Respiratory Therapy

SJVC’s Respiratory Therapist program prepares you to be a member of a health care team that evaluates, treats and manages patients with respiratory illnesses and other cardiopulmonary disorders through demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs). In addition to performing respiratory care procedures, respiratory therapists are involved in clinical decision-making and patient education.

What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?

Respiratory Therapists help patients who have breathing problems. On the job, respiratory therapists perform many duties, including:

  • Sample arterial blood for blood gas analysis
  • Perform pulmonary function testing
  • Develop or modify respiratory care plans
  • Provide life support measures
  • Deliver respiratory medications and gasses

Respiratory Therapy Program Details

Skills Students Learn

Students in our Respiratory Therapy program learn:

  • Microbiology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology
  • Computer applications, ethics and psychology
  • Pathology, pharmacology and resuscitation
  • Mechanical ventilation of adults, pediatrics, and newborns
  • Hemodynamics, physical assessment and oxygen delivery
  • Monitoring, radiography and airway management

Students receive more than 760 hours of extensive clinical practice in hospitals and clinics to gain real-world experience. Applicants must meet the technical standards to be considered for the Respiratory Therapy program.

Program Course Examples

Courses* taken by our Respiratory Therapy students include:

Principles of Respiratory Care
The focus of this course is management of the airway and mechanical ventilation. Topics include endotracheal intubation, advanced airway management, resuscitation devices, invasive and non-invasive ventilation, tracheostomy care, initiation, monitoring, managing, and discontinuation of mechanical ventilation. Students will apply hemodynamics to positive pressure ventilation. A grade of “C” or better is required to earn credit for this course.

Advanced Respiratory Care
The focus of this course is advanced pulmonary function testing and critical care with emphasis on hemodynamic monitoring. Topics include advanced physical, radiological, and clinical laboratory assessment along with invasively monitored cardiac assessment and special procedures. Routine and specialized pulmonary function tests are also covered. A grade of “C” or better is required to earn credit for this course.

Specialized Respiratory Care
The focus of this course is alternate work sites and job readiness for successful employment in Respiratory Care. Topics include land/air patient transport, disaster management, patient and family education and health management, case management, home care, long term care, pulmonary rehabilitation, and sleep studies. Job readiness along with licensure and credentialing examination preparation also occurs in this course. A grade of “C” or better is required to earn credit for this course.

*Course listings are subject to change. Reference the SJVC College Catalog for the  most current program information.

Program Outcomes

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in California

Students can earn an Associate of Science degree in approximately 19 months.

Professional Registration
Upon graduation from the San Joaquin Valley College Respiratory Therapy program, students will have the following certificates: Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Provider (NRP) .

Upon successful completion of the San Joaquin Valley College Respiratory Therapy program, graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Board Respiratory Care: Therapist Multiple Choice Exam (TMC). Upon achieving the minimum cut score on the TMC, graduates will be eligible to take the Clinical Simulation exam leading to the RRT Credential.

SJVC prepares graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).

California State Licensure
Graduates of the San Joaquin Valley College Respiratory Therapy program are eligible to apply to the National Board for Respiratory Care to sit for the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) exam. Once a minimum threshold is earned, the graduate is then eligible to sit for the Clinical Simulation (CS) exam.

Upon successfully passing the CS exam the graduate earns the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credential. The RRT credential is the minimum entry requirement for licensure in California. This application also requires a background check. The fees for the exams, background check and application are paid for by the College. Payment for retakes and subsequent examinations are the responsibility of the graduate. Failure to apply for or sit for this exam does not constitute a refund or discount in tuition.

Graduates who earn the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential by the National Board for Respiratory Care and licensed by the California Respiratory Care Board, are authorized to use the title, Licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner, which is a requirement to work in this field.

The Respiratory Care Board publishes institutional pass rate information.

For Outcomes Data for our program, please visit the Programmatic Outcomes Data page of the CoARC webpage by clicking here.

Program Availability

SJVC’s Respiratory Therapy program is available at the following campuses:

Career Opportunities

Well-trained respiratory therapists can work for acute care hospitals, durable medical equipment companies, sub-acute facilities, home care agencies, physicians’ offices, or managed care organizations; as well as in specialized areas, such as sleep labs and pulmonary function labs.

Opportunities include:

  • Respiratory Therapist (RT)
  • Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT)
  • Neonatal-Pediatric Specialist (NPS)
  • Clinical Educator/Clinical Specialist
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation/Asthma Specialist
  • Biomedical/Research/Sales

Accreditation and Approvals

The Associate’s of Science Degree Respiratory Therapy program at the following SJVC campuses is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (

Campus CoARC Program Number
Bakersfield 200425
Ontario 200495
Rancho Cordova 200518
Temecula 200607
Visalia 200389

Institutional Accreditation

San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at

State Approvals

SJVC is a private institution and is approved to operate as an accredited institution by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Approval to operate means that SJVC has been found in compliance with the standards set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (California Education Code, Title 3, Division 10, Part 59, Chapter 8) and Title 5, Division 7.5 – Private Postsecondary Education of the California Code of Regulations.

Any questions that a student may have regarding the college catalog and/or catalog supplement that have not been satisfactorily answered by the institution may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at:

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 980818
West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818

Physical Address
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833

Telephone Numbers
Toll free (888) 370-7589
(916) 431-6959

Fax Number
(916) 263-1897


View additional State Approvals for SJVC.