Respiratory Therapy Program

Respiratory Therapy | Los Angeles, OC & Ontario, CA

Respiratory Therapists play an important role in patient care—and are in demand. According to the California Employment Development Department job growth is expected to increase at a rate of 17 percent through 2024*.

At American Career College, our Associate of Occupational Science degree in Respiratory Therapy is designed to prepare you to sit for the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exams (written and clinical simulation), offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).

*California Employment Development Department

Want to learn more about ACC?REQUEST MORE INFO Want to check out a campus?SCHEDULE A CAMPUS TOUR

"I completed four years of college and graduated as a History major, but I couldn't seem to find a job that was secure. I knew the medical profession was so I researched a few places and picked American Career College. It was the best fit."

Juan S. Respiratory Therapy Graduate
Take The Next Step

It only takes a minute to take the next step towards a satisfying career! We've streamlined our online application. See for yourself!


Respiratory Therapy Overview

The American Career College Respiratory Therapy program is designed to help you acquire the knowledge and training to evaluate, treat and care for patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders, from infants whose lungs are not fully developed to the elderly whose lungs are diseased.

Through a combination of classroom, laboratory and clinical studies, you should be able to develop a range of skills relevant to the roles and responsibilities of a respiratory therapist, including:

  • Interviewing patients, performing limited physical examinations and conducting diagnostic tests
  • Executing effective plans and protocols to assist patients so they can breathe comfortably
  • Understanding anatomy, physiology and other sciences
  • And many other important responsibilities

After successfully completing the school's program, you will be eligible to sit for the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exams (written and clinical simulation), offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).

The focus is on your success!

The goal of our school's program is to help you graduate with the confidence and qualifications to begin your career as a respiratory therapist.*

*American Career College cannot guarantee employment.

The Respiratory Therapy (Associate of Occupational Science) programs in Orange County and Ontario are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). CoARC 1248 Harwood Road, Bedford, TX 76021-4244; Phone (817) 283-2835 / Fax (817) 510-1063 /

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;
  • Attrition;
  • Job placement;
  • Overall Graduate Satisfaction;
  • Overall Employer Satisfaction;
  • On-time Graduation Rate;
  • Total number of program enrollees;
  • Total number of program graduates;
  • Maximum Annual Enrollment.

The Respiratory Therapy program is available at the following campuses:

Careers After I Graduate

Respiratory therapists generally work in hospitals or other clinical settings. Successful completion of the American Career College Respiratory Therapy program requires clinical experience, where you may work with patients who have a variety of ailments and conditions that prohibit their cardiopulmonary system from working correctly.

After completing American Career College's career-focused Associate of Occupational Science degree, you may pursue entry-level positions at:

  • Hospitals
  • Sleep Disorder Clinics
  • Diagnostic Laboratories
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • In-Home Care Providers
  • Physicians' Offices
  • Critical Care Transport Providers

A few interesting statistics* about respiratory therapy careers:

  • Employment of respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2014 to 2024*, faster than average for all occupations.
  • Conditions affecting the general population, such as smoking, air pollution and respiratory emergencies, will continue to create demand for respiratory therapists.
  • Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased number of respiratory conditions, resulting in an increased demand for respiratory therapy services and treatments, mostly in hospitals and nursing homes.

Many area employers are very familiar with the quality of ACC's health care training programs and our school's track record for preparing confident, qualified professionals for rewarding careers. Our graduates have been hired by:

  • American Red Cross
  • Cedars Sinai
  • UCI Medical Center
  • Glendale Memorial
  • Good Samaritan
  • Hollywood Presbyterian
  • Huntington Memorial
  • Irvine Regional Medical Center
  • Little Company of Mary
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • St. Joseph Hospital
  • St. Jude Hospital
  • St. Francis Hospital
  • St. John's Medical Group
  • Shriners Hospital for Children
  • USC
  • Harbor UCLA Medical Center
  • Hoag Hospital
  • Lenscrafters
  • Newport Dental
  • Pearle Vision Care
  • SmileCare Family Dentistry
  • CVS
  • Pharmerica
  • RiteAid
  • RxRelief
  • Aetna Healthcare
  • BlueCross
  • United Healthcare
  • U.S. Healthworks

*California Employment Development Department

What Will I Learn

This class curriculum is divided into eight 10-week quarters consisting of general education, anatomy and physiology, core respiratory therapy and clinical practicum courses.

Clinical experience in an appropriate hospital or clinical setting is also required for successful completion of the school's program. These clinical rotations, which begin in quarter five, comprise a total of 960 hours.

In addition to general education courses, core courses in ACC's Respiratory Therapy program include:

  • Respiratory Procedures I – This course introduces students to non-invasive respiratory care treatments and support modalities and set up, use and troubleshooting required equipment. Focus is placed on achieving an understanding the application of specific modalities to clinical scenarios, assessment of the effectiveness of treatment, development of treatment plans and the operating principles of the equipment used to provide therapy.
  • Cardiopulmonary Diagnostic Testing – In this course, you will study pulmonary diagnostic testing techniques & interpretation for procedures occurring in the PFT laboratory, at the bedside as well as imaging studies such as CT, MRI and V/Q. Focus will be placed on how information from PFT tests is used to determine the presence, extent and progression of lung disease and abnormality.
  • Neonatal/Pediatric Ventilation – Lab – In the laboratory component of this course, you will be introduced to ventilator management of the neonatal and pediatric patient. Set-up, testing and troubleshooting of various devices for positive pressure ventilation are addressed, as are initiation, management and discontinuation of ventilator support.
  • Critical Care Monitoring – In this course, you will study critical care monitoring of particular patient populations, such as open-heart and pediatric patients, hemodynamic monitoring, ventilator waveform analysis and capnography. Proper reading of monitors, accurate interpretation of readings, strengths and shortcomings of various hemodynamic monitoring modalities will be discussed.
  • Respiratory Care Review – This course is intended as a final preparation for graduation and attempting the NBRC board exams (both CRT and RRT exams). You will review subject matter in all major core areas of the respiratory care program. By the end of this course, all students must take and pass the written SAE for both the CRT and RRT exams and pass the required number of Clinical Simulations from the registry exam SAE.
  • Clinical Practicum I – This course is an introduction to the clinical environment. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills of patient assessment, observation, modification of therapy, development of patient care plans and documentation to the patient care record. You will complete a minimum of five chart reviews by the end of this practicum in order to demonstrate locating and appropriately collecting patient data from the medical record.

Other core courses in this program include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Career Advantage
  • Medical Terminology
  • Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Gas Therapy
  • Medical Gas Therapy - Lab
  • Respiratory Procedures I - Lab
  • Respiratory Pharmacology
  • Respiratory Pharmacology - Lab
  • Adult Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology
  • Respiratory Procedures II
  • Respiratory Procedures II - Lab
  • Intro to Clinical Practicum
  • Intro to Clinical Practicum - Lab
  • Cardiopulmonary Diagnostic Testing - Lab
  • Rehab and Home Health in Respiratory Care
  • Mechanical Ventilation I
  • Mechanical Ventilation I - Lab
  • Neonatal / Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology
  • Neonatal / Pediatric Ventilation
  • Advanced Ventilation Concepts
  • Clinical Practicum II
  • Clinical Practicum III
  • Clinical Practicum IV

What Will I Do as a Respiratory Therapist

Once you have completed your American Career College training and earned your associate degree, you'll be ready to pursue exciting career opportunities. As an entry-level respiratory therapist, your day-to-day responsibilities* may include:

  • Set up and operate devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, and aerosol
  • Provide emergency care, including artificial respiration, external cardiac massage and assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Determine requirements for treatment, such as type, method and duration of therapy, precautions to be taken, and medication and dosages, compatible with physicians' orders.
  • Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, and blood chemistry changes, and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
  • Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition.
  • Work as part of a team of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to manage patient care.
  • Enforce safety rules and ensure careful adherence to physicians' orders.
  • Maintain charts that contain patients' pertinent identification and therapy information.
  • Inspect, clean, test and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently.
  • Educate patients and their families about their conditions and teach appropriate disease management techniques, such as breathing exercises and the use of medications and respiratory equipment.

You'll be on your way!

As you begin your career as a respiratory therapist, the ongoing development of your skills can create increased opportunities for advancement. Even after you are employed, American Career College's Career Services team will remain committed to providing you with the resources, support and personalized assistance you need to keep your career on the fast track.

Source: California Employment Development Department

Program Information Disclosure

Select campus below to view disclosures:

To view outcome information for this and ACC's other programs, and to view state disclosure information, visit:

Want more details about the Respiratory Therapy Program?

Please fill out the form below:

By clicking below, I consent to receive calls and/or text messages* by a college representative with information for educational opportunities at the number(s) provided above. I understand calls may be initiated by an automated telephone dialing system. I need not grant this consent to receive information or to be eligible to enroll with ACC. I also understand that if I no longer wish to receive text messages from ACC, I can text back "Stop" at any time to unsubscribe from the service. (*Standard rates may apply.)

Other Programs Offered