Respiratory Care

Program Overview

Are you a caring person who likes to help people? Do you like to work with high tech equipment? Do you enjoy a job where every day you will have different challenges and opportunities? Would you like a job where there are opportunities for specialization or advancement to management or education? If you answered yes to these questions then Respiratory Therapy may be the career for you.

Respiratory Therapists are the health care professionals who care for people with breathing problems. You can live without food for a few weeks, you can live without water for a few days, but if you are deprived of air you will die within minutes. Most people take breathing for granted until there is a problem then breathing becomes a desperate struggle. Unfortunately many people either already have or will develop breathing disorders in the years ahead.

Under the direction of physicians Respiratory Therapists assist in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with cardiopulmonary problems. Respiratory Therapists must understand the functioning of the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems and are a vital part of hospitals emergency response teams. Respiratory Therapists use a great deal of independent judgment to make recommendations to the health care team regarding patients’ respiratory care. A career in Respiratory Therapy allows you the opportunity to work with people of all age groups from premature infants, to children, to adults, to the elderly. You can choose to specialize in areas such as critical care, home care, pulmonary diagnostics, neonatal intensive care, and more. Respiratory Therapists are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, home care companies, doctors’ offices, diagnostic and rehabilitation clinics, sleep clinics, educational institutions and more.

With the aging of the American population the need for health care and especially respiratory care is expected to increase significantly in the years ahead. Currently there is a shortage of Respiratory Therapists in the United States and this shortage is expected to worsen in the coming years. Because of this Respiratory Therapy is expected to be one of the fastest growing career fields in the years ahead.


Prospective applicants should be aware of the following:

  • The courses to be completed for the degree will vary based on the student’s preferred area of study which is referred to as the “pathway” for the career program of choice. Therefore, it is important to meet with an adviser to map out the best academic plan to achieve his or her goal. The student should first focus on taking the prerequisites required for the program for which they will be applying.
  • All career programs have a selective admissions process. This means that a seat in any program is awarded only to the top applicants. Simply meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to a program.
  • The general education courses required for each career program are summarized in the comparison chart for all 2-year health career programs at Albany State University on the last page of the packet. 

The Division of Health Sciences is responsible for the information on this page.
To inquire about the Respiratory Care program, please contact .