Undergrad Catalog

Respiratory Care (RESP)

Program Options: B.A., B.S.

The respiratory care major prepares you for advanced level practice as a respiratory therapist. As members of an interdisciplinary healthcare team, respiratory therapists evaluate, treat and manage patients of all ages with respiratory illnesses and other cardiopulmonary disorders. In addition to performing therapeutic and diagnostic procedures, respiratory therapists promote cardiopulmonary wellness, disease prevention and management; provide patient, family and community education; participate in life-support activities and are involved in clinical decision-making. Upon graduation respiratory therapists are primarily employed in acute care hospitals.

St. Catherine University is one of the few institutions in the Upper Midwest to offer an undergraduate degree in the field of respiratory care. The program is open to women who want to complete a baccalaureate degree with a major in respiratory care. The major is offered in six consecutive semesters and one summer session for day students. Curricular options are available if you are pursuing a second major certificate or transferring undergraduate credits. The respiratory care major is also available to students matriculating in other Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC). As a respiratory care major, you receive individualized advising to facilitate your timely completion of your professional and liberal arts and science courses.

The respiratory care curriculum integrates the respiratory care courses with a liberal arts and science background to provide you with a well-balanced depth of knowledge. This diverse foundation will prepare you to function as a competent professional in your daily interactions with clients in various healthcare settings. You will learn the essential knowledge and skills required of the respiratory care practitioner in courses such as the following:

  • Respiratory Patient Care and Assessment
  • Respiratory Therapeutics
  • Principles of Ventilation
  • Pathophysiology in Respiratory Care
  • Respiratory Care Clinical Applications
  • Critical Care Techniques
  • Respiratory Care Clinical Specialty

Our faculty are highly qualified and utilize various teaching methodologies in presenting course content. The emphasis of faculty expertise is in the areas of critical care, biomedical ethics, pulmonary diagnostics and administration. Respiratory care faculty members are active in medical and community settings and in national professional organizations.

With approximately 900 hours of clinical experiences in critical care, newborn and pediatric intensive care, home care, pulmonary diagnostics and rehabilitation, you will actively collaborate with faculty and clinicians to develop respiratory care skills, critical thinking and professional communication. The program utilizes a preceptor model for teaching and many of the clinical experiences feature one-to-one student-to-preceptor ratios. Clinical practicum are scheduled at several nationally renowned metropolitan healthcare facilities, including Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Children's Hospitals and Clinics, University of Minnesota Medical Center, Hennepin County Medical Center, Methodist Hospital and North Memorial Medical Center.

As a graduate with a St. Kate's respiratory care major, you will be prepared to provide excellent patient care, influence the quality of healthcare services in diverse practice settings, promote cardiopulmonary health, and assume leadership positions in the profession. Graduates are eligible to take the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) credentialing exams. Upon completion of the NBRC entry-level exam you will be awarded the CRT (certified respiratory therapist) credential. This allows you to apply to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice to work as a licensed respiratory therapist in the state of Minnesota. Upon successful completion of the NBRC registry exam, you are awarded the RRT (registered respiratory therapist) credential, signifying advanced professional achievement.

The respiratory care program is accredited as an advanced level practice program by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. 

The Respiratory Care Department requires that you apply to enter the respiratory care major. Applications to the major are accepted between September 15th and April 15th prior to the fall semester when you plan to begin the RESP course sequence. Applications to the major are available online: .

Admission to the respiratory care major is contingent upon completion of at least 30 college credits, completing the prerequisite courses at the designated levels of success (C or above/and no prerequisite courses may be taken S/U) and the availability of space. Students who have been St. Kate's students since the beginning of their college experience are given first access to available seats in the program. Late applications to enter the respiratory care major will be considered on an individual and space available basis. Contact the program chair for information.

Major Requirements:

Required courses (minimum grade of C required):
RESP 2100 Introduction to Respiratory Care
RESP 2200 Respiratory Therapeutics
RESP 3100 Principles of Ventilation
RESP 3110 Clinical Applications I (2 cr)
RESP 3120 Pathophysiology in Respiratory Care I (2 cr)
RESP 3200 Advanced Therapeutics
RESP 3210 Clinical Applications II
RESP 3220 Pathophysiology in Respiratory Care II (2 cr)
RESP 3310 Clinical Applications III (6 cr)
RESP 4100 Advanced Critical Care
RESP 4110 Clinical Specialty I (2 cr) [or RESP 4210 Clinical Specialty II (2 cr)] (It is recommended that students take both)
RESP 4200 Senior Seminar (2 cr)

Prerequisite courses (minimum grade of C required):
CHEM 1010 General Chemistry for Health Sciences (or CHEM 1110 and 1120 General Chemistry I and II - recommended)
MATH 1050 Mathematical Ideas in Contemporary Society (or MATH 1080, PSYC 2050, ECON 2250 - Statistical Analysis - recommended)
PSYC 1001 General Psychology with Lab
SOCI 1000 Principles and Concepts of Sociology

Required supporting courses (minimum grade of C required):
BIOL 2200 Introduction to Microbiology (or BIOL 2450 Applied Microbiology)
BIOL 2510 Human Anatomy
BIOL 2520 Human Physiology
INDI 1150 Basic Patient Care (2 cr)
INDI 1160 Respiratory Patient Care and Assessment Skills (2 cr)
INDI 3150 Pharmacology for the Healthcare Professional
PHIL 3400 Biomedical Ethics

The required supporting courses may be completed prior to beginning the respiratory care major or during the completion of course work in the major. The timely completion of these supporting courses is required for progression in the respiratory care major.

Respiratory care majors satisfy the Writing Requirement for Majors by completing RESP 3200 and 4200. You complete the Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Writing Requirement with two other writing-intensive courses (CORE 1000 or 2000, CORE 3990).

Second Major Certificate in Respiratory Care  

Students who have received a baccalaureate degree from St. Catherine University or another regionally accredited institution may pursue a second major at St. Catherine. To be awarded the second major (post-baccalaureate) certificate, you must complete all of the requirements for the major, including required supporting courses.  A minimum of one-half of the courses in the major must be completed in residence.  The residency requirement of 48 out of the last 64 credits does not apply to second major certificate students.

Federal Gainful Employment Disclosure Requirement for Certificates

Federal regulations require that all institutions disclose certain information and statistics regarding non-degree, certificate programs.  Click here for the data provided by St. Kate's.