Respiratory Care Science Degree

Program facts Health Science icon


  • Credit hours: 69
  • Career outcome: Respiratory therapist

COMING SOON! Harper College has been working with leading area hospitals to develop an accredited Respiratory Therapist degree program.

  • Complete Harper's two-year associate degree to prepare for the licensure exam and immediate employment as a respiratory therapist.
  • Build your career in a high demand field: Median annual pay is $62,810 and jobs are expected to grow 23% through 2030.
  • Work in medical and hospital settings with patients with respiratory diseases such as asthma or emphysema. 
  • Continue your education with an aligned bachelor’s degree program through Harper’s partnership with a respected four-year university.
  • ICCB, IBHE and HLC accredited.

Degree program requirements

This degree is pending ICCB approval.

This 69 credit-hour Respiratory Care Science degree program prepares students to practice as nationally credentialed respiratory care practitioners serving as key members of the healthcare team. Skilled in assessing patients with breathing disorders in the emergency room, intensive care units and many other areas in healthcare facilities, respiratory therapists work directly with physicians on newborn, pediatric or adult patients to analyze oxygen levels and breathing difficulty. Therapists administer prescribed medications to relieve breathing distress, provide pulmonary/lung therapies, and conduct lung diagnostics for all ages. Graduates find employment in many settings such as hospitals, pulmonary rehabilitation clinics, doctors' offices, sleep labs, homecare, and air-life transport teams as they provide direct patient care in the emergency room, newborn/pediatric/adult intensive care units, and many other essential areas.

Respiratory care students will attend lab and lecture classes and engage in experiential clinical rotations in area hospitals. The proposed AAS degree program is seeking accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) which will qualify graduates to sit for national board credentialing exams to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) through the National Board for Respiratory Care immediately upon degree completion.

Admission Requirements:

Respiratory Care Science is a limited enrollment program. For admission requirements, please contact the Admissions Outreach Office at 847.925.6700 or visit harpercollege.edu Students who apply for this limited enrollment program are obligated to meet the current admission requirements and follow program curriculum as defined at the time of acceptance to the program.

PREREQUISITES:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, HSC and ENG coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 260 4 AAS General Education

Description:  Introduces the anatomy of the human body; the following systems studied either regionally or systemically: integumentary, skeletal, articular, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine and reproductive. Includes some introductory histology. Specially designed for students in health careers, biology, and physical education. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110. (NOTE: Lab science credit.) Formerly BIO 160.

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

ENG 101 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

HSC 112 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Emphasizes the origin and the basic structure of medical words, including prefixes, suffixes, word roots, combining forms and plurals. Offers pronunciation, spelling, and definition of medical terms based on the body systems approach. Emphasis on rendering a professional vocabulary required for work in the health care field.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

Mathematics1 3 AAS General Education

FIRST SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all RCS coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
RCS 101 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides students with a study of theories and modalities utilized in delivering, monitoring, and evaluating basic respiratory therapeutics to patients with compromised respiratory function in various healthcare settings. Covers aspects of artificial ventilation, arterial blood gas analysis, lung volume diagnostics, and hyperinflation intervention in patient scenarios. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: Admission into the RCS degree program.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 102 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Imparts the fundamental knowledge regarding the design, function, and operation of respiratory care equipment. Covers patient communication, medical gas principles, medical gas supply equipment, medical gas therapy equipment, humidity and aerosol therapy equipment, hyperinflation therapy equipment, airway secretion clearance equipment, hyperinflation therapy equipment, emergency resuscitation equipment, physiological measurement and monitoring equipment, and principles of equipment sterilization and processing. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: Admission into the RCS degree program.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 103 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides a comprehensive study of pharmacology principles. Covers receptor theory, clinical applications of medications, and historical analysis of first-generation medications. Examines current medication trends and recommendations. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: Admission into the RCS degree program.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 104 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Delivers an in-depth study of human anatomy and physiology regarding the cardiac, respiratory, and renal systems. Presents clinical application of the cardiac, respiratory, and renal system anatomy and physiology. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: Admission into the RCS degree program.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 105 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Prepares the student for direct patient care to be performed in the hospital setting and in addition to more advanced courses. Introduces clinical skills including vital signs, chest assessment, infection control, aerosolized medication delivery, oxygen therapy, hyperinflation therapy, airway clearance, arterial blood gas sampling, care of artificial airways, and tracheal suctioning. All procedures are performed under direct/close supervision. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: Admission into the RCS degree program.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

SECOND SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all RCS coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
RCS 106 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Offers lecture and case presentations related to pathophysiology, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of selected pulmonary disease entities, cardiac diseases, sleep disorders, neurologic disease processes and occupationally acquired disease entities as they relate to respiratory function. Clinical Simulation software utilized for clinical patient assessment, diagnostic data gathering, and treatment. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 101, 102, 103, 104 and 105 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 107 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides the student with an in-depth study of selected respiratory care techniques with an emphasis on the care of critically ill patients. Explores critical skills and knowledge of mechanical ventilation, bedside diagnostic techniques, patient monitoring, and rehabilitation in the critical care setting. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 101, 102, 103, 104 and 105 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 108 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Offers a comprehensive study of advanced equipment and technology utilized in the critical care and blood gas lab settings. Details hardware for hemodynamic monitoring, supplemental oxygen administration, noninvasive monitoring, blood gas measurement, quality control and assurance and mechanical ventilator concepts. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 101, 102, 103, 104 and 105 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 109 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides patient care opportunity to perform clinical procedures and interact with patients and professional personnel in a healthcare institution under the supervision of a respiratory therapist. Students gain direct patient care experience as presented in medical/surgical and pediatric clinical situations. Preparatory instruction is provided for mechanical ventilation and other critical care procedures. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 101, 102, 103, 104 and 105 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

THIRD SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all RCS coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
RCS 210 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Affords a supervised clinical education experience in which the student organizes and administers advanced respiratory therapeutics on assigned patients in adult critical care. Procedures include arterial blood gas procurement and measurement, bedside physiologic monitoring, airway care, as well as setup, monitoring and maintenance of mechanical ventilators. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 106, 107, 108 and 109 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 211 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides the respiratory care student with introductory knowledge concerning fetal, newborn, and pediatric development, assessment, and management. Lecture discussions include the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory and cardiac systems, basic respiratory therapy procedures and equipment, and mechanical ventilation strategies. In-class and online lectures as well as laboratory activities will be used to convey material. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 106, 107, 108 and 109 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

SPE 101 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

FOURTH SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all RCS coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 230 4 AAS General Education

Description:  Examines characteristics and importance of microorganisms; emphasis on identification, anatomy and physiology, control, relationship to health and disease and economic importance. College chemistry or equivalent is desirable. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110.(NOTE: Lab science credit.) Formerly BIO 130.

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 212 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Offers an in-depth study of specific ventilators used in adult ventilation to include traditional and proposed ventilator classification, method of operation, parameter interrelationships and ventilator-patient monitoring. Focuses on analysis of several contemporary volume, time, pressure, and flow-cycled ventilators. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 210 and 211 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 213 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Presents advanced clinical education in the intensive care setting in which the student monitors and administers critical care therapeutics on assigned patients in the adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units.

Prerequisite: RCS 210 and 211 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 214 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Offers an introduction to the medical and ethical issues of outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation services and diagnostics procedures. Explores the impact of legislation, regulations, and Medicare law. Discusses the respiratory therapist’s role in patient assessment, treatment plan, home care, and development of outcome measures for the chronic respiratory disease patient. Addresses reimbursement of outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation services. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 210 and 211 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

FIFTH SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all RCS and CHM coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
CHM 100 4 AAS General Education

Description:  Introduces basic concepts of inorganic and organic chemistry and biochemistry. Emphasizes chemical principles applied to biological systems. Laboratory exercises apply theory to biological and consumer products. Especially designed for students in allied health sciences. Meets the prerequisite of the Nursing program. IAI P1 902L

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

PSY 101 + 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 215 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides an introduction to applied experimental design, research ethics, and data analysis focusing on the respiratory care profession. Each step of the research process will be explored from development of a personal research hypothesis and research design to the steps taken in order to submit a research study for approval. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 212, 213 and 214 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

RCS 216 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Offers the student internships in the intensive care setting by providing direct patient care and administering critical care therapeutics. Emphasizes analysis and clinical application of advanced ventilator care of patients along with patient care diagnostics and management in the adult ICU. This course is pending ICCB approval.

Prerequisite: RCS 212, 213 and 214 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2022 | Fall 2022

1 - MTH 101 or higher.

+ - This course meets the World Culture and Diversity graduation requirement.

 

Next steps

For more information about starting your career as a respiratory therapist at Harper, please contact Admissions Outreach at 847.925.6700 or fill out our request information form.

Last Updated: 9/15/22