator screening, Social Security check, and Medicare/Medicaid fraud screening. Our clinical affiliates require this. Keep in mind that positive findings in the background check may be reviewed by the clinical affiliates and could potentially affect your ability to complete clinical requirements.
  • All Health Sciences students doing clinicals must complete background checks, immunizations, and a drug screening test by the deadline set by the School of Health Sciences office before their first clinical rotation.

Selection Process

Selection is determined from a point system based on the applicant's overall GPA, prerequisite course(s), TCC Accuplacer scores, etc. The Respiratory Care Program is currently not conducting interviews. Admission decisions are determined solely by total academic points earned, with no consideration given to Letters of Recommendation in the ranking of applicants. See the Respiratory Care Application Scoring Rubric for additional details.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

If English is your second language and you're an international student applying for any TCC health sciences program, you'll need to show your English proficiency. Here's what you need to know:

  • You don't need to take the iBT TOEFL or IELTS tests if you've graduated from a U.S. high school.
  • Your test scores must be from within the last 2 years of the semester you're applying for.
iBT TOEFL Requirements
  • Writing: Minimum score of 21
  • Speaking: Minimum score of 24
  • Reading: Minimum score of 20
  • Listening: Minimum score of 20
  • Total score: Minimum of 85
IELTS Requirements
  • Reading: Minimum score of 6.5
  • Listening: Minimum score of 6.5
  • Speaking: Minimum score of 7.5
  • Writing: Minimum score of 6
  • Total IELTS Band score: Minimum of 6.5

You must meet these minimum scores in all four sub-tests on a single exam. If your total score doesn't meet the sub-score minimums, it won't meet the requirement. In some cases, exceptions may be considered.

Note: Duolingo Test is not accepted.

To take the tests:

  • To find a testing site, register, and pay the test fee for TOEFL iBT, visit the ETS website.
  • To find a testing center, register, and pay the test fee for IELTS, visit the official IELTS website. Both tests cost around $190.

We strongly encourage you to take practice tests to prepare for these important exams.

Your official scores, including all sub-scores, must be sent directly to the TCC Registrar’s Office. We're here to help you through this process and ensure your success.

The Respiratory Care Program at Tulsa Community College is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Our program number is 200146.

Program Goal

To prepare graduates 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).

Program Outcomes

CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented. Learn more about CoARC Programmatic Outcomes Data.

Program Contact

Program Director
Sheila A. Ferris MHA, BSTT, RRT-NPS

School of Health Sciences
TCC Metro Campus
909 S. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74119

Admission to the Program
TCC Respiratory Care Blue Team

Careers in Respiratory Care

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