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Respiratory Therapy

 The mission of the National Park College Respiratory Care Program is to offer a high quality respiratory care education in a learning environment that fosters critical thinking, encourages professional leadership, and instills a strong appreciation of ethical values and human diversity. Utilizing the standards established by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), the established curriculum provides students with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be outstanding patient care providers

The Respiratory Care Program at NPC holds Provisional Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. This status signifies that a program that has been granted an Approval of Intent has demonstrated sufficient compliance to initiate a program in accordance with the standards through the completion and submission of an acceptable Self Study Report (SSR), and other documentation required by the CoARC Board. The conferral of Provisional Accreditation denotes a new program that has made significant progress towards meeting the Standards of Accreditation. The program will remain on Provisional Accreditation until achieving Initial Accreditation. It is recognized by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) toward eligibility to the Respiratory Care Credentialing Examination(s). Enrolled students completing the program under Provisional Accreditation are considered graduates of a CoARC accredited program.

Do you need more information about a career in Respiratory Therapy here at NPC?

Visit the AARC web site to learn more about the Respiratory Therapy profession.

Take the quiz on the AARC web site to see if your talents and interest are a good match for the RT.  Also check out the video "Life and Breathe" video. 

Want more information about the NPC Program:

Respiratory Therapy Admission Application Respiratory therapy applications are accepted beginning March 1st.  Application with all paperwork is to be completed and turned into the Health Sciences Division office by May 1st. Applications may be turned in after this deadline, BUT they will only be considered if seats remain available after the applicant pool from the May 1st deadline are evaluated for admission to the incoming fall class.

The Health Sciences Division secretary and respiratory care faculty are looking forward to assisting you in meeting your career goals!


View the Catalog listing for Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory Care Faculty

Paul Lowe

Paul T. Lowe, RRT, MPH
Program Director at 501-760-4187


Holly Dean

Holly Dean, RRT, BS
Director of Clinical Education at 501-760-4194

What is a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory therapists (RT's), also known as Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCP's) – evaluate, treat and care for patients with breathing problems (chronic asthma, emphysema, etc.) or other cardiopulmonary disorders (cardiac or respiratory arrest, trauma, stroke, or heart attack). RT's work under the supervision of a physician and assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care performing or assisting with all respiratory care procedures, therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures. RT's work primarily in hospitals but have many other opportunities to work outside a hospital setting. In the hospital, they work in all areas from the emergency room, intensive care units, general floor as well as outpatient clinics. they draw and analyze arterial blood to assist in diagnosis and recommend corrective actions when needed. An RT administers oxygen and breathing treatments with aerosol medication to help someone breathe better. They perform CPR and assist in placing a patient on life support (i.e. ventilator) if needed. They do diagnostic testing of pulmonary (lung) functions; perform chest physiotherapy and regularly assess patients and the equipment they are using to ensure proper operation and use. The patients can be any age from a premature infant to an older adult.

How long does it take to become an RT?
An associate degree is the minimal educational requirement to become an RT. Many RT's go on to higher degrees such as a bachelor's or a master's degree. The program of study includes the areas of human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, pharmacology and mathematics. Other courses deal with therapeutic and diagnostic procedures and tests, equipment, patient assessment, CPR; mechanical ventilation; critical care and the application of Clinical Practice Guidelines. It depends on the particular educational program you attend, but most will require 45-55 credit hours in the actual coursework of Respiratory Care – approximately 20 months. You will have to meet prerequisites coursework and other general education required of an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Do I need a Certification or a License?
Yes, you must pass the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) exam for Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). Then you will apply for a license from the state in which you would like to practice with the exception of Alaska which is a non-licensed state. You must maintain a valid CPR certification at all times. You must take the Registered Respiratory Therapy exam (RRT) within three (3) years from graduation or you will need to repeat the CRT need to be able to pass a background check and drug screen prior to being accepted into most RT Programs.

Will I get a job? How much can I earn?
Respiratory Therapists held about 122,000 jobs in 2006. About 79% were in hospitals. Faster-than-average employment growth is projected. Employment of RT's is expected to grow 19% from 2006 to 2016. The demands will increase as our population ages and the role for RTs' expand. A new grads average starting pay in Arkansas is $18.00/hr. Median and annual earnings for RT's were between $40,840 and $56,160/yr. Pay will vary by location, years of experience and additional skills.