Associate of science in respiratory care
Respiratory care practitioners (respiratory therapists) evaluate and care for individuals who have breathing and other cardiopulmonary ailments ranging from moderate to life-threatening. Respiratory care practitioners work closely with other health care professionals to provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic care to patients. As a respiratory therapist, you will serve a vitally important role, one that saves and improves lives.
Graduates of Clarion University's Respiratory Care 24-month continuous associates program
will be eligible to take the Written Registry Examination and the Clinical Simulation Examination administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care. The field of respiratory care affords exciting opportunities for career diversity. After attaining status as a respiratory care practitioner, individuals may specialize in areas such as:
- Intensive care
- ICU with patients with COPD (lung disease) , open heart surgery and stroke patients
- Neonatal and pediatric respiratory care
- NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) with a 4 pound newborn with underdeveloped lungs to help them breath
- obstetrics in labor and delivery to stabilize breathing in early term births
- Polysomnography (the diagnosis of sleep disorders)
- Medical sales
Graduates may also work in:
- ER with trauma and accident victims as well as patients with asthma or with a small child who is dealing with a foreign body obstruction
- operating room to serve on the front lines to stabilize breathing after surgery or assist with diagnostic procedures
Respiratory care is a high priority occupation because of the demand for qualified respiratory therapists. Because of the aging population and the increasing incidence of respiratory disease, the need for respiratory care practitioners is anticipated to continue. Job opportunities for respiratory care practitioners exist in hospitals, home health agencies, physicians' offices and other settings.
Why choose Clarion?
Clarion University's Associate of Science in Respiratory Care programs prepares students to be registered respiratory therapists. Respiratory care practitioners (respiratory therapists) evaluate and care for individuals who have breathing and other cardiopulmonary ailments ranging from moderate to life threatening. Respiratory care practitioners work closely with other health care professionals to provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapy to patients. The Respiratory Care program is only offered at the Venango campus location.
The program provides students clinical knowledge in respiratory care as well as liberal arts education. Graduates of the respiratory program will be eligible to take the Written Registry Examination and the Clinical Simulation Examination administered by the National Boar d for Respiratory care. Clarion University's Respiratory Care program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditations for Respiratory Care.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment growth of about 23 percent, amounting to 30,400 new positions, by 2026. In 2016, respiratory therapists made a median salary of $58,670. (US News)
"I have been very fortunate to experience a great education
in and out of the classroom. The professors are always
helping students on an individual basis by using hands on training techniques. With the help of our patient simulation lab, learning to treat patients is much more realistic which makes going to clinical sites more comfortable. I now see myself as a healthcare professional and not just as an ordinary student. Clarion University - Venango has provided me with all of the necessary education and experience to go out into my career field and become the Respiratory Therapist I've always wanted to be." - Kelly Marsh
Associate of Science, Respiratory Care Program Overview
Clarion University’s Associate of Science in Respiratory Care degree program prepares graduates to assume roles as respiratory care practitioners at the advanced level (RRT-Registered Respiratory Therapist). The program affords students the opportunity to attain a clinical knowledge base in respiratory care as well as a liberal arts education that will aid in their role and function as health care professionals.
Clarion University’s respiratory care program is offered at the Venango campus. The 24-month respiratory care program has an academic preparation of one academic year (two semesters) and continues with a 14-month program of clinical study at Clarion University and at accredited affiliated clinical sites. Following completion of 79 credits of course work at Clarion University and at affiliated clinical practicum sites, the student is awarded an Associate of Science degree with a major in Respiratory Care.
Program graduates are eligible to sit for the credentialing examinations administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). Graduates who successfully pass both levels of the NBRC Therapist Multiple Choice Exam and the Clinical Simulation Examination will earn the credentials Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and may work in a variety of health care settings as advanced level respiratory therapists after obtaining state licensure
Overview of Clinical Education
Clinical Education During the clinical phase of the respiratory care program, students will attend classes and clinical practicum five full days per week with some days spent in formal respiratory care classes taught at Clarion University and other days spent at assigned clinical sites. Students will also be required to periodically attend specialty respiratory care rotations at local and regional health care organizations. Significant travel is required of respiratory care students. Reliable transportation is therefore essential and is at the expense of the student. Additionally, some weekend and evening rotations may be required. Several local and regional health care organizations serve as clinical sites for the respiratory care program. Student preference cannot be considered in clinical site placement
The Clinical Handbook contains important information and policies relative for prospective and currently-enrolled respiratory and pre-respiratory care majors. All respiratory care and pre-respiratory care majors are responsible for information contained in this handbook.
For more information on admission to the program, suggested program prerequisites, how to transfer to the school or about financial aid, visit Clarion University - Venango Admissions and Financial Aid Office in 217 Frame Hall.
Other Program Costs
Similar to other health care educational programs, enrolled students will realize costs over and above typical tuition and fees that are charged to all Clarion University students. For a list of these estimated costs, please click here. Please note that costs are estimated and are subject to change.
Costs incurred by prospective or enrolled respiratory care students are not reimbursable or refundable by Clarion University.
Students enrolled in the respiratory care program are required to travel to clinical sites. Significant travel is sometimes involved. Students must have reliable transportation and the ability to travel to their assigned clinical sites. All travel-related costs are at the expense of the student.
Admission to Clarion's respiratory care program:
- is available to individuals who meet the university's standard admission criteria
- Preference 2.75 GPA
- is based on rolling admission until full capacity is reached
The following items, if necessary, are suggested to be completed prior to the start of the respiratory care program:
- Math 050 as determined by Clarion's math placement exam
- BIOL 111 (basic biology) if students have not had one year of high school or college biology with a minimum grade of "C" or better within the past 5 years
- 4 hours of respiratory care career shadowing with a respiratory therapist is highly recommended but not required. If you need assistance with this please contact Chris Harancher, Respiratory Care Program Director.
Students must satisfy the following pre-clinical requirements prior to beginning clinical rotations in May. All pre-clinical requirements are at the student's expense and are subject to change.
- Satisfactory physical examination and current immunizations
- Child abuse history clearance
- Satisfactory results of a screening for illegal drug use
- FBI fingerprinting and criminal background clearance
- Current Basic Life Support for Health Care Provider (CPR) certification by the American Heart Association
- Documentation of health insurance during clinical rotations
- Documentation of individual malpractice insurance*
* Students will purchase their own individual malpractice insurance policies in the amount of $1 million ($1,000,000.00) for each claim and $3 million ($3,000,000.00) in the aggregate. Cost of this two-year policy is currently less than $100 but is subject to change.
Only students who have satisfied the above pre-clinical requirements and have completed all science and general education requirements for the respiratory care program will be permitted to start clinical education. Clinical education typically begins each May. All expenses incurred by students for the respiratory care program are non-refundable.
Throughout the 24-month Associate of Science in Respiratory Care program, students will be assigned to various clinical rotations in the region. Considerable travel is required and students must have reliable transportation.
Internal Transfer for Current Clarion Students:|
Currently enrolled Clarion students who wish to change their major to respiratory care may be admitted to the program if they meet the program's academic requirements for admission for internal transfer students and if there is vacancy in the program.
The program's academic requirements for admission for internal transfer students include a minimum preferred QPA of 2.75 and passing grades in the following required courses that have already been taken: Math 050 (per math placement scores); Math 117; AH 101; AH 201; BIOL 251, 261, 252, and 262; PHSC 111; and BIOL 260.
Current Clarion students who wish to change their major to respiratory care should complete a Change of Status Form and submit it to the Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation, Health and Sport Sciences. The student will be notified via the student's Clarion email account if they have been admitted to the respiratory care program. If the student meets the program's academic requirements but there is no vacancy, the student may be placed on a waiting list for the respiratory care program. A student on the program's waiting list could be admitted to the program in the current year should a position become available. If no position becomes available in the current academic year, the student will be admitted to the program the following academic year.
External Transfer Information:
Students transferring into Clarion’s respiratory care program must complete a minimum of 30 credits at the Venango campus of Clarion University regardless of credits that transfer in. Additional transfer guidelines as outlined in the Transfer Policy in the Undergraduate Catalog have been established to provide uniformity of transfer standards.
Transference eligibility of general education credits required for the respiratory care program will determined by the Office of Admissions in conjunction with the Office of the Registrar.
Transference eligibility of respiratory care credits earned at a college or university other than Clarion University (advanced standing) will be determined according to the following criteria:
- Evaluation of respiratory care credits earned elsewhere will be conducted only for individuals who have made formal application to Clarion University’s respiratory care program.
- Evaluation of respiratory care courses completed elsewhere will be considered only for credits earned in a respiratory care program that is accredited in good standing by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
- Evaluation of respiratory care credits earned elsewhere will be conducted at the discretion of the Chair of the Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation, Health and Sport Sciences and respiratory care faculty.
- The student must be able to provide any requested documentation of course work completed elsewhere. Such documentation may include formal transcripts, formal course descriptions, syllabi, copies of examinations, curriculum plans, copies of text books, letters of recommendation or verification from former instructors, or other documentation as deemed necessary by the evaluating faculty. Inability to provide such documentation to the satisfaction of the evaluating faculty will result in denial of credit evaluation and credit transfer.
- Evaluation of the student’s affective, cognitive, and psychomotor skills relative to the respiratory care course for which the student is seeking to be awarded transfer credits may be requested at the discretion of the evaluating faculty. This may include written examination, oral examination, clinical simulation examination, and other evaluative mechanisms.
- Credit for respiratory care courses completed elsewhere will be awarded only to individuals who have been formally accepted to Clarion University’s respiratory care program and who begin the respiratory care program of study in the fall semester subsequent to the time of acceptance.
- Credit granted for respiratory care courses completed elsewhere will be good for a maximum of two years from the time credit was granted unless determined otherwise by the Chair of the Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation, Health and Sport Sciences and respiratory care faculty. Students may be required to re-demonstrate knowledge and proficiency via written examination, oral examination, clinical simulation examination, and other evaluative mechanisms. Failure to demonstrate proficiency may preclude the student from continuing in the respiratory care program.
- Free elective credit in respiratory care may be granted for respiratory care credits earned elsewhere at the discretion of the Department Chair for students who do not meet the aforementioned criteria. All course work required for the respiratory care program must be completed regardless of whether free elective credit in respiratory care is awarded.
Credit for prior work in the field of respiratory care will not be accepted in lieu
of required respiratory care courses.
Clarion University does not make decisions about a student's eligibility to take the NBRC credentialing examinations or to obtain state licensure. Admission to the respiratory care program in no way implies that a student is eligible to sit for the NBRC credentialing examinations or to obtain state licensure. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure their eligibility to take the NBRC credentialing examination and to obtain state licensure. Prior to starting the respiratory care program, students with criminal backgrounds are strongly recommended to do the following:
1. Carefully review the NBRC's Judicial and Ethics Policies and contact the NBRC directly with any questions or concerns.
2. Carefully review the Application for Licensure as a Respiratory Therapist from the State Board of Medicine (Pennsylvania) and contact the PA State Board of Medicine with any questions or concerns. Individuals with a criminal background who plan to practice as a respiratory therapist in states other than Pennsylvania should contact the licensing agency of the state where the appropriate state.
Clarion University is regionally accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The Clarion University A.S. Respiratory Care Program is accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented. Programmatic outcomes data reported on the CoARC website include:
- 3-year time period being reported
- CRT credentialing success
- RRT credentialing success
- Achievement of the high cut score on the TMC exam
- Retention (Attrition)
- Job Placement
- Overall Graduate and Employer Satisfaction
- On-time Graduation Rate
- Total number of program enrollees and graduates
- Maximum Annual Enrollment
In order to look at detailed data for our program, please click "here".
VIew the video to hear why Kelly says she loves respiratory care, and listen to her describe why she loves this field of study.
814-676-6591, ext. 1207
Clarion University - Venango
217 Frame Hall
Christine Harancher, MS, RRT
Respiratory Care Program Director
206 Montgomery Hall 814 676 6591, EXT. 1253
FAX: 814 676 0251
Greg Sambor, BS, RRT
Respiratory Care Director of Clinical Education
202 Montgomery Hall