Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory Therapy

Now is the time to pursue a career in healthcare. To get started, enroll at the college, then complete a program application using the instructions on this page. Program applications are currently being accepted by email only. Admissions Specialists are available to help you by phone or by email. Call 704.330.6284 or 704.330.6958 to schedule your personal phone appointment.

What You Will Learn

You have patience and empathy. Respiratory therapists must have strong communication skills — both with patients and their extended healthcare teams. They are great at analyzing data, problem-solving, and focusing on details. Enroll in the Respiratory Therapy program at Central Piedmont and earn an Associate of Applied Science in respiratory therapy.

Respiratory therapists treat people with disorders affecting the cardiopulmonary system, such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, cardiovascular disorders, and trauma. They perform diagnostic testing, treatments, and management of patients with heart and lung diseases. While on the job, the respiratory therapist will assist with preparing care plans for patients with diagnose lung and breathing disorders . They will interview patients, perform patient assessments and analyze tissue specimens. Managing ventilators and artificial airway devices for patients who cannot breathe normally on their own is also a primary responsibility of these professionals. The respiratory therapist plays a prominent role in responding to urgent calls for care throughout hospital.

In the respiratory therapy program at Central Piedmont, you will master skills in patient assessment and treatment of cardiopulmonary diseases. These skills include life support, monitoring, drug administration, and treatment of patients of all ages in a variety of settings. You will become well-versed in cardiopulmonary anatomy and physiology to provide care for patients of all ages within a variety of medical settings. You will practice routine assessments, create patience care plans, detect symptoms, and diagnose infections and diseases in the heart and lungs. You will also study pharmacology to learn treatment options. Through labs, you will use medical technology and equipment to monitor, manage, and assist patients.

The goal of the Central Piedmont respiratory therapy program is 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). We want to provide Mecklenburg County and the nation with respiratory professionals who are:

  • caring and compassionate
  • excellent communicators
  • problem solvers
  • team-oriented

When you finish the program, you will be able to:

  • institute an action plan for the management of Reactive Airway Disease based upon published National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/NIH guidelines
  • assess a patient's clinical presentation and recommend appropriate Volume Expansion Therapy. Using established protocols, indicated therapy will be initiated, and an appropriate plan of care created and adhered to
  • institute mechanical ventilatory support consistent with an individual patient's diagnosis, current history and physical, and arterial blood gas results

You will also be eligible to take the National Board for Respiratory Care certification examination.

The Central Piedmont respiratory therapy program incorporates simulation technology (video) into the curriculum in order to immerse you in “real life” situations. Two classrooms are equipped with lab areas designed to represent hospital wards. An advanced, computerized SimMan® 3G manikin is utilized to provide simulation-based education to challenge and test students' clinical and decision-making skills during realistic patient care scenarios. Students can perform intubations, bag mask ventilations, resuscitation procedures and administer medications. SimMan® 3G can be remotely controlled to enact planned scenarios replicating various clinical events. The simulation experiences can also be video-recorded for later review by instructor and students. Task trainer simulators provide students the opportunity to learn, practice and become comfortable with specific clinical skills in the safety of the simulated environment prior to encountering patients in the clinical setting. Our task trainers include:

  • full-body adult airway management trainer
  • partial-body adult and neonatal airway management trainers
  • pediatric advance life support mannequin
  • NG tube and trach care simulator
  • airway vent simulator
  • arterial blood gas collection training arms
  • breath sounds simulator

Apply now

Why Choose Central Piedmont

Using Central Piedmont's advanced and task trainer simulators, you will learn proper techniques and improve your decision-making skills in an interactive environment. Through repeated skills and scenario training, you will be better prepared to work safely with patients.

Our respiratory therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). We pride ourselves in a competitive, award-winning program; we received the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success award in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Our students create networking opportunities and friendships through the College’s Future Respiratory Therapists Club. With campus locations around Charlotte, students have a variety of clinical practice and employment options in the greater Charlotte region. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the Future Respiratory Therapists student organization.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

What does a Respiratory Therapist Do?

Respiratory Therapist Jobs and Average Salary

Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, home care, respiratory therapy educational programs, medical equipment sales company, respiratory department management in the hospital and as a member of a rescue flight team. 

Career Coach

Respiratory Therapist Degree Course Sequence

The respiratory therapy program requires the completion of 74 credit hours completed full-time in five semesters. The curriculum includes general studies courses as well as program-specific courses. General studies courses can be taken at any time.

Suggested course sequence (PDF)

The Details

  • Program Options

    Earn an associate in applied science in respiratory therapy. The college catalog details the respiratory therapy program options currently available at Central Piedmont as well as program eligibility and course requirements. Students will have the opportunity to matriculate into UNC Charlotte's Bachelor's of Science in respiratory therapy by meeting the following criteria:

    • hold a current unencumbered license as a Registered Respiratory Therapist in North Carolina or in the state of current employment
    • have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better from your associate degree program that is a CoARC accredited associate respiratory therapy program within a regionally accredited institution.
    • earn at least a C in all coursework taken by the end of the semester prior to the semester for which application is made

    If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer respiratory therapy course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Respiratory Therapy Program Requirements

    For detailed information on respiratory therapy course and program requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog.

    Suggested course sequence (PDF)

    Apply now

  • Locations

    Central Campus

    Program courses are offered during the day on weekdays. Clinical rotation hours will vary, but are typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm where courses are available using Schedule Builder.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab/Clinical
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab/Clinical and Online)

    Program courses are offered during the day on weekdays. Clinical rotation hours will vary, but are typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm course delivery methods using Schedule Builder.

  • Career Coach

    Upon program completion, you will be eligible to take the National Board for Respiratory Care certification examination. Once you receive licensure, you can become employed as a respiratory therapist in acute and long-term hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, industry, and home care. Upon graduation from the accredited program, graduates are eligible to sit for the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination (TMC). Graduates must achieve a low cut score for the CRT level and a high cut score to reach Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) level. Once the RRT cut score is achieved on the TMC exam, the graduate is eligible to complete the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE). Passing both examinations provides the graduate with the RRT credential. Other credentialing specialty examinations such as neonatal/pediatric specialty and registered pulmonary function technician are also available.

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Respiratory Therapy Program Costs

    In addition to regular tuition and fees, there are laboratory fees assigned to courses with a lab/clinical component. Additional costs include textbooks, workbooks, medical fees for a physical exam, and drug screening and immunizations.

    Total estimated costs (PDF)

    Respiratory Therapy Scholarships

    In particular, students interested in the respiratory therapy program should consider the following scholarships. Please note that many scholarships are managed by organizations outside of Central Piedmont.

    • Bryan Pigg Scholarship (check with program faculty for more information)
    • Tom Morris Scholarship (check with program faculty for more information)
    • Lambda Beta Society CoARC Stephen P Mikles, EdD, RRT, FAARC Media Award
  • Related Programs

  • Admitted Students: Find Your Faculty Advisor

    Students at Central Piedmont have a faculty advisor for each program of study offered. Find your faculty advisor based on your last name:

    • Jeff Ruiter: last names A–I
    • Charley Starnes: last names J–R
    • Marni Hutchins: last names S–Z

How to Apply

Apply now