Respiratory Care

Hear or see an ad regarding the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration grant? If you are interested in applying or would like more information, please email Program Director Christi Ward at

Christie Ward, MRC,RRT,RRT-NPS
Program Director

If the patient is not breathing....nothing else matters!

Be a Respiratory Therapist!!

The Respiratory Care Program, CoARC Program Number 200626, Associate of Applied Science Degree in Respiratory Care, and Jackson State Community College main campus holds Provisional Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (

This status signifies that a program with an Approval of Intent has demonstrated sufficient compliance with the Standards (through submission of an acceptable Provisional Accreditation Self Study Report (PSSR) and any other documentation required by the CoARC, as well as satisfactory completion of an initial on-site visit), to be allowed to admit students. It is recognized as an accredited program by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), which provides enrolled students who complete the program with eligibility for the Respiratory Care Credentialing Examination(s). The program will remain on Provisional Accreditation until it achieves Continuing Accreditation.

Program Goal: To prepare 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).

The Respiratory Care Program at JSCC trains students to be respiratory therapists who are employed in careers that care for patients who have breathing problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Job responsibilities include the assessment, diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and education of patients from premature newborns with undeveloped lungs to geriatric patients who have diseased lungs.  Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician's offices, and in homes. There is great opportunity for individuals qualified in this health care profession due to the high incidence of breathing disorders. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of May 2015) employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 - 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. (The BLS identified the national median annual income of $57,790.)

The respiratory therapist administers care under the direction of a physician. The therapist interviews the patients and does chest physical exams to determine what kind of therapy is best for their condition. The therapist consults with the physician to recommend a change in therapy, based on the evaluation of the patient. The therapist analyzes breath, tissue, and blood specimens to determine levels of oxygen and other gases. The respiratory therapist manages ventilators and artificial airway devices for patients who can't breathe normally on their own. Respiratory therapists respond to Code Blue or other urgent calls for care. The therapist also educates patients and families about lung disease so they can best participate in their own care.

More information about the profession can be found on the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) website.

The Respiratory Care Program at Jackson State Community College requires twenty-one (21) months to complete. This includes one summer term. The first semester is spent at the college. The remaining four (4) semesters are divided between the college and hospital to receive the necessary clinical training. Students participate in acute, critical, and home health care within the clinical education.

Graduates of Jackson State Community College's Respiratory Care Program receive an Associate of Applied Science degree. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the national Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination (TMC) administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care. Graduates also are eligible for state licensure as required by the Tennessee Board of Respiratory Care.

Licensure requirements for respiratory care practitioners vary according to state statutes. In Tennessee, practitioners are required to pass the national examinations for certified and/or registered respiratory therapist, respectively.

CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an 'outcomes based' process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.

CoARC Programmatic Outcomes Data (Student/Graduate Outcomes)