Respiratory Care, Health Science/A.S. Degree

Respiratory care practitioners help treat patients with a wide range of cardiopulmonary illnesses, including such problems as asthma or heart failure. Respiratory care includes diagnostic testing, and administering oxygen, various other gases, and aerosol drugs.

Under a physician’s supervision, respiratory care practitioners plan and assist with patient care, and serve as a resource for professionals in other health care fields. They work in various settings, including hospital acute care and intensive care units, hospital neonatal units (for premature infants), outpatient rehabilitation facilities, nursing home, home care, and diagnostic laboratories.

This program is a sequence of lecture, laboratory, and clinical courses. Comprehensive on-site training provides opportunities for students to become skilled and confident in respiratory care procedures. Program graduates are eligible to take the National Board for Respiratory Care examination to become registered Respiratory Therapists.

Related major at the baccalaureate level: respiratory care.

Program Advisor: 

Thomas Carey, RRT, MPH,

The Berkshire Community College Respiratory Care A.S. Program #200349 is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.
COARC Programmatic Outcome Data

Admission Requirements

Students who meet all admission requirements are accepted in the Respiratory Care program on a space available basis at any time. Those who do not initially qualify for the program may become eligible through BCC's Liberal Arts program in Pre-RSP.

 The sequence of courses for this program is offered on a cyclical basis. Call for additional information. The next program cycle begins in September, 2019 and the Respiratory Care courses will begin January, 2020. 

Respiratory Care Matriculation Form

Interested students are urged to consult the program advisor and to work on prerequisites and required courses during semesters when RSP courses are not offered. Admission requirements are as follows:

  • Skills Assessment Scores/Competency Requirements a. Completion of ENG 020 and ENG 060 , if applicable; b. Completion of MAT 136 or MAT 102C (Math 800 series) OR MAT 102 , if applicable;
  • Completion of college chemistry (CHM 150) or one year of college prepatory chemistry with a grade of C (73) or better within five years;
  • Completion of college prepatory or college-level biology or anatomy and physiology with a grade of C (73) or better within five years;
  • Graduation from high school with an average of B (80%) or ranked in the upper third of the graduating class; OR completion of a minimum of 10 credits of college level respiratory care support courses (C or better);
  • All students entering the Respiratory Care Program must be immunized (or be in process) by August 1 prior to the academic year for which they are seeking admission.

BCC will not admit students concurrently into any two of the following degree or certificate programs: Physical Therapy Assistant, Respiratory Care, LPN or nursing.

Expected Outcomes

Graduates of this program should be able to:

  • practice as advanced-level respiratory care practitioners;
  • demonstrate professional behavior consistent with employer expectations;
  • comprehend, apply, and evaluate clinical information relevant to their roles as advanced level respiratory care practitioners;
  • critically think and problem solve;
  • promote a team approach to patient care and interact with all health workers;
  • communicate effectively both orally and in writing and practice therapeutic communication.
Graduation Requirements

To earn a degree in this program, a student must complete the 65 program and general education credits, plus the additional requirements, shown below. 

Program  44 Credits
AHS 121 The Essentials of Pharmacology 3
AHS 230 Pathophysiology 3
BIO 201 Anatomy and Physiology l 4
BIO 202 Anatomy and Physiology ll 4
BIO 207 Microbiology 4
RSP 105 Respiratory Care l: Theory and Practice 7
RSP 107 Respiratory Care Practicum 2
RSP 205 Respiratory Care ll: Theory and Practice 7
RSP 207 Respiratory Care lll: Theory and Practice 8
RSP 241 Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology 2
General Education  21 Credits  
CHM Chemistry (see footnote 4) 3
 3 COM Communication (see footnote 1) 3
ENG English Composition/Writing (see footnote 2) 6
MAT Mathematics (see footnote 3) 3
Behavioral and Social Science 3
General Education Elective (see footnote 5) 3
As Shown
Core Competencies Portfolio (items) 4
Forum (units)  4
Health/Fitness (see footnote 6) 30 hours
Minimum Cumulative Average Overall 2.000
Area of Specialization (All RSP Courses):  
Minimum Grade Required in each RSP Course 2.000
Suggested Block For Program Completion

The following is a suggestion for completing this program in two years. The actual time needed to complete the program will vary according to each student's individual needs.

First Semester 16 Credits
BIO 201  Anatomy and Physiology l  4
CHM   Chemistry (see footnote 4) 3
ENG  English Composition/Writing (see footnote 2) 3
MAT  Mathematics (see footnote 3 3
Behavioral and Social Science 3


Second Semester   17 Credits
 AHS 121  The Essentials of Pharmacology 3
BIO 202  Anatomy and Physiology ll 4
RSP 105  Respiratory Care l 7
ENG  English Composition/Writing (see footnote 2) 3
Summer Session
 2 Credits
RSP 107  Respiratory Care Practicum 2


Third Semester 16 Credits
AHS 230 Pathophysiology 3
 BIO 207   Microbiology 4
 RSP 205  Respiratory Care ll 7
 RSP 241  Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology 2
 Fourth Semester 14 Credits
   RSP 207  Respiratory Care lll  8
 COM  Communication (see footnote 1) 3
General Education Elective (see footnote 5) 3


  1. Communication chosen from COM 105 or COM 107 .

  2. English Composition/Writing chosen from ENG 101, ENG 102, ENG 103, ENG 104 .

  3. Mathematics at a level of MAT 136 or MAT 102C ( MAT 800 series) or MAT 102, or at a higher level prior to matriculation in the Respiratory Care program.

  4. Chemistry chosen from CHM 150 or higher level.

  5. General Education Elective chosen from History, Humanities and Fine Arts, Environmental Studies.

  6. Fulfilled by successful completion of RSP 105.

Note: Any prior criminal offense could hinder placement in clinical agencies and to the ability to become licensed in this field. See CORI/SORI (Criminal Offender Record Information Checks) for details.

Essential Functions

Respiratory Care Program

Berkshire Community College seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. Therefore, to the extent practicable, the College will endeavor to make a reasonable academic adjustment for an applicant with a disability who is otherwise qualified.

The Essential Functions of a student enrolled in the Respiratory Care Program requires  that  the  student,  with  or  without reasonable accommodations, must be able to:

1. Physical Stamina Required (Description)
a. Lift up  to  50  lbs. to  assist  moving  patients,  supplies, equipment.
b.  Stoop adjust equipment.
c. Kneel manipulate equipment, perform CPR, plug in electrical equipment.
d. Reach overhead lights, equipment, cabinets, attach oxygen to outlets, stocking.
e. Motor skills, manual dexterity small and large equipment for storing, moving; apply sterile gloves; take BP; operate computers; perform CPR; utilize syringes, tubes, catheters; set up and maintain sterile field.
f. Stand for prolonged periods of time (to deliver therapy, check equipment and patient; and perform surgical procedures).
g. Feel palpate pulses; perform physical exams; feel arteries or veins for puncture; assess skin temperature.
h. Push and pull large wheeled equipment, i.e. mechanical ventilators, wheelchairs, patients, x-ray, equipment, EKG machines, and office equipment.
i.   Walk for extended periods of time.
j. Walk quickly or run (the sense of urgency) to respond to emergency calls or assist in critically ill patient transports.
k. Manipulate – knobs,  dials  associated  with  diagnostic or therapeutic devices; small instruments, syringes.
l.   Hear verbal directions, alarms, telephone; hear through a stethoscope for heart  sounds,  lung  sounds,  and blood pressure.
m. See patient conditions such as skin color, work of breathing; read small print and calibration on equipment; perceive color.
n. Talk: Communicate goals and procedures to patients in English.
o.  Read typed, handwritten, computer information in English. p.  Able  to  write  and  communicate  pertinent  information (patient assessment, outcome assessments) in English.

2. Mental Attitude (Description)

a. Function safely, effectively and calmly under stressful situations.
b. Maintain composure and concentration while managing multiple tasks simultaneously.
c.  Prioritize multiple tasks.
d. Social skills necessary to interact with patients, families, co-workers – of the same or different cultures; respectful, polite, discrete; able to work as a team.
e. Maintain personal hygiene consistent with close contact during direct patient care.
f. Display the actions and attitudes consistent with ethical standards of the profession.
g.  Exposure to blood borne pathogens Hepatitis, HlV.