This curriculum prepares students as advanced practitioners in respiratory care technology. Students learn diagnostic and therapeutic procedures applicable to pulmonary care. Therapeutic procedures include use and administration of oxygen and other medical gases, aerosolization of drugs for inhalation, set up and maintenance of mechanical ventilators (to assist or control ventilation), performance of chest physical therapy maneuvers and certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Respiratory care personnel perform diagnostic procedures such as pulmonary function studies and arterial blood gas analysis, and are involved in rehabilitation of the patient with cardiopulmonary abnormalities. The Respiratory Care Technology program is a 22-consecutive-month associate’s degree program that is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. The program's graduates are eligible to sit for all credentialing examinations administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care, including the entry-level examination, the written registry and clinical simulation examinations and specialty exams in pulmonary function technology and neonatal/pediatric respiratory care. In addition, graduates are eligible for Pennsylvania state licensure, a requirement for practicing in the state, and licensure in all states. Students will also become student members of the American Association for Respiratory Care.
In addition to classroom and laboratory program components, clinical experience at selected area hospitals and health care facilities is required. The clinical phase requires the student to be in the hospital approximately eight hours per day, up to five days per week, starting as early as 7 a.m. As a prerequisite to the clinical phase of the program, students must provide evidence of personal medical insurance, certification in all CPR techniques and the results of complete physical examination. Laboratory test results will include a complete blood count, serology and urinalysis. A tuberculosis skin test is also required and, if indicated, a chest X-ray may be necessary. In addition, recent immunization documentation must be provided for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and Hepatitis B. A second complete physical exam is required prior to beginning the second year of the program. Health problems that might interfere with the ability to meet stated program objectives will be considered on an individual basis.