It is an exciting time for the respiratory care profession. America’s Career Infonet has targeted respiratory therapy as one of the fastest growing professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth at 19% (2012 - 2022) for respiratory therapists. Career opportunities are excellent and earning potential is competitive with other health professions.

A Respiratory therapist, also known as a respiratory care practitioner, is the health profession responsible for evaluating, treating and caring for patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. Practicing under the direction of a physician, respiratory therapists assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedure. Respiratory therapists evaluate and treat all types of patients, ranging from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people whose lungs are diseased.
Respiratory therapists setup, operate and monitor devices that provide oxygen or medicine in the form of a mist or gas to patients. They use and maintain equipment such as mechanical ventilator, therapeutic gas, administration apparatus and aerosols generators. Respiratory therapists are also responsible for teaching patients about breathing exercises, monitoring patients’ physiological responses to therapy and maintaining natural and artificial airways, while maintaining the patient’s records.

Respiratory care personnel must be able to see and hear well, have mechanical ability and manual dexterity to work with machines and be able to be on their feet most of the day. Therapists should be sensitive to a patient’s physical and psychological needs. In addition, operating advanced equipment requires proficiency with computers.

About 90% of respiratory therapists work in hospitals with the department of respiratory care, anesthesiology, emergency medicine or pulmonary medicine. Therapists may assist physicians is clinical setting or operating rooms. With additional education or experience, therapists may advance to supervisory positions, managerial positions or become academic instructors.

The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)  South Plains College's CoARC number is:  200222

* "For students in this course who may have a criminal background, please be advised that the background could keep you from being licensed by the State of Texas.  If you have a question about your background and licensure, please speak with your faculty member or the department chair. You also have the right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the applicable licensing agency.”


Upon completion of the program, the graduate will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to comprehend, apply and evaluate clinical information relevant to the roles an advanced-level respiratory therapist (cognitive domain).

  • Demonstrate the technical proficiency in all the skills necessary to fulfill their roles as an advanced-level respiratory therapist (psychomotor domain).

  • Demonstrate professional behaviors consistent with employer expectations of an advanced-level respiratory therapist (affective domain).


Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) programmatic outcomes can be found at  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.


Persons interested in the Respiratory Therapy Program must complete the following entrance requirements:

  1. Complete the requirements for admission to SPC. Admission to the college does not guarantee admission to the reapiratory program.
  2. Be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate or hold a GED diploma.
  3. Complete an application form for admission to the program.
  4. Applicants must have completed an American Heart Association's Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers Course during the previous two years, and maintain this credential throughout enrollment.
  5. Must provide evidence of immunizations and criminal background checks prior to registration.
  6. Must be TSI compliant in all areas.
  7. Must have successfully completed the following prerequisites with a C or higher; MATH 1314 College Algebra or higher level of math, BIOL 2401 Anatomy & Physiology I, and BIOL 2402 Anatomy & Physiology II.

This curriculum prepares students to be competent entry level respiratory therapists. Upon completion of this curriculum, students poses the knowledge, skills and persoanl attitudes and behaviors necessary for practice as an entry-level respiratory therapist. Students completing the prescribed curriculum will receive an Associate of Applied Science degree.


The South Plains College Respiratory Care Program has received the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist Credentialing Success Award for 2017, 2018, and 2019.  This award recognizes Respiratory Care Programs that hold current accreditation with CoARC and meet or exceed the following established thresholds:

  • RRT credentialing success 90% or above
  • Meet or exceed CoARC thresholds for CRT credentialing success
  • Retention rates
  • On time graduation rates
  • Employer and Graduate satisfaction


Respiratory therapists provide respiratory and cardiopulmonary services to patients of all ages from neonatal to geriatric in a variety of settings from outpatient to critical care, including:

  • Outpatient clinics or offices
  • Hospitals (outpatient and inpatient services)
  • Sub-acute and Long-term pulmonary care settings
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation facilities
  • Education and research centers
  • Home Medical Services
  • Operating Rooms
  • Hyperbaric Services
  • Medical Flight Services
  • Pulmonary Function Labs
  • Sleep Diagnostic Centers


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median annual wages to be $55,870 in 2012. This varies by region and geographical area, position, years of experience, degree of education, and practice setting.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in the respiratory profession is expected to grow 19% from the year 2012 to 2022. This is much faster than average and job opportunities are expected to be very good.


Yes, there is a variety of avenues to continue a baccalaureate program which will accept your associate degree credit.  Please visit with the Respiratory Care Program Director regarding these opportunities.