Degree: Associate of Applied Science
Emphasis: Respiratory Care
The Respiratory Care program provides students didactic, laboratory and clinic experiences needed to become respiratory therapists. A respiratory therapist is a healthcare professional that assists the physician in the diagnosis, evaluation, care and education for those with disorders of the cardio-respiratory system. The program provides clinical experiences at a variety of area healthcare facilities. Graduates will be prepared to take the national credentialing exams to earn the Registered Respiratory Therapist, RRT, credential and prepared to obtain employment as a respiratory therapist.
This program is designed for the student who does not intend to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program.
General Admission Requirements
Any student desiring to pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Care must:
- Apply, meet admission requirements and be accepted by Walters State Community College.
- Indicate AS Health Sciences-Respiratory Care as the desired major on the WSCC application form.
- Follow college policy for advising prior to registration.
- Successfully complete all required Learning Support courses no later than the end of the spring semester the year the student elects to participate in the selection process.
- Successfully complete BIOL 2010/2011, BIOL 2020/2021 no later than the end of the spring semester the year the student elects to participate in the selection process. A grade of “C” or better must be achieved in all science courses. Biological science courses previously taken must have been completed within the last 10 years.
- Complete the computer competency requirement.
- Submit the required pre-admission test scores. See program director or clinical application for specific test information.
- Students cannot audit any respiratory care course without the approval of the dean of Health Programs/program director of Respiratory Care.
Any exceptions to the above policies must be approved by the Respiratory Care Admission Committee.
Clinical Respiratory Care Program Application Requirements
A student who has completed all the above referenced requirements and has maintained an overall 2.0 GPA, excluding Learning Support courses, is eligible to apply for admission to the clinical respiratory care program. To apply for admission into the clinical respiratory care program, the student must complete and return to the director of Respiratory Care program, a Request for Admission into Clinical Respiratory Care form. This form must be filed no later than April 30 of the year the student elects to participate in the selection process for the fall semester respiratory care class. The student must attach to the form a current transcript of all college courses.
Selection to the Clinical Respiratory Care Program
- Selection of each class will be made by the Admission and Progression Committee whose membership consists of:
- Respiratory Care Director
- Respiratory Care Director of Clinical Education
- Respiratory Care Medical Director
- Respiratory Care Advisory Committee Members
- Dean of Health Programs (ex officio)
- The Admission and Progression Committee will rank each student on the basis of pre-determined criteria. The criteria include but are not limited to:
- First grades received in the required biology courses.
- Number of successfully completed courses beyond those required for admission to the clinical respiratory care program.
- Overall grade point average in required college courses excluding Learning Support grades.
- ACT/ACT Residual score of greater than 19 or scores on the pre-admission test above the designated score. All test scores must be less than three years old.*
- The committee may also require a personal interview and/or conduct reference checks.
- The top ranked applicants will be selected for each class. Decisions made by the committee are final.
- Transfer Students - Individuals who have attended other colleges and desire to transfer into the WSCC clinical respiratory care program will be considered on an individual basis. Transfer requests should be directed to the Respiratory Care program director. Transfer students must meet the same standards and criteria as others desiring to pursue an associate degree in Respiratory Care at WSCC. A student may be required to audit a designated respiratory care course.
- Transfer and Returning Students - Credit for respiratory care courses must have been earned within the last five years to be considered, unless a waiver is granted by the Respiratory Care program director. Credit for biology courses must have been earned within the past 10 years to be considered.
- WSCC and transfer students selected for the fall semester will be notified in writing.
- Students notified of admission into the clinical respiratory care program must return the following by the date specified on the form:
- a signed and dated acknowledgment of the Drug/Alcohol Abuse Policy and consent forms.
- a comprehensive health examination with documentation of required immunizations or titers showing immunity.
- Students who do not respond or who do not plan to attend will have their positions filled by other applicants selected by the Respiratory Care program director from the list recommended by the Admission and Progression Committee.
- Students not selected for admission may reapply for admission.
- Contact the Respiratory Care program director, Walters State Niswonger Center, Room 441 for additional information.
*ACT RESIDUAL and pre-admission testing can be scheduled through the counseling and testing office at WSCC.
To remain in good standing once admitted to the clinical respiratory care program, the student must:
- Adhere to all WSCC, respiratory care program, and clinical agencies policies.
- Earn a “C” or better in each required respiratory care and biology course and maintain a minimum WSCC GPA of 2.0.
- Satisfactorily complete the didactic, laboratory and clinical requirements in each course. A grade of “D” or less in any respiratory care course will result in dismissal from the program.
- Exhibit safe clinical behavior.
- Demonstrate professional, ethical and legal conduct.
- Retain the ability to rotate to all designated clinical sites throughout the entire program.
- Maintain professional liability insurance.
- Maintain American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers certification.
- Submit to a drug test if requested by the Respiratory Care program director at any time during the program. A positive drug test is grounds for immediate dismissal. Specific policy and procedure for drug and alcohol testing is listed in the Respiratory Care Student Handbook.
- Have a comprehensive health examination and submit the required form to the Respiratory Care program director by the designated date.
- Individuals convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation could be ineligible for certified/registered respiratory therapist licensure in the state of Tennessee even though they have successfully completed the respiratory care program. (see criminal background check requirement)
A student who has received a “D” or “F” in a respiratory care course or who has withdrawn from the clinical respiratory care program may apply for readmission. The readmission policies are:
- A student must schedule an appointment with the Respiratory Care program director or full-time faculty member and complete the exit interview process. Failure to complete the exit interview process may render the student ineligible to pursue readmission.
- A student must request in writing to the Respiratory Care program director to be considered by the Admission and Progression Committee according to the following schedule:
- apply by April 30 for readmission to a fall semester respiratory care course.
- Apply by November 30 for readmission to a spring semester respiratory care course. Students will be notified by letter of the date and time they are to meet with the Admission and Progression Committee. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure the respiratory care program has the correct mailing address.
- A student is eligible to appear before the Admissions and Progression Committee two times. If readmission is not granted after the second application, the student becomes ineligible for readmission.
- The committee may allow a student to be readmitted without an interview under the following circumstances: obvious physical illness/disability necessitating the student’s withdrawal or student physical or psychological problems with physician documentation.
- Only one readmission to the clinical respiratory care program is permitted.
- A student with unsatisfactory clinical performance must be evaluated and recommended for readmission by a consensus of the respiratory care program faculty. Procedures for clinical evaluation are found in the Respiratory Care Student Handbook.
- A student who has received two grades of “D” or below in respiratory care courses will not be eligible for readmission.
- A student must have a cumulative 2.0 GPA or higher to be considered for readmission.
- A student repeating any respiratory care course must repeat all co-requisites including but not limited to; classroom, laboratory and clinical components to increase the probability of success for the program.
- A student may be readmitted only if space is available.
- Any exceptions to be above possibilities must be approved by the Admissions and Progression Committee.
Health and Physical Considerations for Respiratory Care Students
Because the college seeks to provide in as much as possible a reasonably safe environment for its health care students and their patients, a student may be required, during the course of their program, to demonstrate their physical and/or emotional fitness to meet the essential requirements of the program. Such essential requirements may include freedom from communicable diseases, the ability to perform certain physical tasks, and suitable emotional fitness. Any appraisal measures used to determine such physical and/or emotional fitness will be in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, so as not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability.
All Tennessee Board of Regents Respiratory Care programs have adopted the following core performance standards. Admission to and progression in the respiratory care program is not based on these standards but should be used to assist the student in determining whether accommodations or modifications are necessary. The standards are:
- Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgement.
- Interpersonal abilities sufficient to effectively interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
- Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form.
- Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces.
- Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.
- Auditory abilities sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.
- Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in respiratory care.
- Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment.
If a student believes that one or more of the standards cannot be met without accommodations or modification, the respiratory care program will determine whether or not accommodations can be reasonably made. A student should contact the Respiratory Care program director for assistance.
Legal Limitation for Licensure
Graduates of the program will be eligible to apply to take the credentialing exam to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist. However, individuals who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation could be ineligible for a license as a respiratory therapist in Tennessee, even though they have successfully completed the respiratory care program.
Walters State Community College Respiratory Care Program an accredited program through the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, program number 200550. The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States (www.coarc.com). To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes (https://coarc.com/students/programmatic-outcomes-data/) are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.