Respiratory Therapy (AS)

What is A Respiratory Therapy (AS) Degree?

Respiratory Therapy treats patients with problems with their cardiovascular system.  What’s that?  It’s the system of the body that includes the heart, blood vessels, and blood along with the organs that have to do with breathing and carrying oxygen to the cells of the body, like the lungs, bronchi, and trachea.  These are really important parts!  Practitioners in the field are concerned with everything that goes on between the heart and the lungs. So, what do the therapists actually do?  They interview and examine patients, often doing specific tests, to determine exactly what’s going on, whether it’s a virus or disease, cancer, asthma, emphysema, or something else.  They work with the doctors to come up with treatment plans, often helping patients with rehabilitation activities. They operate a lot of pretty fancy equipment.  So, there’s lots of patient contact in this field. To get started, you need at least an Associate’s degree from an accredited program.

With an AS in Respiratory Therapy you can work as a therapist in some locations, however, in your area you may qualify for a Respiratory Technician position.  Your course load for the AS degree in Respiratory Therapy will include, in addition to fundamental general education, topics like medical terminology, cardiac anatomy, pulmonary anatomy, respiratory therapeutics, pulmonary diagnostics, critical care, and others.  You’ll likely have a practicum as part of your training, and you may need to take an exam for licensure.

What Can I Do With A Respiratory Therapy (AS) Degree?