Academic Catalogs

Respiratory Care, Associate in Science Degree

Banner Code: 1_AS_RSPC

Control Number: 04007

Financial Aid Eligible

Respiratory Care is an allied health specialty dealing with the diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients with acute and chronic diseases affecting the pulmonary system. Respiratory Care Practitioners/Respiratory Therapists work in all areas within the
hospital, especially within the critical care areas with patients who are in a life-threatening phase of their illness. Additionally, some Respiratory Care Practitioners/Respiratory Therapists work with home care agencies to treat patients in their homes. Duties include analysis of pulmonary function and arterial blood gases, life support ventilation, CPR, assessment of pulmonary status, airway care, plus other related duties. Specialties in Respiratory Care include adult critical care, neonatal and pediatric critical care, pulmonary function testing, home care and rehabilitation, management, and education.

The Respiratory Care program at Orange Coast College is a two-year Associate in Science Degree program beginning each fall semester. Courses within the program include lectures, skills application of procedures and techniques in a laboratory setting on
campus, and approximately 1000 hours of clinical practice. Clinical practice is within area hospitals performing the latest procedures in medicine. There is also a series including discussions with physicians.

The Respiratory Care program at Orange Coast College is a fully accredited entry-level practitioner program, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

Program graduates are eligible candidates for the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential from the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). Licensure in the state of California as a Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) requires the RRT credential and satisfying all other requirements for licensure set forth by the Respiratory Care Board of California. The employment outlook for Respiratory Care Practitioners/ Respiratory Therapists is good throughout the United States.

National Credential: CRT and RRT issued by the National Board for Respiratory Care. State License: Respiratory Care Practitioner issued by the Respiratory Care Board of California.

Program Admission

  1. Allied Health A010 course – application and orientation.
  2. The student must complete the general education requirements for Mathematics and English composition for the Associate in Science Degree and the program prerequisites prior to acceptance to the program.

Program Outcome

The outcome of the program is to prepare students as competent Respiratory Care Practitioners for employment in the field as respiratory care professionals providing cognitive, psychomotor, and affective qualities to meet community needs.

Employment possibilities include:

  • Registered Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Therapy Specialist
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner

Review Graduation Requirements and General Education

Course Title Units
AS Degree GE must be completed for program admission.
Program Prerequisites
ALH A010Health Occupations0.5
ALH A111Medical Terminology3
BIOL A221Anatomy-Physiology4
CHEM A110Introduction to Chemistry5
MATH A030Intermediate Algebra (or higher)4
Required Courses
ALH A115Patient Care2
ALH A120Human Diseases2
ALH A130Applied Pharmacology3
BIOL A114Basic Microbiology2
PSG A100Polysomnography Basics1
RSPC A185Respiratory Anatomy and Physiology3
RSPC A190Basic Respiratory Care Equipment3
RSPC A191Clinical Lab 11.5
RSPC A192Clinical Lab 22.5
RSPC A195Respiratory Pharmacology1
RSPC A196Introduction to Mechanical Ventilation0.5
RSPC A255Home Care and Rehabilitation1
RSPC A260Arterial Blood Gases, Theory and Practice2
RSPC A265Pulmonary Pathology3
RSPC A270Ventilators and Respiratory Management3
RSPC A275Respiratory Care Procedures3
RSPC A276Clinical Lab 34.5
RSPC A278Pulmonary Case Assessment1
RSPC A279Physician Series 10.5
RSPC A280Advanced Monitoring, Procedures and Therapies in Critical Care2
RSPC A285Pulmonary Function Testing1
RSPC A286Clinical Lab 44
RSPC A287Clinical Internship2.5
RSPC A290Neonatal Intensive Care2
RSPC A296Respiratory Care Board Review1
Total Units68.5
Requirement Units
Minimum Program Major Units 68.5
AS General Education Option 1, 2, or 3 Varies
Total Minimum Degree Units 83.5-86.5

Polysomnography Cross-Training Option

This option is recommended for Respiratory Care graduates who would like to cross-train as Polysomnographic Technologists. Upon completing the cross-training courses, students will earn an additional AS in Polysomnography.

Program Option Prerequisite

Respiratory Care, Associate in Science Degree

Course Title Units
PSG A140Introduction to Polysomnography4
PSG A150Intermediate Polysomnography3
PSG A155Cardiac Rhythm Analysis0.5
PSG A160Polysomnography Testing2
PSG A165Polysomnography Clinical 11
PSG A170Polysomnographic Practice0.5
PSG A175Polysomnography Clinical 23
PSG A190Introduction to Polysomnography Anatomy and Physiology3
PSG A250Polysomnography Record Review3
PSG A260Advanced Polysomnography3
PSG A265Polysomnography Clinical 33
PSG A280Pediatric Sleep Medicine2
PSG A285Polysomnography Internship2.5
PSYC A130Life Span Developmental Psychology3
Total Units33.5
Requirement Units
Total Units 117-120

Required Clinical: course must be taken in sequence. Contact the department for additional information.

Program Sequence

These sequences at Orange Coast College are general course curriculum maps for students to finish all major and general education requirements for two-year completion of degrees, and/or fulfillment of transfer requirements. The course sequence may include course prerequisites and other placement requirements. Students are advised to meet with an Orange Coast College Counselor to review course selections and sequences to ensure that completion of this program will meet a student's transfer and career goals.

For terms less than 15 units, students should meet with a counselor to reconfigure their sequence to maintain financial aid eligibility with a full-time course load.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Semester 1Units
ALH A010 Health Occupations 0.5
BIOL A221 Anatomy-Physiology 4
MATH A030 Intermediate Algebra (Or Higher) 1 4
Semester 2
ALH A111 Medical Terminology 3
CHEM A110 Introduction to Chemistry 5
Year 2
Semester 1
ALH A115 Patient Care 3 2
ALH A120 Human Diseases 2
BIOL A114 Basic Microbiology 2
RSPC A185 Respiratory Anatomy and Physiology 3
RSPC A190 Basic Respiratory Care Equipment 3
RSPC A195 Respiratory Pharmacology 1
Semester 2
ALH A130 Applied Pharmacology 3
RSPC A191 Clinical Lab 1 1.5
RSPC A260 Arterial Blood Gases, Theory and Practice 2
RSPC A275 Respiratory Care Procedures 3
PSG A100 Polysomnography Basics 1
RSPC A192 Clinical Lab 2 2.5
RSPC A196 Introduction to Mechanical Ventilation 0.5
Year 3
Semester 1
RSPC A265 Pulmonary Pathology 3
RSPC A270 Ventilators and Respiratory Management 3
RSPC A276 Clinical Lab 3 4.5
RSPC A279 Physician Series 1 0.5
Semester 2
RSPC A255 Home Care and Rehabilitation 1
RSPC A278 Pulmonary Case Assessment 1
RSPC A280 Advanced Monitoring, Procedures and Therapies in Critical Care 2
RSPC A285 Pulmonary Function Testing 1
RSPC A286 Clinical Lab 4 4
RSPC A287 Clinical Internship 2.5
RSPC A290 Neonatal Intensive Care 2
RSPC A296 Respiratory Care Board Review 1
 Total Units83.5-84.5

Highly recommended for Allied Health programs, some state licenses will require Algebra 2 or higher-level math to be completed at the college level.  If 100-level Math courses (any math except MATH A220) satisfy AS Math Requirement and OCC AS GE AREA A2


OCC AS GE AREA A2 - Required if 100-level MATH will not be taken to meet Math competency. 


Acceptance into the OCC Respiratory Care program required to begin major coursework (Cohort Restriction)