Respiratory TherapyOverview

Respiratory Therapy is a Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)-accredited advanced practice two-year program that prepares students to administer respiratory care and life support to patients with breathing disorder and cardiopulmonary abnormalities. Most therapists participate in three phases of patient care: diagnosis, treatment, and patient management. For more information about the profession, visit the AARC website.

A respiratory therapist is a licensed health care professional who cares for patients with heart and lung problems, and provides oxygen therapy, pulmonary medications, diagnostic testing, life support and mechanical ventilation.  Respiratory therapists care for a variety of patients, including newborn infants in respiratory distress, children with asthma or pneumonia, victims of trauma, and older patients with emphysema or heart failure.

There is a great demand for Respiratory Therapists.  The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects employment of respiratory therapists to increase faster than the average compared to all occupations through the year 2012 and salaries are competitive with other health care professions.  Starting salaries in the Bay Area for Registered Respiratory Therapists in 2011 average $72,800.

The Respiratory Therapy Program at Skyline College provides instruction and clinical practice needed to be a successful Respiratory Care Practitioner.  Over 2 years a student receives instruction from dedicated instructors who have practical experience in the field.  Over 800 hours of clinical exposure and practice are coordinated with sites in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.

The program offers an advanced level education with an A.S. Degree in Respiratory Therapy which allows a graduate to become a licensed Certified Respiratory Therapist and attain a higher level of credentialing (Registered Respiratory Therapist) as well.  Areas of study include human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, mathematics as well as technical courses dealing with procedures, equipment, and clinical tests.

One of the program's greatest strengths is its affiliation and support from those hospitals and organizations it serves.  Students in the program receive the latest information, hands on training and individualized support from experienced faculty in the classroom and knowledgeable dedicated licensed practitioners.  Over 800 hours of clinical practice will be completed by the student at these various hospitals and healthcare facilities:

San Francisco County
California Pacific Medical Center Kaiser Permanente - San Francisco
San Francisco General Hospital Saint Francis Hospital
St. Luke's Hospital University of California - San Francisco
Veteran Affairs Hospital - San Francisco  
San Mateo County
Apria Home Health Mills-Peninsula Hospital
San Mateo General Hospital Seton Medical Center
Stanford Hospital  

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program students will be able to:

  • Obtain an Associates of Science degree or certificate of completion
  • Obtain the CRT credential
  • Obtain gainful employment as licensed Respiratory Therapists
  • Demonstrate competency in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains when providing respiratory care

Useful Information

Program Accreditation

The Respiratory Therapy Program at Skyline College is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

Read the Respiratory Therapy Program Annual Report 2014

Read the CoARC letter in response to the 2014 Annual Report

Credentialing Success Award 2015


For Further Information, Contact:

Ijaz Ahmed, MD, MS, RRT - Respiratory Therapy Program Director 

(650) 738-4457

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