About the Respiratory Therapy Program

Respiratory Therapists use cutting edge technology equipment and scientific principles to help diagnose and treat cardiopulmonary disorders including asthma, pneumonia, COPD and immature infant lungs. Santa Monica College’s Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Our Respiratory Therapy Associate Degree program incorporates the latest respiratory equipment, preparing you to meet the National Board for Respiratory Care’s (NBRC) Advanced Practice standards.

Respiratory therapy is an exciting and rewarding career field with diverse job opportunities. Gain hands-on clinical experience at top-rated sites like the Ronald Reagan-UCLA Medical Center, LAC-USC Medical Center, Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center, Keck-USC University Hospital and more. As a Santa Monica College graduate of the Respiratory Therapy program, you become eligible to take the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination (TMC). With a high TMC score, you may also become eligible for the Clinical Simulation Exam. Passing both exams results in the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential required for licensure in California. Santa Monica College’s high board certification pass rates exceed the national average.

Degrees and Certificates

Associate in Science Degree IconAssociate in Science More information on the Associate in Science Degree

Get a foundation in general education, then gain the skills needed to excel in your desired field.

Completion of an Associate degree usually will not satisfy transfer major requirements. Meet with a counselor to develop an academic program best suited for you.

Estimated Timeline:
2+ years, 60 units

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Associate in Science Degree - Respiratory Therapy Associate in Science Degree Icon

77-79 units

The program is a partnership between Santa Monica College (SMC) and East Los Angeles College (ELAC). Graduates earn an Associate degree in Respiratory Therapy. The program allows the graduate to take the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination (TMC) and, by achieving a high cut score on the TMC, become eligible for the Clinical Simulation Exam (CSE); passing both exams awards the graduate the Registered Respiration Therapy (RRT) credential. The RRT credential is required for licensure in the state of California.

PDF FileView Requirements for the Associate in Science Degree - Respiratory Therapy

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Potential Career Options

Click on any job title to learn more.

Job Title Typical Education Median Wage
Respiratory Therapists An Associate Degree $75,670
Respiratory Therapy Technicians An Associate Degree $63,072