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“As a graduate of Doña Ana Community College, I am proof that a community college education can get you where you want to be. The Respiratory Therapy Program at Doña Ana Community College prepared me for all the challenges that my career has confronted me with. I was able to obtain a position as a student respiratory therapist before I graduated from the program, and moved on to become a registered respiratory therapist. I later became the director of respiratory therapy and the Sleep Lab for a local hospital. Today, I manage a medical practice and sleep lab, and own my own durable medical equipment companies. I was exposed to all these different avenues via the clinical rotations in the program at DACC. When I entered the program, they told me there were many different roads I might take as a respiratory therapist, and for me there have been plenty of options for me to choose.”

—Abe González

What is a Respiratory Therapist?

About the Profession Respiratory Therapists play critical roles as members of the health care team in caring for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory therapists provide care for a diverse patient population, from newborns and children to adults and the elderly. Disease states and conditions often requiring respiratory care include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, emphysema, heart attack, infant respiratory distress, pneumonia, postoperative surgical complications, shock, stroke and trauma.

Working with physicians and other health care practitioners, respiratory therapists help their patients breathe better by providing the following:

  • Patient assessment, care plan development and respiratory care protocol administration
  • Critical care, including airway care, ventilator support, physiologic monitoring and advanced life support
  • Perinatal and pediatric respiratory care
  • Cardiopulmonary diagnostics and pulmonary function testing
  • Patient education, pulmonary rehabilitation and disease management

Program Information

The twenty-five month full-time program offers an associate of applied science degree. It is a concentrated professional program designed to provide the student with all of the skills needed to practice as a respiratory therapist. The education in respiratory therapy is classroom oriented with skills lab activities that follow the didactic presentation, where small group learning activities emphasize skill-based, hands-on experience.

The program progresses from simple to complex, with emphasis on critical thinking and decision-making. After achieving a pass rating on any procedure in a simulated patient environment, the student begins to practice the procedures on patients under the supervision of a clinical instructor.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). This status allows enrollment of students and ensures that all students who complete the program are eligible for the examinations given by the National Board for Respiratory Care and state licensure in New Mexico.

Contact information for CoARC is as follows: 1248 Harwood Rd., Bedford, TX 76021, (817) 283-2835 or www.coarc.com.

Special Admission Requirements

Click on "Program Requirements" to learn about the special admission requirements for this program.

Employment

The demand for healthcare employees has never been greater, and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand is only expected to increase.

With their training as a respiratory therapist, students can gain employment in settings such as hospital intensive care units, emergency rooms, pediatric units and operating rooms, as well as in doctor’s offices, sleep labs, patients’ homes and nursing homes.

Job Outlook and Salary Ranges

Job outlook and salaries vary depending on geographic area and job responsibilities. For the most current information visit the U.S. Department of Labor Website: http://www/bls.gov.oco/home.htm

Remember to consult the DACC Catalog, available online, for more complete information before choosing a program. Certain restrictions, qualifications, and/or fees may apply.

For additional information, contact the program office at (575) 527-7607.

5/2015