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Important Respiratory Care Info

The Respiratory Care program will be undergoing a Comprehensive Program Review, a process whereby the College conducts an in-depth review of the program to ensure its curricula are current with practice and in line with the needs of the community.  

Students currently enrolled in the program will be able to finish, but no new students will be admitted.  

The program will be reviewed due to significant concerns about the declining job market for Respiratory Care Therapists in Central New York. The causes of this declining job market include:  

  • Limited retirements in the field due to the economy  
  • Impact of economic recession – hospitals have implemented hiring freezes  
  • Concerns over Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and health providers  
  • Discussion in the field about requiring a baccalaureate degree for practice (Onondaga’s program is a two-year associate’s degree  
  • Multiple programs in the area – Mohawk Valley CC and Upstate – are more than meeting the need for respiratory care therapists in the area.  

As an alternative, all students who have applied to this program and meet the college’s admission requirements will be admitted to our Humanities program for advising and registration.  

If you have questions and/or would like to discuss your options, please feel free to contact us at 315-498-2202 or 


Breathe in. Breathe out. It seems so natural - but for a large portion of the population, it is a struggle. Lung disease is the fourth leading cause of mortality in the United States. Respiratory Care is an allied health profession dedicated to the care of individuals who suffer with cardiopulmonary diseases. 
Official Program Description >

What You Will Learn:

You will learn to assist in the diagnosis and care of patients with respiratory and cardiac diseases, victims of trauma and infectious disease. You will work with patients of all ages, newborn to geriatric. You will work in a variety of clinical settings, general medical-surgical care to intensive care. The treatments provided by Respiratory Therapists range from simple oxygen therapy and aerosol pharmacology to controlling life support equipment in the intensive care unit.
Curriculum >
Learning Outcomes >

What It Is Like:

This program is rigorous and includes classroom, laboratory and hospital-based clinical study. The program stresses hands-on clinical experience and all classes are taught by registered Respiratory Therapists. All therapists and students must maintain CPR certification. The program is designed to work best as full-time study.
Course Descriptions >

Where It Can Take You:

Your A.A.S. can serve as a foundation for further study to earn a baccalaureate or graduate degree. Graduates are prepared to sit for nationally administered board exams. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) administers entry-level, advanced practitioner and various specialty exams. Your A.A.S. degree from OCC qualifies you to sit for all of these exams. Most states require successful completion of NBRC exams as a basis for state licensure. Other career choices include health care management, education, research and medical sales.
Career Paths >