Jul 23, 2024  
2023-2025 Catalog Volume XXXI Ver 1 
2023-2025 Catalog Volume XXXI Ver 1

Respiratory Therapy, AS


The Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy program requires completion of 31 courses (116.5 total quarter credit hours) which can be completed (full-time in consecutive quarters) over a period of 24 months. The curriculum requires a variety of general education courses, as well as foundational courses in anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and microbiology for the Respiratory Therapist. The program is provided in a hybrid format. Students are required to earn a minimum grade of “C” in all major courses. 


The Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy program is designed to prepare students to become competent respiratory care professionals through academic and clinical learning of mastery competencies and to deliver the highest quality of respiratory care to each patient by using critical thinking, evaluation and application of clinical information, and a professional approach. 

Program Goal

The Department of Respiratory Therapy is designed to prepare students 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).

Program Outcomes

Graduates completing the Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy will accomplish the following outcomes:

  1. Acquire knowledge necessary to enter the Respiratory Therapy profession.
  2. Demonstrate appropriate critical thinking skills, time management skills, interpersonal communication skills, and technical skills necessary to provide competent respiratory care in multidisciplinary care settings.
  3. Demonstrate the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills necessary to assist the physician in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients with cardiopulmonary diseases and disorders.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of patient safety and infection control protocols as they relate to patient care and equipment processing.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to modify the respiratory care plan of patients based on information gathered from clinical and laboratory assessment and the patient’s response to therapy.
  6. Apply the skills necessary to assemble, maintain, troubleshoot, and perform quality control of specific respiratory therapy devices.
  7. Demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills as consultants to physicians and other health care personnel in developing and implementing clinical respiratory care strategies.
  8. Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills.

Admission Requirements

General admission to South College does not guarantee admission to the Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy degree program. For the AS in Respiratory Therapy program, the application deadline is January 1 and July 1.

Applicants interested in this program are required to visit the college and meet individually with an admissions representative and program faculty to ascertain if their goals can be met by the college. Prospective students declaring AS Respiratory Therapy as their major must be generally admitted to South College and meet the following requirements to be considered for full admission to the program:

  1. Complete the South College AS in Respiratory Therapy program application by the stated deadline above.
  2. Submit documentation of a minimum high school and/or college cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above.*
  3. Meet minimum score requirements on the college entrance examination, OR present documentation of a score of 19 or higher on the ACT Assessment examination, OR present documentation of a 900 combined score or higher on the SAT I examination OR meet the South College requirements for admission as a transfer student.
  4. Complete Anatomy & Physiology I and II (lecture & lab); Microbiology (lecture & lab), College Algebra; and Medical Terminology. A minimum grade of “C” or better in a maximum of two attempts completed at South College is required in each.* 
  5. Meet specific health and/or essential functions pertinent to the responsibilities performed by the Respiratory Therapist. Drug screening is required by clinical affiliates. Failure to pass the screening may disqualify a student as a candidate for admission.
  6. Be able to commit to full attendance and participation in a rigorous educational program that requires class attendance, significant out-of-class preparation time, and clinical education assignments off-campus. Students may be required to attend clinical sites up to 2 hours distance from the base campus. 

*Each of these areas is used to rank applicants for full-program admission. If minimum standards are met by more applying students than clinical seats, these rankings determine program admission.

Admission Process

Students who successfully complete prerequisite courses and are declared to the Respiratory Therapy program will be academically ranked via a point system (125 maximum points possible).  Students will be admitted (starting with the highest score) to the cohort capacity allowance. An acceptance letter will be emailed to the student and must be signed/returned electronically two weeks before the start of Quarter 5.  If a student does not return the acceptance letter by the deadline, the Program Director reserves the right to admit an alternate declared student. Students are required to attend a mandatory program information session.

Declared students not admitted to the Respiratory Therapy program may reapply for the following cohort(s).   

Academic Scoring

  • BIO 1110  and BIO 1120  (Average Total Grade)
    • A = 25 points
    • B = 15 points
    • C = 10 points
  • BIO 1130  and BIO 1140  (Average Total Grade)
    • A = 25 points
    • B = 15 points
    • C = 10 points
  • BIO 1160  and BIO 1170  (Average Total Grade)
    • A = 25 points
    • B = 15 points
    • C = 10 points
  • AHS 1010  ​
    • A = 25 points
    • B = 15 points
    • C = 10 points
  • MAT 1100  
    • A = 25 points
    • B = 15 points
    • C = 10 points

Admittance Decisions

Applicants to the AS in Respiratory Therapy program are ranked based on academic scores. Emphasis is placed on math and science coursework at all degree levels. In addition to course work, each student must provide proof of ability to perform the skills needed to practice as a Respiratory Therapist effectively. Health care facilities must meet federal guidelines, and students must also meet these requirements in order to be allowed to gain clinical experience in these facilities. To meet these requirements, each student must supply proof of the following:

  • a negative TB test
  • hepatitis B vaccine or waiver (if allowed by clinical affiliate)
  • physical exam certifying ability to function in the required capacity
  • proof of immunizations (including MMR immunity/titer)
  • CPR training
  • health insurance card

Some clinical sites may also require proof of flu and COVID immunizations.

A criminal background check and drug screen are required for admission. If the background check reveals previous convictions, it is up to each clinical site to determine the eligibility of students to attend clinical at the site. Students who are denied clinical experiences due to past convictions may be unable to progress in the program which will result in failure to complete the required courses for the program. Students with past convictions are encouraged to contact the credentialing agency(s) to determine eligibility prior to program admission. Contact information may be obtained from the program faculty at the associated campus. In any case where a drug screen is positive and an authorized prescription is not produced to validate the presence of the drug in the individual’s system, a student may be disqualified as a candidate for admission. Upon notification of the drug screen results, the student will have 5 working days to provide prescription validation. Students are responsible for costs associated with any required testing.

Functional Capacities (Technical Standards)

Applicants to the AS in Respiratory Therapy program must be able to meet the following functional capacities (technical standards). Students who believe they will not be able to meet one or more of these requirements without accommodation must notify the Respiratory Therapy Program Director and a determination will be made on a case-by-case basis whether reasonable accommodation may be made. In no instance will an accommodation be made which will put the applicant, other students, or patients at risk.



Examples of Tasks


Adequate to ensure safety of self and others in didactic and clinical settings.



  • Should possess sufficient visual acuity to perform close and distant visual activities involving objects, persons, and paperwork, and have the ability to discriminate depth and colors.
  • Should be able to read calibrated scales of one-hundredth increments in a very small space sometimes not more than a three-inches.


Adequate and effective communication with others in close proximity (3 feet) and remote areas (15 feet).

  • Should be able to verbally communicate with patients, clinical staff, and others.
  • Should be able to have telephone communication and conversation with patients and staff.
  • Should be able to respond to beepers and overhead announcements.
  • Should be able to respond and react immediately to verbal instructions and requests, auditory sounds from monitoring equipment, and perform auditory auscultation of patients.

Gross motor strength and coordination

Adequate to allow effective mobility of self, equipment, and patients.


  • Should be able to work in a standing position which can involve frequent walking for ten to twelve hours.
  • Should be able to lift and transfer adult and child patients up to six inches from a stooped position and be able to push or pull the weight of an adult up to three feet.
  • Should be able to lift and transfer adult and child patients from a stooped to an upright position to accomplish bed to-chair and chair-to-bed transfers.
  • Should be able to frequently bend, stoop and squat in a variety of situations including small or awkward spaces.
  • Should be able to move objects that includes heavy lifting up to 50lbs. occasionally and/or 20 lbs. frequently, and/or up to 10lbs more consistently.
  • Should be able to move freely and physically maneuver in small spaces.
  • Should be able to use hands, wrists, and arms to physically apply up to ten pounds of pressure in the performance of specific procedures (e.g., to control bleeding, perform CPR).

Fine motor strength and coordination

Adequate to allow use of medical equipment maintaining a safe environment to patients and others.

  • Should possess sufficient fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination to use small instruments and equipment.
  • Should be able to discriminate between sharp and dull, hot, and cold.

Critical thinking ability

Adequate to allow mastery of course content and demonstrate sound judgment in simulated and clinical situations; adaptability to cope with constant environmental/ patient changes.

  • Should be able to perform mathematical calculations for preparation and application of medications as well as those indices used to evaluate adequate oxygenation and ventilation.
  • Should be able to provide and complete full patient assessments of pulmonary status and provide recommendations for appropriate therapeutic services.

Inter-personal skills

Adequate to facilitate effective working relationships with peers, instructors, patients, and families.

  • Should be able to interact with injured or critically ill patients. ranging from neonatal to geriatric in age.
  • Should be able to provide patient education.
  • Should be able to work in a stressful environment.
  • Should be able to provide quality patient care.


Adequate to allow coursework completion and effective communication with patients, their families, peers, and clinical staff in English.

  • Should be able to communicate effectively in the English language, both orally and in writing, using appropriate grammar, spelling, and vocabulary and word usage.
  • Should be able to articulate thoughts and opinions during class and laboratory presentations.
  • Should be able to comprehend verbal and written directions and make appropriate notations.
  • Should be able to access patient/client information from written or electronic record.
  • Should be able to document care provided using legible handwriting, a desktop computer, or a portable device.

AS Respiratory Therapy Program - Tuition and Fees

General Education and Prerequisite Classes

Tuition Per Quarter

Quarter 1

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)

Quarter 2

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)

Quarter 3

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)

Quarter 4

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)



Cohort Classes

Tuition Per Quarter

Quarter 5

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)

Quarter 6

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)

Quarter 7

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)

Quarter 8

$6975 (10-20 Credit Hours)

 Total Cost for AS RT Tuition*


*Note - The above information does not consider any Transfer Credit which may be approved for general education/prerequisite courses.

Cost of Additional Student Expenses and Fees

Application Fee (South College)



1st Official No Cost/$15 per Additional Official

Technology/Service Fee

$495 (per quarter)

Graduation Fee


The purpose of the following information is to provide the student with approximate program expenses that will be incurred, in addition to college tuition, to complete the AS Respiratory Therapy program and seek certification to practice as a Respiratory Therapist. These costs are only an approximation and are subject to change. Every effort has been made to identify all major costs.



Health Physical (including exam, tests, immunizations)                                                                


Medical Insurance and Health care expenses                                                          Students are responsible for the cost of any medical services including emergency care while on fieldwork assignments as a student of the College.


Background Check/Drug Screen                                                                                      


Program Uniforms/Scrubs                                                                                        (AS RT program patches provided by the College)


School Supplies/Laptop with Webcam                                                                                 


Textbooks (average cost per quarter)                                                                                      


AARC Student Membership                                                                                                      


Additional Student expenses and additional fees (approx.) (8 quarters)                        


Provided by South College


Liability Insurance for Educational Fieldwork

Littmann Stethoscope

NBRC Exam Prep


RT Patches

Certification Exam Fee (TMC - 1st attempt only)

Graduation Requirements

For a student to graduate from the Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy, the student must be in a good academic and professional standing, have had satisfactory progress in all quarters of the academic program, and satisfactorily complete the following:

  1. The student normally must complete the course requirements in the catalog in effect when the student enrolled. However, academic programs are subject to change at the discretion of the institution. Students who leave the college will be required to meet catalog requirements at the time of their return. Students may request Dean/Department Chair approval for course substitution. Deviation from any program requirements must be approved by the Chief Academic Officer (Knoxville) or the Dean of Academic and Student Services (Learning Sites).
  2. The student must earn the minimum grades designated by the program in all required courses.
  3. The student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher for all coursework taken at the college (if higher CGPA is required by the program, this requirement must be met). At least 25% of any degree or certificate program must be taken at South College (higher percentage may be required by program).
  4. The student must complete the Career Services exit program and all outcomes assessment exams prior to graduation.
  5. The student must abide by all college rules and regulations and settle any financial obligations to the college prior to graduation.
  6. Programs may have additional graduation requirements that must be fulfilled.

South College reserves the right, and the student, by the act of matriculation, concedes to give South College the right to require withdrawal at any time the college deems it necessary to safeguard the standards of scholarship, conduct, and compliance with regulations, or for such other reasons deemed appropriate by South College as set forth in the South College Student Handbook and/or the South College Catalog.


The Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy program curriculum below is offered at the Asheville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Orlando, and Pittsburgh campuses (Hybrid).

AS Respiratory Therapy Curriculum: 116.5 Credits

Area I - Core Curriculum: 55.5 Credits