Respiratory Care - AAS

Respiratory care deals with all aspects of the heart and lungs from babies through adulthood. It ranks among the top 20 fastest growing occupations, and companies love to hire SCC grads. That’s because they know their stuff. Our two-year program includes tons of hands-on experience in clinical sites across the region. 

SCC's Respiratory Care program was created to meet the need for respiratory care professionals locally and in the surrounding communities. 

Respiratory Care is a specialty field in the health occupation career field. Simply stated, "It deals with everything to do with the heart and lungs from babies through adulthood." This field is growing rapidly and has a great demand for graduates with an associate degree in respiratory care. Respiratory care ranks among the Top 20 fastest growing occupations for the 21st century.

This two-year program includes clinical studies. These clinical studies consist of hands-on training that will take place in rotating hospitals within a 75-mile radius. Graduates of this program will be able to initiate, conduct, or modify respiratory care techniques in emergency and non-emergency settings.

The Southeastern Community College Respiratory Care Program, CoARC # 200462, located in West Burlington Iowa, offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com).


For more information regarding program rules and expectations, please view the handbook. View The Program Handbook

All courses with an RCP designation must be taken at the West Burlington location. Other courses are available at West Burlington, Keokuk, and/or online.

Curriculum Sequence

Prerequisites Course Title Credit
BIO-186 MICROBIOLOGY 4
CHM-122 INTRODUCTION TO GENERAL CHEMISTRY 4
HSC-114 MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY 3
TOTAL 11
Fall Semester I Course Title Credit
BIO-163 ESSENTIALS OF ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY 4
ENG-105 COMPOSITION I 3
RCP-231 INTRODUCTION TO RESPIRATORY CARE 3
RCP-232 RESPIRATORY CARE MODALITIES 1.5
RCP-233 INTRODUCTION TO CLINICAL PRACTICE 3
TOTAL 14.5
Spring Semester I Course Title Credit
RCP-331 RESPIRATORY CARE II 3
RCP-332 RESPIRATORY CARE MODALITIES II 1
RCP-333 CARDIOPULMONARY PHARMACOLOGY 2
RCP-350 PULMONARY PATHOLOGY 3
RCP-751 RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC I 5
SPC-101 FUNDAMENTALS OF ORAL COMMUNICATION 3
TOTAL 17
Summer Semester Course Title Credit
PSY-111 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY 3
RCP-480 ADVANCED CARDIAC CARE 2.5
RCP-524 RESPIRATORY CARE III 5
RCP-755 RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC II 1
TOTAL 11.5
Fall Semester II Course Title Credit
RCP-440 CARDIO/PULMONARY DIAGNOSTICS 2
RCP-450 RESPIRATORY CARE IV 3
RCP-620 NEONATAL/PEDIATRIC RESPIRATORY CARE 5
RCP-761 RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC III 5
TOTAL 15
Spring Semester II Course Title Credit
RCP-767 RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC IV 8
RCP-810 RESPIRATORY CARE PROFESSIONAL 2
RCP-910 RESPIRATORY CARE RRT REVIEW 2
TOTAL 12

BIO-186 - MICROBIOLOGY

Lecture: 3

Lab: 2

Credit: 4

A study of microbial populations and their relationships to the human in health and diseases. 

CHM-122 - INTRODUCTION TO GENERAL CHEMISTRY

Lecture: 3

Lab: 2

Credit: 4

This introductory course is intended for non-science majors or for science majors who need a background in chemistry before taking College Chemistry I. Topics covered include properties of matter, measurements, atomic structure, chemical bonding and stoichiometry. Prerequisite: One year high school algebra or MAT-062.

HSC-114 - MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY

Lecture: 2

Lab: 2

Credit: 3

This course is designed to study the basic language related to medical science with emphasis on word analysis, construction, definitions, pronunciations, spelling and standard abbreviations.

BIO-163 - ESSENTIALS OF ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Lecture: 3

Lab: 2

Credit: 4

This introductory course is designed for the student needing a one-semester combined anatomy and physiology course with laboratory. All systems will be covered with greater emphasis on the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune and urinary systems.  This course also provides background for the more advanced courses BIO-168 and BIO-173

ENG-105 - COMPOSITION I

Lecture: 3

Credit: 3

A study of the principles of writing. Emphasis on rhetoric, mechanics, and development of expository patterns: narration, description illustration, comparison/contrast, classification, process, and cause/effect. Required for AA and AS Degrees. Prerequisites: Meet minimum placement test score requirement.

RCP-231 - INTRODUCTION TO RESPIRATORY CARE

Lecture: 3

Credit: 3

An introduction to the respiratory care profession. Topics include respiratory care and the healthcare system; the economics, communication, documentation, and evidence –based practice; and the ethical and legal implications of practice. Students will also be introduced to entry level modalities such as oxygen and aerosol therapy. This is a companion course to RCP-232 Respiratory Care Modalities where competencies for this course will be practiced and evaluated in the laboratory or simulation center setting prior to hands-on clinical practice with adult patients in a hospital setting. Prerequisite: Admission to the program. Corequisites: RCP-232, RCP-233

RCP-232 - RESPIRATORY CARE MODALITIES

Lab: 3

Credit: 1.5

This course allows the entry level respiratory care student an opportunity to practice procedures using equipment in the respiratory care lab and simulation center. This is a companion course to RCP: 231 and RCP: 233, in which competencies related to recall, application, and analysis using respiratory equipment are practiced and tested prior to patient care. Prerequisite: Admission to the program. Corequisites: RCP-231, RCP-233

RCP-233 - INTRODUCTION TO CLINICAL PRACTICE

Lecture: 3

Credit: 3

This course focuses on the interaction between patients and the respiratory therapist for the purpose of providing healthcare service(s) or assessing the health status of a patient. Subjects included in this course are infection control, informatics, preparation for patient encounter, taking a medical history, performing a patient interview, cardiopulmonary symptoms, vital signs, physical examination of the chest, evaluation of breath sounds, review and analysis of laboratory studies, and interpretation of ABGs,. This is a companion course to RCP-232 Respiratory Care Modalities where competencies for this course will be practiced and evaluated in the laboratory or simulation center setting prior to hands-on clinical practice with adult patients in a hospital setting. Prerequisite: Admission to the program. Corequisites: RCP-231, RCP-232.

RCP-331 - RESPIRATORY CARE II

Lecture: 3

Credit: 3

This course is a continuation of Introduction to Respiratory Care and will build on the equipment and therapeutic modalities essential to clinical practice. Major topics include airway management and airway clearance techniques, respiratory mechanics and control of breathing, arterial blood gases, and methods of non-invasive ventilation. Prerequisites: RCP-231, RCP-232, RCP-233. Corequisites: RCP-350, RCP-751, RCP-332, RCP-333.

RCP-332 - RESPIRATORY CARE MODALITIES II

Lab: 2

Credit: 1

This course allows respiratory care students an opportunity to practice procedures using equipment in the respiratory lab and simulation center. The primary focus of this skills lab course is the practice and preparation for required Competency Evaluations for Respiratory Care II. Prerequisites: RCP-231, RCP-232, RCP-233. Corequisites: RCP-331, RCP-333, RCP-350, RCP-751.

RCP-333 - CARDIOPULMONARY PHARMACOLOGY

Lecture: 2

Credit: 2

Introduces general pharmacological principles and management relative to the cardiopulmonary system. Includes management and treatment of specific cardiopulmonary disorders and drugs used in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Prerequisites: RCP-231, RCP-232, RCP-233. Corequisites: RCP-350, RCP-751, RCP-331, RCP-332.

RCP-350 - PULMONARY PATHOLOGY

Lecture: 3

Credit: 3

This course presents an overview of acute and chronic diseases affecting the pulmonary system. Diagnosis, assessment, treatment and management of the disease will be discussed. Prerequisites: RCP-231, RCP-232, RCP-233. Corequisites: RCP-331, RCP-332, RCP-333, RCP-751.

RCP-751 - RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC I

Clinical: 15

Credit: 5

Learners are assigned to various clinical experiences within the hospital and homecare settings in order to apply principles and skills learned in RCP-331, RCP-332, and RCP-333. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of RCP-231, RCP-232, RCP-233. Must be currently enrolled in or have satisfactorily passed RCP-331, RCP-332, RCP-333 and RCP-350.

SPC-101 - FUNDAMENTALS OF ORAL COMMUNICATION

Lecture: 3

Credit: 3

Explores communication in a variety of contexts including interpersonal relationships, the workplace, small groups, and public speaking. Emphasis on the application and practice of communication theories and skills, particularly public speaking.

PSY-111 - INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY

Lecture: 3

Credit: 3

A basic course in the understanding of behavior, designed to give the student a scientific background in the fundamental problems and techniques covered in the field of psychology.

RCP-480 - ADVANCED CARDIAC CARE

Lecture: 2

Lab: 1

Credit: 2.5

This course provides theory and laboratory practice in managing specific live-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias.  Includes a review of basic life support, use of mechanical aids to establish an airway and maintain ventilation, ECG monitoring and recognition of life-threatening dysrhythmias, cardiac defibrillation and initiating appropriate cardiac drug therapy.  Prerequisites: RCP-331, RCP-332, RCP-333, RCP-350, RCP-751. Corequisites: RCP-524, RCP-755.

RCP-524 - RESPIRATORY CARE III

Lecture: 4.5

Lab: 1

Credit: 5

This course introduces the concepts of mechanical ventilation used in the respiratory support of the critically ill patient, with emphasis on indications for ventilation, parameters monitored during ventilation, function, and clinical applications. Prerequisite: RCP-331, RCP-332, RCP-333, RCP-350, RCP-751. Corequisite: RCP-755.

RCP-755 - RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC II

Clinical: 4

Credit: 1

Learners are assigned to various clinical experiences within a health care setting to apply principles learned in the respiratory curriculum. Prerequisites: RCP-331, RCP-332, RCP-333, RCP-350 and RCP-751. Corequisites: RCP-524 and RCP-480.

RCP-440 - CARDIO/PULMONARY DIAGNOSTICS

Lecture: 2

Credit: 2

This course will present various cardiopulmonary diagnostic tests and the role of the respiratory care practitioner. Contents included: pulmonary function testing, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, specialized test regimens and quality assurance in the pulmonary function laboratory. Prerequisites: RCP-524, RCP-755, RCP-350. Corequisites: RCP-450, RCP-620, RCP-761.

RCP-450 - RESPIRATORY CARE IV

Lecture: 2.5

Lab: 1

Credit: 3

This course will focus on advanced equipment and therapeutic modalities used in the practice of Respiratory Care. Major topics include ECGs, hemodynamic monitoring, cardiac pharmacology, polysomnography and pulmonary rehabilitation. Prerequisite: RCP-524. Corequisites: RCP-440 and RCP-620.

RCP-620 - NEONATAL/PEDIATRIC RESPIRATORY CARE

Lecture: 4

Lab: 2

Credit: 5

This course will cover the assessment of the newborn and pediatric patient. Fetal circulation, congenital anomalies, respiratory disorders of the newborn, ventilation of the newborn, surfactant replacement, oxygen and aerosol therapy of the newborn and pediatric patient, as well as child development will be discussed. Prerequisite: RCP-524, RCP-755. Corequisites: RCP-440, RCP-450, RCP-761.

RCP-761 - RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC III

Clinical: 15

Credit: 5

Learners are assigned to various clinical experiences within a hospital and homecare setting to apply principles learned in the respiratory curriculum. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of RCP-524, RCP-755. Corequisite: RCP-450.

RCP-767 - RESPIRATORY CARE CLINIC IV

Clinical: 24

Credit: 8

Learners are assigned to various clinical experiences within a health care setting to apply principles learned in the respiratory curriculum. Prerequisites: RCP-440, RCP-450 RCP-620 and RCP-761. Corequisites: RCP-910 and RCP-810.

RCP-810 - RESPIRATORY CARE PROFESSIONAL

Lecture: 2

Credit: 2

The purpose of this course is to assist second year respiratory care students in preparing for autonomous professional practice. The role of the professional: duties to client, employer and public; professional responsibilities; involvement in continuing education and professional career development will be explores. Prerequisites: RCP-440, RCP-450, RCP-620, RCP-761. Corequisites: RCP-766 and RCP-880.

RCP-910 - RESPIRATORY CARE RRT REVIEW

Lecture: 2

Credit: 2

This course is designed to test the student's ability to successfully earn passing scores on advanced-level examinations. Although advanced-level examinations will be the focus of this course, review of entry-level examination concepts will also be provided. Mock board examinations will be administered after completion of a comprehensive review seminar. Prerequisites: RCP-440, RCP-450, RCP-620 and RCP-761. Corequisites: RCP-810 and RCP-767.

Christina Carter - Instructor/Clinical Coordinator, (319) 752-2731 ext. 5214

Email: ccarter@scciowa.edu
AAS, Southeastern Community College
BA, University of the Pacific
RRT-Registered Respiratory Therapist

Stacy Lewis-Sells - Professor/Program Coordinator, (319) 752-2731 ext. 5204

Email: slewis-sells@scciowa.edu
AAS, Kirkwood Community College
BHS, University of Missouri-Columbia
Ed.M., University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
RRT-Registered Respiratory Therapist
RRT-ACCS, Adult Critical Care Specialist
RRT-NPS, Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist
CPFT, Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist
AE-C, Certified Asthma Educator

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