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     Respiratory Care


The Role of the Respiratory Care Practitioner

Most people take breathing for granted. It's second nature, an involuntary reflex. But for the thousands of Americans who suffer from breathing problems, each breath is a major accomplishment. Those people include patients with chronic lung problems, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, but they also include heart attack and accident victims; premature infants; and people with cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or AIDS.

There are more than 100,000 respiratory care practitioners in the U.S. They are members of the health care team that provide respiratory care for patients with heart and lung disorders. Typically, respiratory care practitioners are a vital part of the hospital's lifesaving response team that answers patient emergencies.

While most respiratory care practitioners work in hospitals, an increasing number of them have branched out into alternate care settings, such as nursing homes, physicians' offices, home health agencies, specialized care hospitals, medical equipment supply companies and patients' homes.

Respiratory Care Practitioners perform procedures that are both diagnostic and therapeutic.

View a video about the Respiratory Care profession here.

Mission Statement

The Hillsborough Community College Respiratory Care Program will graduated competent and professional entry-level registry eligible therapists as defined by the AARC who can

  • Think critically
  • Be proactive and espouse in the advocacy of patients
  • Be professional in the workplace
  • Be effective in verbal and written communication.


Program Goal

To provide the student with the knowledge, skill, and professional attitude which will allow them to function as a competent and compassionate registered respiratory therapist in both the traditional and non-traditional setting.


The Outlook

The need for Respiratory Care Professionals is expected to grow in the coming years due to the large increase in the ederly population; the impact of environmental problems that have already contributed to the yearly rise in the number of reported asthma cases; and technological advances in the treatment of heart attack, cancer, accident victims and premature babies.

Counselor’s Corner


Are there secrets to getting into the limited access Health Sciences Programs? The answer is No.

Planning ahead, giving extra attention to detail and good grades are the three things that you can do to influence the Admissions Committee. The Committee will only review applicants who have submitted complete applications on or before the deadline and when there are more applicants than open slots, the Committee will rank applicants based on grade point average achieved in the required prerequisite courses or overall grade point average, if there are no prerequisites or if two or more students have the same prerequisite grade point average.

Admission into many of these programs is very competitive.


Planning tips for a prospective student for one of the health science programs include:

Health sciences programs have deadlines. If your application is late or if any part of your required paperwork is missing, then you will not be considered for the program.

⌂ Many of the programs require you to complete certain prerequisite classes prior to applying for admissions. This means that you cannot be enrolled in the course during the term that you apply.

⌂ You must have certain scores on a placement test in order to take the prerequisite classes. Before taking any test, you should prepare for it by studying and getting a good night’s sleep.

⌂ If you have concerns or questions, contact an academic advisor at HCC.


To be sure that you do everything you can to get accepted into the program of your choice, you should:

Make sure that you meet all the requirements by the deadline.

Know how your grade point will be calculated. Your grade point will be based on your grades in the prerequisite courses; unless two or more applicants have the same grade point average. In that case, the overall grade point average will be used. You will be assessed a penalty for enrolling in a prerequisite course more than twice. Withdrawals from a course will be counted as an enrollment.

The Admissions Committee will eliminate any applicant whose application is incomplete. Then, qualified applicants are ranked in grade point order. Selection is made based on the number of open slots in the program. There is an appeal process. If you feel there was an error made, use the appeal process to ensure that your complaint is heard and your situation reviewed.


Gina Ricard, MS, RRT-NPS
Program Manager
Respiratory Care Program
(813) 253-7459

This page last updated May 11, 2015 eab

Please report any problems with this page to Eugene Broda gbroda@hccfl.edu