Q. What is a Respiratory Therapist?

A Respiratory Therapist, also known in California as a Respiratory Care Practitioner or RCP, is a specialist in the field of cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) care. Respiratory Therapists perform procedures that help to diagnose and treat persons with breathing disorders.Students working in the Human Simulation Lab.

There are more than 125,000 of these specialists currently in the United States. Although most RCPs work in the intensive care units and emergency rooms of hospitals, others practice in alternate care settings such as medical equipment supply companies, home health agencies, physician's offices, extended care facilities and in patients' homes.

Some of the activities that are part of RTs work everyday include performing tests that measure lung function, obtaining arterial blood samples to determine levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide and interpretation of the results, conducting cardiopulmonary stress and exercise tests, and studying disorders of people with disruptive sleep patterns.

Respiratory Therapists also specialize in the operation and maintenance of cardiopulmonary life support systems such as mechanical ventilators for treating adults, children, and premature infants who cannot breathe on their own. They administer medications and oxygen to patients, and conduct rehabilitation activities such as low-impact aerobic exercise classes for persons who suffer from chronic lung problems.

They are also involved in education and prevention; they conduct smoking cessation programs and asthma education classes in the community. Respiratory care practitioners are valued members of the heath care team!

Q. What is the Ohlone/DVC Respiratory Therapist Program?

Ohlone College, located here in Fremont currently has a partnership program with Diablo Valley College (DVC), an excellent community college in Pleasant Hill, 40 miles to the north of Ohlone. This program serves a large area, primarily Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, although a number of graduates also are recruited by hospitals in Santa Clara County as well. It is the only program of this kind in the East San Francisco Bay Area! Graduates of this program are very respected because they have worked very hard to complete the program, and currently they are in demand by local employers.

This program is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs (CAAHEP) through the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (Co-ARC) as an "advanced level" respiratory therapy program preparing graduates to enter the work world as RRTs (Registered Respiratory Therapists). It takes everyone at least two years to complete the respiratory therapist coursework. Graduates then apply for a state license to practice respiratory care from the Respiratory Care Board (RCB) of the Department of Consumer Affairs in Sacramento. Upon completion of the state exam, they receive the Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) credential. They then apply for the Advanced Practitioner's Examination of the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) and upon successful completion are awarded the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

Students working in the Human Simulation Lab.

Q. When can I apply to the program?

You can apply to the program each spring semester any time from March 1 to April 30 each year. (Check specific deadlines by requesting an application in late January of each new year.) It's a good idea to check out the profession thoroughly before you apply and leave plenty of time to take your prerequisite classes - go to See RT Program Application Requirements

Q. What other courses are required to be admitted to the RT Program?

Q. What are my chances of getting in to the program?

At the current time your chances are very good if you have completed at least the prerequisite courses listed, and excellent if you have taken any of the science requirements of the program as well. (Check out the yellow paper called "Respiratory Therapist Curriculum Guide" available from the Counseling Office at Ohlone or the Career Center at DVC for specific courses required in the Program or check the Ohlone College Catalog.)

Q. How long is the program?

The program takes a minimum of two years to complete. Even if you already have a Bachelor's degree or higher, it will still take two years. The courses are sequential and cannot be accelerated, even by those already holding advanced degrees.

Q. Can I be a part-time student?

This program is full-time starting fall 2021. Holding anything other than very part-time work will be difficult due to the demands of Ohlone College's Respiratory Therapist Program.

Q. What grade point average (GPA) is needed?

In order for your Respiratory Therapist Program application to be considered, your overall GPA and your science GPA must be 2.7 or better. Students admitted to the program must receive at least a "C" grade in all courses in the program to remain in good standing.

Q. What are the costs and supplies needed for the program?

 Once admitted to the program, you will need to purchase a hunter green uniform top and pants, nametag, and special RT student arm patch to be sewn on your top. RT Students also need a stethoscope, watch with second hand, calculator, and clear plastic goggles. Also, you will receive a list of lab supplies that you will purchase before you start the program in fall. Click here to view the cost of the program.

Q. Where are the classes for the joint Ohlone/DVC RT Program given?

Depending on the specific semester, classes are held in four locations. All laboratory classes are held on an Ohlone College campus. Some lectures are given in Pleasant Hill during the first year, and all remaining classes are given at DVCs extension site in San Ramon. Clinical classes are given at local hospitals.

The Ohlone/DVC RT Program is affiliated with these hospitals:

  • Alameda County Medical Center, Highland Campus, Oakland
  • Alta Bates Hospital, Berkeley
  • Benioff Children's Hospital, Oakland
  • Eden Hospital, Castro Valley
  • John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek and Concord
  • Kaiser Hospital, Fremont, Oakland, and Vallejo
  • San Jose Medical Center, San Jose
  • San Ramon Regional Medical Center, San Ramon
  • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose
  • Stanford University Medical Center,  Stanford  
  • Summit Medical Center, Oakland
  • Washington Hospital, Fremont

Q. Where can I get more general information?

To learn more about Respiratory Care check out AARC (American Association for Respiratory Care). AARC is the national professional organization for those who work as or are studying to be respiratory therapists.

Top of graduating RT student caps are decorated.
2015 Graduates from Ohlone College's Respiratory Therapist program decorated the top of their caps.