Respiratory Care

Prepare for a career in respiratory care, in which skilled health care professionals focus on the diagnosis and treatment of cardiopulmonary disorders and diseases. Respiratory care practitioners, also known as respiratory therapists, assist in the care of patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary (relating to the heart and lungs) problems.

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Male student at respiratory machine

Respiratory Care at Jackson College


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Jackson College offers an associate degree in respiratory care, which prepares students to sit for board exams in the field. An associate degree and licensure are required for entry into the profession. Respiratory care is a second-admit program, meaning students must take certain general studies and prerequisite classes and then apply for admission to the program. All respiratory therapists will participate in clinical experiences at various hospitals as part of their program. Upon successful completion, students are eligible to write the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) exams. Satisfactory completion of the NBRC board certifying exams allow the respiratory care practitioner to use the initials of RRT, Registered Respiratory Therapist.


Median wages about $55,870 per year; depending on location, pay ranges from about $41,000 annually to more than $75,000.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment growth of about 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, and 22,700 positions will need to be filled. Job prospects will be best for those willing to travel to look for opportunities.