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Respiratory Care

Respiratory Care

The respiratory care profession is a rapidly expanding dynamic allied health career. SUNY Erie's Respiratory Care Program trains individuals to become respiratory therapists who, under medical direction, work in the treatment, management, diagnostic evaluation and overall care and education of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory therapists are involved with patients of all ages, from the premature newborn whose lungs are not fully developed to the elderly whose lungs become diseased. The overall goal of the Respiratory Care Program is 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 (RRT's).

Utilizing classroom lecture, laboratory and clinical experiences, the Respiratory Care Program prepares students to assume responsible positions as part of a health care team. The curriculum is designed to provide a broad knowledge so that students are academically prepared and competent to enter the profession. Students are prepared to practice in a variety of settings and as graduates can find employment in hospitals and other acute care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, physician offices, laboratories and home care.

Graduates of the program become eligible to obtain certified and registered respiratory therapist credentials. Graduates can then apply for a license to practice through The Office of Professions, New York State Education Department. Most states currently require a license to practice as a respiratory therapist.

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Respiratory Care, the graduate will be able to:

  • Evaluate data in the patient record relative to respiratory care;
  • Perform clinical assessment;
  • Perform procedures to gather clinical information and evaluate procedure results;
  • Recommend diagnostic procedures relative to respiratory care;
  • Assemble and troubleshoot respiratory care equipment;
  • Ensure infection control;
  • Perform quality control procedures;
  • Maintain a patent airway including the care of artificial airways;
  • Perform airway clearance and lung expansion techniques;
  • Support oxygenation and ventilation;
  • Administer medications and specialty gases;
  • Ensure modifications are made to the respiratory care plan;
  • Utilize evidence-based practices;
  • Provide respiratory care in high-risk situations;
  • Assist a physician / provider in performing procedures;
  • Conduct patient and family education; 
  • Demonstrate behavior consistent with acceptable professional conduct.


The SUNY Erie Community College North Campus Respiratory Care Program (program #200130) offers an AAS degree and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com).

Programmatic outcomes data referring to credentialing success, attrition, job placement and the number of enrollees and graduates can be found at http://www.coarc.com/Students/Programmatic-Outcome-Data.aspx.

Admission/Academic Advisement

Application to the College and program are to be completed on the college website at www.ecc.edu/admissions/. Applications are processed on a continuous basis and students are encouraged to apply early. Due to the competitive nature of the program, applicants may be ranked based on their academic preparation and preference will be given to those who applied earliest. A new class is admitted only each fall semester.

Coursework greater than 10 years old and (P-pass) or (S-satisfactory) grades will not be transferred and any Erie Community College course greater than 10 years will not be used in the ranking of the applicant. English and math placement exams will be required of all students who cannot show competency within three (3) years of application and there is no advanced placement based on work, previous college credits or otherwise.

Because of the competitive nature of the program, most students complete some, if not all, the non-Respiratory Care Program requirements prior to beginning the professional coursework. Applicants who do not meet minimum requirements will be individually advised in an effort to improve their academic success. This path provides an opportunity to meet program requirements and improve ranking. Students may begin this option at any time, spring, summer or fall semester. The Respiratory Care Program faculty will act as the student's adviser along the way. Acceptance to begin Respiratory Care Program coursework will be based on a student's academic success and space availability.

Clinical Experiences

  • The program utilizes many clinical affiliates throughout Western New York.
  • Students will be assigned to several clinical sites throughout the educational experience.
  • Students must provide his/her own transportation to clinical affiliates.
  • Students must purchase uniforms and other specific equipment prior to clinical coursework.
  • Students must provide evidence of updated required immunizations and a completed physical exam ensuring that they are in good physical and mental health and are capable of completing the requirements of the clinical part of the program.
  • Students must maintain current CPR certification throughout their clinical experience.
  • Students in the program may be subjected to drug testing and criminal background checks at their own expense. Failure to meet clinical site requirements may preclude completion of the Respiratory Care Program.

Department Notes

A student accepted for matriculation in the Respiratory Care Program is responsible for the following items:

  • all Respiratory Care Program coursework must be in sequential order. Failure to pass any respiratory care professional course will prevent the student from going on to the next semester;
  • if coursework continuity cannot be maintained, the department reserves the right to have the student demonstrate skills and knowledge through written, psychomotor and/or oral evaluation;
  • response to a criminal conviction that may affect an individual's ability to be licensed upon graduation;
  • in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other governmental regulations, Respiratory Care Technical Standards that define the essential functions of respiratory care are listed by the department and are used in the lawful and non-discriminatory admission of students;
  • because of the critical nature of the profession, deviations from professional conduct may adversely affect the patient's well-being. Therefore, the department reserves the right to immediately remove the student from didactic, laboratory and clinical coursework and/or dismiss that student from the program if the department determines that the student has acted in an unprofessional manner;
  • each student must attain a minimum grade of "C" (2.0) GPA in college courses and a (2.5) GPA in department courses. Failure to do so may lead to dismissal from the program;
  • a minimum grade of "B" is required for all math and English developmental coursework; and
  • the Respiratory Care program does not accept prior respiratory care education or work experience in lieu of required respiratory care coursework and does not offer advanced placement.


The Respiratory Care Foundation of the American Association for Respiratory Care and the Erie Community College Foundation offer various scholarships. Students are encouraged to apply at www.ecc.edu/scholarships.


Total Degree Credits: 68.0

First Year, Fall Semester
RC 110 - Principles of Respiratory Care I Credit Hours: 3
RC 111 - Laboratory for Principles of Respiratory Care I Credit Hours: 1.5*
RC 112 - Respiratory Care Sciences Credit Hours: 3
RC 114 - Cardiopulmonary Pharmacology Credit Hours: 3
BI 150 - Anatomy and Physiology I Credit Hours: 3
BI 151 - Laboratory for BI 150 Credit Hours: 1 
EN 100 - Composition I: Rhetorical Strategies Credit Hours: 3

First Year, Spring Semester
RC 120 - Principles of Respiratory Care II Credit Hours: 3
RC 121 - Lab for Respiratory Care II Credit Hours: 1.5*
RC 122 - Special Procedures I Credit Hours: 3
RC 124 - Clinical Practice I Credit Hours: 2
BI 152 - Anatomy and Physiology II Credit Hours: 3
BI 153 - Laboratory for BI 152 Credit Hours: 1 
EN 102 - Composition for the STEM Disciplines Credit Hours: 3

Summer Session I

RC 128 - Clinical Practice II Credit Hours: 3*

Second Year, Fall Semester
RC 230 - Cardiopulmonary Disease Credit Hours: 3
RC 232 - Respiratory Care Special Procedures II Credit Hours: 3*
RC 234 - Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care Credit Hours: 3
RC 238 - Clinical Practice III Credit Hours: 4
BI 230 - Microbiology Credit Hours: 3
BI 231 - Lab for BI 230 Credit Hours: 1

Second Year, Spring Semester
RC 240 - Respiratory Care Review Seminar Credit Hours: 3
RC 242 - Introduction to Sleep Medicine Credit Hours: 1
RC 244 - Principles of Respiratory Care III Credit Hours: 3
RC 246 - Clinical Practice IV Credit Hours: 4*
Social Science elective Credit Hours: 3

* Indicates laboratory fee required.

Note: All respiratory care professional coursework must be taken in sequential order. Please contact the Respiratory Care Department for further advisement and placement testing. This is the recommended sequence. Student must consult with their academic adviser prior to registering to maintain matriculation status.

Available At:

North Campus

Recommended H.S. Courses and/or Experiences:


Pre-Admission Recommendations:


Career Opportunities/Further Education:

Extended Care Facilities
Physicians' Offices
Home Care

Hegis Code:


Curriculum Code:



Health Sciences
Respiratory Care

Program Video

Need Help?

Respiratory Care

James Bierl
North Campus
Room G200B
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
P: (716) 851-1531