Program Overview

With an associate degree in Respiratory Care, you’ll have the knowledge, skills, and technical expertise to pursue a fast-paced career as a highly skilled Respiratory Therapist (RT). Through a mix of classroom, lab, and hands-on clinical experiences, you’ll learn to assess, treat, and monitor patients with disorders of the cardiopulmonary system. As an RT, you’ll play an integral role in the development and execution of cardiopulmonary treatment plans for adult, pediatric, and newborn patients. RTs typically work under the guidance of a physician and perform a wide array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in a variety of healthcare settings like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sleep disorder centers, wellness clinics, homecare agencies, and more.

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Full Description

The Associate in Science degree program in Respiratory Care prepares students to pursue a career as a highly-skilled, critical thinking Respiratory Therapist (RT). RTs assess, treat, and monitor patients with disorders of the cardiopulmonary system.

Practicing under the guidance of a physician, respiratory therapy program graduates will perform a wide array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on adult, pediatric, and newborn patients. You will treat various people and perform a patient assessment of each individual’s breathing patterns.

Typical responsibilities for a respiratory therapist or RT include interviewing and examining patients with breathing problems, performing diagnostic studies such as:

  • obtaining and analyzing arterial blood gases
  • pulmonary function testing
  • hemodynamic monitoring
  • polysomnography

A career as an RT means daily tasks in treating people. An RT must administer aerosolized medications, initiate mechanical ventilation, perform bronchopulmonary hygiene, maintain airway patency, and provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

RTs play an integral role in the development and monitoring of a patient’s cardiopulmonary treatment plan. They utilize evidence-based medicine to educate patients, families, and the community regarding cardiopulmonary wellness, disease prevention, and management.

Respiratory Therapists work in a variety of healthcare environments such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, home care agencies, sleep disorder centers, clinical transport operations, physicians’ offices, wellness clinics, educational institutions, travel agencies, and medical equipment sales and service providers.

Through the combination of classroom, laboratory, and hands-on clinical experiences, we provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and create real-world understanding. They will learn how to perform patient assessment exams successfully.

Students who complete the Associate in Science in Respiratory Care program are eligible to sit for the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) examination.

The TMC examination objectively measures essential knowledge, skills, and abilities required of respiratory therapists for entry into practice. Students, upon successful completion of their degree requirements, can take the national TMC exam and upon passing the NBRC low cut/pass score, achieve the entry-level Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential and apply it to the state board of respiratory care in the state they choose to practice (currently, 49 states require licensure).

Additionally, if a student achieves the NBRC high cut/pass score on the TMC exam, they’re eligible to sit for the NBRC Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE). This exam is necessary for the advanced-level Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

Students don’t need to take the NBRC TMC and CSE exams again once they have passed the exam as long as they maintain the minimum number of Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE) hours as required by the NBRC and state licensure boards.

A degree in respiratory care makes students eligible to continue for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management with a Healthcare Management/Respiratory Care (MGTH) concentration.

Graduating with a degree in respiratory therapy helps you fulfill your dream to become a registered respiratory therapist. The right education and experience from a good respiratory therapy program will help you get the best employment opportunities, with the potential for job growth.


The Respiratory Care program at New England Institute of Technology, CoARC program number 200599, at the associate degree level and campus located at One New England Tech Boulevard, East Greenwich, Rhode Island is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (

Commission on Accreditation For Respiratory Care
1248 Harwood Road
Bedford, Texas 76021-4244
(817) 283-2835

In accordance with the 2019 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, New England Institute of Technology hereby discloses only that the curriculum for this program meets the educational requirements for licensure as Certified Respiratory Therapists in the State of Rhode Island. The applicable licensing board in Rhode Island may impose additional requirements on candidates prior to granting a license, we encourage you to investigate those requirements. NEIT has not determined whether the curriculum for this program meets the educational requirements for licensure in any other states or territories and we encourage you to investigate the requirements in your state or territory prior to accepting an offer of admission at NEIT.

Potential Career Opportunities

Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT)

Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)


  • Can you become a respiratory therapist with an associate degree?

    A respiratory therapist can begin work after completing the 18-month associate degree program at NEIT. Many chose to continue their education by entering a 4-year bachelor’s degree program. Graduates must sit for a national exam to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CTR).

  • What is a respiratory care degree?

    A respiratory care degree refers to either an associate or bachelor’s degree program designed to prepare students to assess, treat, and monitor patients with cardiopulmonary disorders.

  • What degree do respiratory therapists need?

    Individuals may begin work as a respiratory therapist after earning an associate degree, passing credentialing examinations, and obtaining licensure in their state.

Related Areas of Study

Missions, Goals, and Outcomes

Program Mission

The Respiratory Care (RC) program’s mission is to provide a specialized associate degree program to prepare students for careers as advanced-level respiratory therapists.

Through a combination of didactic, laboratory, and clinical learning experiences, the respiratory care therapy program emphasizes the knowledge, critical thinking, and professional behaviors graduates will need to become effective respiratory care practitioners.

Program Goals

The RC program will:

  1. Prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).
  2. Utilize state-of-the-art simulation technology to allow students to demonstrate the application of knowledge in a laboratory setting.
  3. Focus on the hands-on application of knowledge of health science and critical thinking skills needed to practice evidence-based respiratory care within diverse patient populations.
  4. Prepare students with the requirements necessary to qualify for entry-level and advanced-level national certification examinations administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
  5. Endeavor to instill in the student a sense of commitment to the respiratory care profession’s core values and ethics, including ongoing professional development and life-long learning.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the program will be able to:

  1. Collect, review, and evaluate patient cardiopulmonary assessment data and recommend the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.
  2. Initiate, monitor, and modify respiratory care treatment plans and critical care activities based on the patient’s therapeutic goals.
  3. Manipulate and manage respiratory care equipment while maintaining the appropriate infection and quality control standards.
  4. Apply critical thinking and problem-solving strategies in the adult, pediatric, and neonatal patient care settings.
  5. Consult with physicians, nurses, and other patient care team members to develop and modify individual respiratory care plans.
  6. Perform evidence-based respiratory care practices established by current clinical practice guidelines and published research.
  7. Utilize interpersonal communication skills to promote cardiopulmonary wellness and educate diverse patient population groups, families, and the community.

Courses Offered

To become a respiratory therapist, you will study subjects like anatomy and physiology, microbiology, introduction to college writing, healthcare communications, math for life science, the psychology of healthcare, and human relations in the workplace.

These courses will help you identify and execute the treatment of lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Graduates will learn how to help those in critical care or the intensive care unit and on life support or mechanical ventilation.

You’ll learn the treatment of numerous breathing problems and make a career out of aiding infants, adults, and the elderly.

For the latest listing of courses offered, please review our University Catalog here.