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Respiratory Therapy

  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • 78 credits
  • 2 Years
  • Delivery Method: On-Campus
  • The Program Application Window is Open: Learn More

Why Study Respiratory Therapy at LSC?

Respiratory therapists are health care specialists who work under the direction of a physician to evaluate, treat, manage, and rehabilitate patients with cardiopulmonary disorders or complications. The respiratory therapy program at Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN combines traditional lecture, competency focused lab, and bedside hospital experience. You will graduate prepared to take a nationally recognized credential exam (NBRC) to earn the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

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  • LSC is my TOP CHOICEfor Respiratory Therapy
    …now that I have returned to teach I realize even more how LSC faculty set the standard for rich engagement with students and I desire to meet and exceed that standard whenever possible – whether it be on campus or in the hospital. Eloisa Fournier
    Alum, Respiratory Therapy
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Career Information

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the MN Dept of Employment & Economic Development, and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to gather valuable career information such as wage reports, career outlook, job prospects, industry trends, and career opportunities. These tools are available to help empower students to make informed decisions about their educational and professional paths.

Below you will find the Career Field and Career Cluster that this program is related to. Learn more about if this career area fits your interests!

Is Health Science right for you?

Health science workers promote health and wellness. They diagnose and treat injuries and disease. As a physician, dentist, or nurse, you could work directly with patients. You could also work in a laboratory to get information used in research or provide administrative support by keeping medical records.

Plan Your Education

The Respiratory Therapy Program Guide is a tool to help you map out how to successfully get your degree at Lake Superior College.

View approximate total tuition and fees for MN residents to complete this degree.

This program may be completed in 2 years if prerequisites are complete.

This program has additional entry requirements.

The Respiratory Therapy Program Application Window is open.

Accepted/Current LSC Students: Apply to the program.

Prospective LSC Students: Learn more about the application process.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Solid understanding of the technical aspects of treating respiratory problems
  • Soft skills needed to work in a professional manner with a wide variety of patients and supervising physicians
  • Clinical training in a variety of areas in one of our regional hospitals


The respiratory therapy AAS degree program, CoARC #200374, at Lake Superior College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

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

Program and Profession Physical Requirements

All respiratory therapy students complete more than 700 hours of bedside care, with most hours in adult general and adult intensive care environments. The student must meet and sustain the physical requirements of the profession during the respiratory therapy program at Lake Superior College. Students are required to prepare and manipulate respiratory equipment, respond quickly, administer medication, perform patient assessment, analyze data, critically think, document, and communicate effectively at each clinical site. The data below has been pulled from O*NET OnLine which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Specific examples are listed in bullet form. Please email the Program Director or Directory of Clinical Education if you have questions.

Ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information such as speech, sound, touch, or other.

  • Perform bedside assessment (heart rate, respiratory rate, breath sounds) and document with interruptions from the patient, medical staff, or other.

Ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds to differentiate variable pitches and loudness.

  • Differentiate normal function and abnormal function/alarms of respiratory therapy equipment from other equipment.

Ability to identify different colors, objects, and people.

  • Medical gas equipment is color coded for safety. Some respiratory equipment is similar but functions very different.

Ability to judge the depth of several objects and to see details in close and distant ranges.

  • Good or corrected vision is required to read bedside monitors and ventilator screen data up close and from a distance.

Ability to concentrate on a task over a period without being distracted.

  • Focus is required to ensure patient safety.

Ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.

  • Perform chest compressions for at least two minutes continuously and manipulating a ventilator on wheels throughout a hospital are two examples.

Ability to stand and walk for extended periods.

  • Respond to emergencies, climb stairs, and cover multiple floor levels.

Ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.

  • Reach over, above, or below a hospital bed or respiratory equipment.

Ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

  • Perform or assist in critical procedures and prepare and use respiratory equipment.

Ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.

  • Manipulate a syringe and needle to draw arterial blood. Assemble a nebulizer, add medication, and switch from one therapy to another.
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