What is a respiratory therapist?
Respiratory therapists provide the hands-on care that helps people recover from a wide range of medical conditions. Therapists get to know their patients, and their patients’ families, and have the opportunity to help them through trying times. Whenever breathing is an issue, they are there.
Respiratory therapists, also known as respiratory care practitioners, provide treatment, evaluation, monitoring and management of patients with breathing disorders or cardiovascular problems.
Care provided by respiratory therapists may include:
- administration of oxygen
- cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- management of mechanical ventilators
- administering drugs to the lungs
- monitoring cardiopulmonary systems
- measuring lung function
Respiratory therapists treat all types of patients, ranging from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people with lung disease.
Source: American Association for Respiratory Care, Careers, What Is An RT?, on the Internet at http://www.aarc.org/careers/what-is-an-rt/ (visited January 19, 2018).
Description of Degree
The nationally accredited Respiratory Therapy professional program at Dixie State University is an admission-limited, two-year course of study leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree in Respiratory Therapy.
In addition, DSU’s Respiratory Therapy program has an agreement with Boise State University for students to receive thirty more credit hours and receive a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree. All courses from Boise State are online, and there is no out of state tuition charge.
The Respiratory Therapy professional program is admission-limited meaning that, through a competitive application process, one cohort of 14-16 students is admitted to the professional program per year. The start date for the program is the first day of classes of the DSU fall semester.
Professional Program Course of Study
Students must complete specified prerequisite courses prior to admission to the Respiratory Therapy program. Professional program courses comprise 59 semester hours that must be completed sequentially.
Respiratory Therapy professional Program Curriculum Map (Total Credits = 59)
|Semester I (15)||Semester II (16)||Semester III (16)||Semester IV (12)|
|RESP 1010 Introduction to Respiratory Therapy and Medical Terminology (2)||RESP 2050 Introduction to Pharmacology (3)||RESP 2200 Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics (3)||RESP 2400 Alternative Site and Subacute Respiratory Care (1)|
|RESP 2020 Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology (3)||RESP 2065 Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology (3)||RESP 2300 Introduction to Mechanical Ventilation (3)||RESP 3020 Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care (2)|
|RESP 2030 Introduction to Human Pathophysiology (3)||RESP 2070 Respiratory Care Therapeutics II (3)||RESP 2301 Laboratory/Adult Mechanical Ventilation (2)||RESP 3021 Laboratory Practice/Neonatal Care (2)|
|RESP 2040 Respiratory Care Therapeutics I (3)||RESP 2071 Laboratory Practice/Therapeutics II (2)||RESP 2310 Clinical Practice II (5)||RESP 3100 Clinical Practice III (5)|
|RESP 2041 Laboratory Practice/Therapeutics I (2)||RESP 2100 Clinical Practice I (5)||RESP 3005 Critical Care/ACLS (3)||RESP 3150 Critical Thinking Seminar/NBRC Review (2)|
|RESP 2060 Patient Assessment (2)|
Detailed course descriptions can be found here.
Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Board for Respiratory Care examinations under the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) Initial Accreditation Status, to become credentialed as National Board for Respiratory Care Certified or Registered Respiratory Therapists (CRT or RRT). These credentials allow therapists to become licensed to practice respiratory care in Utah as well as throughout the USA and Canada.
Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy: Program Requirements and Prerequisites
Requirements to Apply
Admission to the Respiratory Therapy program is based upon academic performance in both general education and specific program prerequisite courses, in addition to other selection criteria, including:
- Submission of a complete program application on or before the deadline
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher
- Completion* of specified program prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better
- Individual interview with the Respiratory Therapy Program Selection Committee
Additional factors that will be taken into consideration for program admission include previous health care experience and weighted GPA in specific prerequisite courses. A criminal background check, drug screen and selected immunizations will be required upon acceptance to the program; please refer to the program application for specifics.
*Please note: All prerequisites must be complete before a student begins the Respiratory Therapy program; a student may still apply as long as all prerequisites will be complete before the start of the program.
Classes are taught at the Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center building of the Dixie State University campus. Specific class schedules will vary each semester; here is the current program schedule, by semester:
|1st Semester||Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm|
|2nd and 3rd Semesters||Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
One 12-hour clinical shift per week
|4th Semester||Monday and Thursday, 9:00 am – 2:30 pm
One 12-hour clinical shift per week
Clinical courses are taught at Dixie Regional Medical Center (St. George), Valley View Medical Center (Cedar City), and selected home care/durable medical equipment services and sleep labs in the St. George area. The program also affiliates with the University of Utah Hospital and Clinics; students have the opportunity to complete some of their clinical experiences at the University of Utah. Students are required to complete a total of 720 hours of clinicals during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th semesters.