Respiratory Care (AS)

Online application for Respiratory Care will be open from January 1st until May 31st.

Breathe Life into Your Career: Become a Respiratory Therapist

Dive into the growing field of healthcare as a respiratory therapist! This vibrant field merges clinical skills with meaningful patient connections, empowering you to enhance lives by tackling respiratory disorders head-on. With the need for skilled therapists on the rise, you'll find a wealth of opportunities in hospitals, clinics, and beyond.

Our respiratory therapy program arms you with essential expertise in pulmonary function testing, mechanical ventilation, and educating patients. Opt for this career path and make a real difference for those struggling to breathe. It's more than a job—it's your chance to breathe new life into the world!

More about Respiratory Care

CoARC Program of Excellence

8 years

in a row

100% employment

7 years

in a row


Respiratory therapy is a rapidly expanding field, experiencing significant demand both locally and nationally. With an average starting salary of $62,000 and a projected growth rate of 19%, Respiratory Therapy not only offers financial stability but also a myriad of opportunities in diverse healthcare settings. From intensive care units and emergency rooms to home healthcare and air transport services, Respiratory Therapists play a crucial role in patient care across the lifespan, from infants to the elderly.


Applicants interested in the Respiratory Care program should:

  • Be self-motivated and proactive in learning and working environment.
  • Exhibit strong interpersonal skills to engage effectively with patients.
  • Possess critical thinking abilities for making informed decisions.
  • Thrive in fast-paced settings, demonstrating the ability to adapt quickly.
  • Work well both within teams and independently to provide comprehensive care

What We'll Teach You

Our respiratory therapy program offers a well-rounded education that prepares students for various aspects of patient care. It starts with teaching them how to conduct thorough assessments and diagnoses of respiratory conditions through patient history, physical examinations, and diagnostic testing. Students then learn to develop and implement tailored treatment plans that improve lung function and address breathing difficulties. The curriculum includes mechanical ventilation management, where students acquire the skills to adjust and troubleshoot ventilators for patients needing respiratory support. Additionally, they become proficient in conducting pulmonary function tests to evaluate lung capacity and airflow, essential for managing respiratory conditions effectively. A vital part of the program focuses on patient education, empowering students to communicate effectively with patients about their conditions and care options. Training in emergency response, including CPR and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), prepares students to handle urgent respiratory situations. They gain an in-depth understanding of various respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COPD, crucial for comprehensive patient care. The importance of interdisciplinary collaboration is emphasized, preparing students to work seamlessly within healthcare teams. Alongside learning about professional ethics and communication, students engage in hands-on clinical experiences through rotations in healthcare settings. This integrated approach ensures that graduates are fully equipped to excel as respiratory therapists, making a positive impact on patient health and outcomes.

Degrees & Credentials

Earn AS degree in Respiratory Care

Upon program completion, graduates can pursue the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exam through the NBRC. They also have the option to specialize with certifications like Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care (NPS), Adult Critical Care (ACCS), Sleep Disorders Testing (SDS), Pulmonary Function Technology (CPFT and RPFT), and Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C) for focused expertise. These certifications can lead to diverse career paths, such as Physician Assistants, physicians, or Advanced Practice Respiratory Therapists (APRT), offering exciting opportunities for professional growth and specialization within respiratory care.

Florida SouthWestern State College also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Cardiopulmonary Sciences. Graduates of the AS Degree Program in Respiratory Care with the RCIS credential will be eligible to apply for the bachelor’s degree to take the upper division courses. Contact us for more information about earning your bachelor’s degree!

Program Information

The Respiratory Therapy Program is a comprehensive 22-month curriculum culminating in 76 credit hours, designed to prepare students for a career in Respiratory Therapy. Hosted on the Lee Campus, this program offers a robust blend of courses, focusing on the core aspects of Respiratory Therapy. Students engage in a wide range of clinical experiences across multiple hospitals located in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier Counties, ensuring a diverse and hands-on learning environment.

How to Apply

The FSW RC Program is a limited access program requiring application to both FSW and the program itself once you are admitted to FSW. Admission to FSW usually only requires a high school diploma; further steps will be needed to be admitted to the program.

The FSW RC Program admissions committee will review your official FSW transcript(s) along with your application to determine admission points. Non-FSW transcript evaluation by the FSW Registrars Office may take up to 14 business days. If transcripts are not evaluated by registrar before the application deadline, your application will not be considered for this application cycle. Check often with your College Advisor to verify that your transcript(s) have been received and evaluated. The first passing grade (A, B, C) will be used to calculate admission points.

Courses with GEE or SCI prefixes on your FSW transcript might fulfill program requirements. To ensure proper credit, consider a Credit Review with an Academic Advisor. For college credit earned through exams like AP or CLEP, send official score reports to the Registrar's Office.

You need a minimum of eleven college credits for a successful application, including six math or science credits. These courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher before graduation, but can be finished after acceptance.


Tamra Pacheco
Health Professions Coordinator Email Phone (239)985-3499
Jean Newberry
Program Director, Respiratory Care Email Phone (239) 432-7356


    The Florida SouthWestern State College Respiratory Care Associate in Science Degree Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (

    Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care 264 Precision Blvd. Telford, TN 37690