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Respiratory Care

Associate in Applied Science

Program Overview

As a respiratory therapist, you will assume primary clinical responsibility for all respiratory care. You will also be a resource on current practices in respiratory care and the effective and safe methods for administering respiratory care.

Respiratory therapists in Michigan are licensed health care providers. In order to be licensed you must earn a minimum of an associate's degree and successfully complete national exams.

In the Respiratory Care Program at Delta College, you will learn and practice respiratory care techniques and procedures in our newly renovated classroom and simulation laboratory. Classroom learning and clinical experiences are integrated. Thus, each semester you will have an opportunity to observe, then master your newly learned skills working with adult, pediatric and neonatal patients who are at local health care facilities, while under the direct supervision of a registered respiratory therapy clinical instructor.

Our program is five semesters, or two years in length. It's a cohort program, meaning students enter the program together, take all courses together in the same sequence, and graduate from the program together. Our program accepts 15–17 students annually. These small class sizes allow faculty and clinical instructors to provide instruction attentive to the needs of each student.

Students enrolled in the respiratory care program at Delta College often work as paid externs at area hospitals, thus gaining valuable experience as well as income to help pay for tuition or personal expenses. Because our program utilizes only area hospitals for clinical experiences students are able to commute from home.

Student Employment Policy
The student will not be considered a member of any hospital staff during the Clinical Education Course. Students must not be used to substitute for clinical instructional or administrative staff. Students shall not receive any form of remuneration in exchange for work performed during clinical rotations. Students may be employed as paid externs but extern time and Clinical Education time may not occur simultaneously.

National Board exams for certification are accepted in all 50 states.

Be successful. Develop these skills.

  • Math
  • Organization
  • Patience 
  • Detail oriented
  • Problem solving
  • Science
  • Compassion
  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • Dexterity
  • Patient mobility
  • Pediatric pulmonary education
  • Pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Healthcare ethics
  • Medical terminology
  • Patient care and management
  • High-risk maternal delivery team member
  • Antibiotic resistance organism and infection control

At Delta College, we want every student to get the best education, so they're ready to hit the ground running when they graduate. Accreditation is one way we do that.

The respiratory care program, CoARC Program Number 200266, AAS Degree, at Delta College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (

Program application process

Getting your degree in the health field is unique compared to other programs. You must first take your prerequisite core courses, and then you apply for validation.

What's validation?
The Registrar's Office validates your prerequisite courses to confirm you are eligible to begin the clinical portion of your program.

Success tips

  • Declare the Respiratory Care program.
  • Meet with your advisor regularly. Stay on track with what you need to do to apply.
  • Apply for validation with the Registrar's Office once you've started your final semester of prerequisite courses.
  • Stay connected for important updates from Delta!

Scholar admission
All validated RT students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible to apply for one of the RT program’s scholar admission positions. Up to eight people may be selected/offered a position using this process.  

The advantage of being selected via scholar admission is that you can essentially “skip ahead” on the validation list.  The remainder of the positions in the class will be offered to individuals using the current waitlist process, outlined here:

The criteria that is reviewed for scholar admission is as follows:

  • Overall GPA
  • Number of credits at Delta College
  • BIO 140/152-153 Grade
  • Previously earned degrees or certifications
  • Paid work experience
  • Unpaid/volunteer work experience
  • Presidential Honors Scholar
  • Honors classes

Declare the Respiratory Care program.

 Advance-standing admission
Any student wishing to enroll with advance standing in the Respiratory Care program must follow these steps.

  • You must request copies of all official transcripts be sent to Delta College. 
  • Schedule an appointment with the Counseling & Advising office.
  • Complete request for credit/waiver of required coursework with advisor. Come prepared with all course descriptions and course objectives.
  • This must be completed  by January of the year your wish to enroll.
  • You must demonstrate at a level consistent with current program standards (program defined criteria) the knowledge and clinical skills (demonstrated appropriate competencies) from that portion of the program for which the advance standing is requested. This will include both written didactic and clinical examinations.
  • You must satisfy all General Education and Respiratory Care course requirements (sponsor defined criteria) before a degree will be awarded.

All validated RT students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible to apply for one of the RT program’s scholar admission positions. Up to eight people may be selected/offered a position in the Fall 2024 class using this process.           

Program effectiveness data

We think it's important to know how we're doing so we can continually improve our programs – collegewide. We work really hard to give our students the best possible education. So, we annually evaluate and show you what we find out. 

CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented. Programmatic outcomes data is reported below and on the CoARC website.

RRT credentialing success
2020:  93%
2021:  79%
2022:  93%

Achievement of the high cut score on the TMC Exam
2020:  85%
2021:  86%
2022: 100%

Job placement
2020:   100%
2021:   93%
2022: 100%

Overall Graduate Satisfaction
2020: 100%
2021: 100%
2022: 93%

Overall Employer Satisfaction
2020: 100%
2021: 100%
2022: 100%

Total number of program enrollees
2020: 17 students
2021: 17 students
2022: 17 students

Maximum Annual Enrollment: 17 students

Total number of program graduates
2020: 12 students
2021: 14 students
2022: 15 students


2020:  88%
2021:  88%
2022:  88%


Program expenses

In addition to tuition there are additional expenses for program requirements.

The costs include:

  • Textbooks $500
  • Embroidered hunter green scrubs $70 a set, 2 recommended
  • Shoes $100
  • Stethoscope $75
  • Protective eyewear $5
  • Watch with second hand (recommended) $50
  • Fall conference $100
  • RT program identification tag $5
  • Physical examination $75
  • Immunizations (possibly) $300
  • Influenza vaccination annually $60
  • 10 panel urine drug screen $50
  • Criminal background check $75
  • TMC self-assessment exam $90
  • CSE self-assessment exam $100
  • Kettering Classmate $100
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support Workshop $150

TOTAL $1980

You must also provide your own transportation to clinical settings, plus possible hospital parking charges.

Program goal & outcomes

We want to make sure you're ready when you graduate and that the knowledge you gain from your Delta degree is top-notch. 

Program Goal
The minimum expectation of the program is to 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).

When you're done, here's what you'll be able to do:

Outcome 1
Apply the cognitive skills consistent with effective Respiratory Practitioners performing services such as but not limited to oxygen therapy, aerosol therapy, chest physiotherapy, airway management, blood gas interpretation, infection control, mechanical ventilation, home care, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary anatomy and physiology, cardiopulmonary pathophysiology, and hemodynamic monitoring.

Outcome 2
Demonstrate the psychomotor skills consistent with Respiratory Practitioners including but not limited to oxygen therapy, aerosol therapy, chest physiotherapy, airway management, arterial blood sample withdraw, arterial line insertion, infection control, mechanical ventilation, home care, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, and electronic medical records documentation.

Outcome 3
Describe and use Michigan legal standards and ethical standards consistent with the American Association for Respiratory Care code of ethics, including but not limited to, effective communication skills both written and verbal, honesty, integrity, compassion, caring, cooperation, and understanding death and dying in the acute care environment.

Technical standards

Technical standards are the mental and physical skills and abilities needed to fulfill the clinical and academic requirements of the respiratory care program. Those skills and abilities include:

  • Ability to communicate effectively to patients, families and health care members in English
  • Ability to work with individuals of various ethnicities, abilities and ages
  • Ability to push/pull or lift medical equipment in excess of 50 pounds, with or without assistance
  • Safely transfer patients, with or without assistance and without restrictions
  • Successfully complete all required program clinical experiences and required program courses
  • Respond appropriately and promptly to emergency situations
  • Assess a patient’s condition through interaction with patient and caregivers, observation of conditions and behaviors and perform a thorough chart review
  • Ability to stand and walk for extended periods of time
  • Ability to move freely around a Respiratory Care Department, as well as other areas of the hospital, surgery and intensive care unit rooms
  • Ability to reach 6 feet off of the ground
  • Ability to assume varied postural positions (bending, kneeling, stretching) to work with equipment and patients
  • Must have dexterity to manipulate respiratory care equipment, work in a sterile environment, and prepare sterile fields
  • Strong hand/eye coordination
  • Ability to write legible English in a readable style
  • Ability to hear breath sounds, heart sounds and blood pressures utilizing a stethoscope
  • Ability to read and comprehend written orders in English
  • Ability to read and comprehend relevant information in textbooks, medical records and professional literature
  • Ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize in the context of the respiratory care profession and to make critical thinking decisions
  • Ability to organize and accurately perform individual steps in a respiratory care procedure in proper sequence and time frame
  • Ability to function under all circumstances, including highly stressful and/or fast-paced environments
  • Ability to adapt to an environment that may change rapidly, without warning and/or in unpredictable ways
  • Ability to show empathy, compassion and concern for others
  • Ability to remain calm and focused during stressful situations, including competency performance evaluations
  • Demonstrate integrity, honesty, and professionalism in all matters with peers, faculty, staff and patients
  • Demonstrate accountability, problem solving, sound judgment and listening skills at all times
  • Ability to maintain confidences, according to professional and legal (HIPPA) standards
  • Comply with the Respiratory Care Code of Ethics, Clinical Practice Standards and Scope of Practice

Delta is committed to ensuring that otherwise qualified students with disabilities are given equal access through reasonable accommodations to its services, programs and activities for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are required to perform all essential functions of the program, with or without reasonable accommodation. Delta will work with the student and the Disability Resources Office to provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

While we will make every effort to work with our students with disabilities to accommodate their disability-related needs, it is important to note we are not required to provide requested accommodations that would fundamentally alter the essential functions or technical standards of the program. Students can contact Disability Resources at 989-686-9794 or

Related Programs

Respiratory Care – Dual Associate with General Management

In addition to the respiratory care associate degree, Delta also offers a dual degree with General Management. With this program, you have the opportunity to earn a second associate degree in General Management at the same time as your respiratory care associate's degree. It's a great way to get that business background and increase earning potential.


Explore all programs

Delta College offers over 140 degree, certificate and training options. Whatever your path, when you leave here, you’ll be ready.  

Explore all programs

Option 1: Transfer Opportunities

One of the very best things about Delta College is your ability to start here and go on. And, in the process, save thousands (and thousands) of dollars. It's a smart choice!

In fact, if you're interested in earning a bachelor's degree, you have several options by coming to Delta first, and then transferring. Delta has signed transfer agreements to continue your studies with:

  • Ferris State University - Allied Health Sciences
  • University of Michigan - Flint - Bachelors in Respiratory Care
  • Grand Valley State University - Bachelors in Respiratory Care

Option 2: MIWorkforce Pathways

Transfer your applied workforce degree in Healthcare to the following universities:

Alma College
Baker College
Davenport University
Grand Valley State University
Northwood University
Rochester University
Saginaw Valley State University
Siena Heights University
Walsh College

Visit transfer agreements and guides to see the whole list of transfer opportunities. Have questions? Make an appointment with academic advising to discuss your dreams.

100 percent

In 2020, Delta's respiratory care credentialing exam success rate was 100%.

100 percent

100% of Delta's 2019-20 respiratory care grads are employed.

Michelle Catano

"Every day I feel a sense of satisfaction."

Michelle Catano
Respiratory Care graduate