Respiratory Care | ECTC

Respiratory Care

Help people breathe easier. Learn to use life-saving equipment and care for patients with lung or heart problems, while entering a field that’s full of opportunity.

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What Do Respiratory Therapists Do?

Respiratory Care is a profession involved in supporting cardiopulmonary health, rehabilitation, therapeutics, and life support. Therapists are also extensively involved in cardiopulmonary diagnostic testing, patient evaluation, and care planning. They work with patients of all ages from premature infants to the elderly. Therapists use knowledge of patient physiology and advanced technology in the planning and delivery of respiratory care.

To learn more about the respiratory care profession and to see the kinds of jobs and work that RTs are doing, check out the links below. Respiratory therapists are critical members of the healthcare team and work every day to save lives.

What are my career choices?

The projected average salary for RTs Working in the U.S. is over $62,000 a year. (AARC). You need an Associate's Degree from an accredited Respiratory Care Program to be allowed to sit for the national credentialing exam. After obtaining your credential you will then obtain a license in the state you wish to work. Career and advancement opportunities in respiratory care are excellent. Respiratory Therapy is a portable career, meaning you can obtain a job anywhere you might want to live. Most graduates work in hospitals, but opportunities exist in home health care, long-term care, equipment sales, research, and physicians’ offices. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment forecast for Respiratory Therapists is expected to increase by 21% over the next decade (compared to a 5% increase in employment in general for the same time period).

What classes do I have to take?

Supporting sciences, math, communications, and specialized courses in cardiac and respiratory care.  We combine classroom theory and laboratory experience with clinical experience in hospitals and homes.

What are my degree, diploma, or certificate options?

Degrees and Transfers

ECTC has numerous partnerships with 4-year universities. If you are interested in a transfer pathway in this field, check out our partnering university pathways. Find more information on transferring from ECTC.

Note: Computer literacy must be documented by competency exam or by completing a computer literacy course.

Certificate Options

Field Licensure Requirements

Upon completion of the program, graduates in KENTUCKY must pass the National Board of Respiratory Care exam to become certified. Some states require students to become registered. This program prepares students for the registry exam.

Where do I start?

First, you will need to be enrolled at the college.  Apply for admission to ECTC to receive information from the Admissions Office about submitting your placement test scores (ACT or other exams) and to schedule a meeting with an advisor to register for your classes.

What are the admission requirements?

YOU MUST ATTEND A PREADMISSION CONFERENCE to be considered for admission to the Respiratory Care Program. At this one hour long meeting, students will be given information regarding the profession, how students are chosen for the available seats, day to day program operation, & requirements for graduation.

This program also has additional requirements for admission. Contact us for more information.

Accreditation Standards

The Respiratory Care Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). The program number is 200548. This is the website:

“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.” The link for programmatic outcomes can be found here:

Note: The Kentucky Board for Respiratory Care may deny mandatory certification for convicted felons. Questions should be directed to the Kentucky Board for Respiratory Care.

Length of Program

You can earn an Associate in Applied Science degree in 18 months, but if you withdraw, get suspended or start a grievance process, you can expect extended time added to your educational process. Students will need to meet with the Program Director to find out about how to reapply and when the course would be offered again. Students not finishing any semester with a grade “C” or better will automatically be dropped from all program courses and will need to meet with Program faculty and complete a readmission plan before reapplying for readmission.

This information should not be considered a substitute for the KCTCS Catalog.  You should always choose classes in cooperation with your faculty advisor to ensure that you meet all degree requirements.

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Contact Information

Respiratory Care Office

RPC 3rd Floor Room 331

(270) 706-8462

Program Director

Rebecca A. Higdon, MS, RRT-NPS

Director of Clinical Education

Stephanie Brothers, MAE, RRT

RPC 332

(270) 706-8660

Additional Respiratory Care Program Information