Respiratory Therapy

Program Director: Granger
Medical Director: McArdle

The Respiratory Therapy Program prepares graduates to work in all clinical settings where respiratory therapy services are provided, collaborating with physicians and other health professionals to diagnose and treat patients with disorders associated with the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The SHP program is one of only two baccalaureate respiratory therapy programs in Alabama, and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Students must take and pass the Entry Level Examination administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) and recognition as a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) prior to graduation. Upon graduation of the program the graduate is eligible to apply for the Advanced Practitioner Examination of the NBRC and recognition as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). 

Admission Requirements

Acceptance will be based upon the student’s academic ability and aptitude for a career as a respiratory therapist. Admission is determined by the following criteria:

  • Have a minimum grade of C in each prerequisite course.
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (A=4.0).
  • Complete a personal interview with members of the selection committee.
  • Complete a clinical visit to a respiratory department prior to admission interview (strongly recommended).
  • If accepted, complete the UAB medical history questionnaire and physical, provide proof of required immunizations, and receive satisfactory screening by the UAB Medical Center Student Health Service.
  • If accepted, a background check and drug screening will be required at admission and prior to clinical placement. 

Application Procedure

Application to the professional phase of the program may be made at any time during the year. Applications are considered on a space available basis. Applications will be reviewed and considered for acceptance as they are received. Applicants should submit the following materials:

To the UAB Undergraduate Admissions Office:

To the Respiratory Therapy Program, School of Health Professions:

Contact for additional information:

Program Director
Respiratory Therapy Program
School of Health Professions Building
University of Alabama at Birmingham
1705 University Blvd. Room 443
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1212
Telephone: (205) 934-3783
E-mail: askCDS@uab.edu
Web address: www.uab.edu/rt

 

 Major Requirements for Respiratory Therapy

RequirementsHours
Grade and Residency Requirement
A 2.5 GPA overall and in the math/science prerequisites is required for this major. All courses must be completed with a grade of C or better
Required Mathematics
Required Courses
MA 106Pre-Calculus Trigonometry3
RST 311Principles of Patient Assessment4
RST 312Basic Respiratory Care Procedures4
RST 313Basic Respiratory Care Procedures Laboratory3
RST 314Respiratory Care Pharmacology3
RST 321Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care I4
RST 322Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology3
RST 323Airway Management2
RST 324Pulmonary Pathology2
RST 325Directed Study in Respiratory Care I1
RST 326Airway Management and Advanced Procedures Laboratory2
RST 331Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care II4
RST 332Mechanical Ventilation4
RST 333Mechanical Ventilation Laboratory3
RST 334Critical Care Monitoring2
RST 411Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care III3-4
RST 412Advanced Mechanical Ventilation4
RST 413Special Procedures and Pulmonary Function Testing3
RST 414Special Procedures Laboratory2
RST 415Directed Study in Respiratory Care II2
RST 421Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care IV3-4
RST 422Long Term and Preventative Care2
RST 423Perinatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care3
RST 424Long Term and Pediatric Laboratory1
RST 425Laboratory Proficiency Practice2
RST 426CRT Exam Review1
RST 427Review of Critical Care Concepts1
RST 431Clinical Internship6
RST 432Directed Study in Respiratory Care III2
MT 400Health and Safety Management1
Respiratory Therapy Electives
Select one of the following based on career goals:4
Research for Respiratory Therapists
Asthma Certification Preparation Course
Educational Methods in Respiratory Care
Total Hours84-86

 

 

Typical Program - Professional Phase

First Year
First TermHoursSecond TermHoursSummer TermHours
RST 3114RST 3214RST 3314
RST 3124RST 3223RST 3324
RST 3133RST 3232RST 3333
RST 3143RST 3242RST 3342
MT 4001RST 3251 
 RST 3262 
 15 14 13
Second Year
First TermHoursSecond TermHoursSummer TermHours
RST 4113-4RST 4213,4RST 4316
RST 4124RST 4222RST 4322
RST 4133RST 4233Select one of the following based on career goals: 
RST 4142RST 4241RST 4404
RST 4152RST 4252RST 4454
 RST 4261RST 4334
 RST 4271 
 14-15 13-14 20
Total credit hours: 89-91

 

Four Year Plan for Major in Respiratory Therapy 

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHoursSummer TermHours
EH 1013EH 1023BY 2614
CH 105
  & CH 106
4CH 107
  & CH 108
4Core Curriculum Area II or IV: Literature or History13
MA 1053MA 180 or PY 2143 
SOC 1003Core Curriculum Area II or IV: Literature or History13 
HRP 1013  
 16 13 7
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHoursSummer TermHours
BY 1154PHS 1014BY 123 or 2163-4
PY 1013BY 1164 
Core Curriculum Area II or IV: Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science Elective3CMST 1013 
Core Curriculum Area II or IV: Literature or History13Core Curriculum Area II: Fine Arts Elective3 
 13 14 3-4
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHoursSummer TermHours
RST 3114RST 3214RST 3314
RST 3124RST 3223RST 3324
RST 3133RST 3232RST 3333
RST 3143RST 3242RST 3342
MT 4001RST 3251 
 RST 3262 
 15 14 13
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHoursSummer TermHours
RST 4113-4RST 4213,4RST 4316
RST 4124RST 4222RST 4322
RST 4133RST 4233Respiratory Therapy Elective24
RST 4142RST 4241 
RST 4152RST 4252 
 RST 4261 
 RST 4271 
 14-15 13-14 12
Total credit hours: 147-150

1

A six hour sequence in either literature or history is required; if a second literature is chosen, it will apply as 3 of the elective hours in Core Curriculum Area II: Humanities and Fine Art; if a second history is chosen it will apply as 3 of the elctive hours in Core Curriculum Area IV: Social and Behavioral Science.

2

Select from the following courses based on career goals: RST 440 Asthma Certification Preparation Course, RST 445 Educational Methods in Respiratory Care or RST 433 Research for Respiratory Therapists.


Courses

RST 311. Principles of Patient Assessment. 4 Hours.

Patient care procedures, physical assessment, laboratory assessment, communication skills and charting, and patient care issues. Ethics, professionalism, and civic responsibility in Respiratory Care. Admission to the Respiratory Therapy program or permission of instructor required. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP).

RST 312. Basic Respiratory Care Procedures. 4 Hours.

Review of physical concepts and laws governing fluids; composition and percentages of atmospheric gases. Principles, operations, maintenance, and identifying characteristics of primary gas systems. Rationale, indications, contraindications, hazards, and maintenance of common Medical Gas delivery systems. Humidity and humidifiers; aerosol and nebulizers; administration of aerosolized solutions; gas analysis and analyzers. Incentive spirometry, IPPB, and other hyperinflation techniques. Advanced oxygen and aerosol therapy, bedside patient assessment, postural drainage, and vibropercussion.

RST 313. Basic Respiratory Care Procedures Laboratory. 3 Hours.

Laboratory practice of respiratory care procedures included in RST 311 and RST 312; reinforcement of material covered in RST 314 by using hands-on Instruction and evaluation of the student's psychomotor skills. Also involves audiovisual programs and computer assisted instruction.

RST 314. Respiratory Care Pharmacology. 3 Hours.

Legal aspects, terminology, use of pharmacology references, routes of administration, solutions and dosages, pharmacodynamics, autonomic nervous system, alpha and beta receptors, bronchodilators, mucolytics, respiratory stimulants, neuromuscular blocking agents, expectorants, cough and cold medications, steroids, cromolyn sodium and anti-infective agents.

RST 321. Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care I. 4 Hours.

Practical application of respiratory care performed under supervision at clinical sites and proficiency evaluations of selected respiratory care procedures.

RST 322. Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology. 3 Hours.

Structure of airways, lung parenchyma, chest wall, pulmonary and systemic circulations, diaphragm, heart, and kidneys. Physiology of pulmonary blood flow, ventilation, gas diffusion, gas transport, ventilation/perfusion relationships, control of ventilation, hemodynamics, pressure and flow relationships, arterial blood gases and acid-base balance, electrical properties of heart, contractile properties of heart, cardiac output, regulation of arterial blood pressure,and renal physiology.

RST 323. Airway Management. 2 Hours.

Selection, application, maintenance, and discontinuance of various artificial airways, including intubation, extubation, tracheostomy care, and suctioning.

RST 324. Pulmonary Pathology. 2 Hours.

Diseases affecting the respiratory system, genetics and genetic diesases of the respiratory system, including symptoms, signs, laboratory tests, etiology, and treatment; emphasis on diseases commonly encountered by practicing respiratory therapists.

RST 325. Directed Study in Respiratory Care I. 1 Hour.

Study of conditions and therapeutic measures frequently confronting respiratory care practitioners; student case study presentations and discussions. The Student will also submit an article to the Focus Journal (Magazine) on a Respiratory Therapy topic as part of the course assessment. Writing is a significant component of this course (QEP).

RST 326. Airway Management and Advanced Procedures Laboratory. 2 Hours.

Laboratory practice of respiratory care procedures and reinforcement of material covered in RST 312, RST 322, RST 323 and RST 324 by using hands-on Instruction and evaluation of the student's psychomotor skills.

RST 331. Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care II. 4 Hours.

Clinical refinements of concepts and procedures in cardiopulmonary care with emphasis on advanced procedures in adult and pediatric care.

RST 332. Mechanical Ventilation. 4 Hours.

Basic physics and mechanics of artificial ventilation; theory and practical application of manual resuscitators and mechanical ventilators; ventilator classification and general operational characteristics.

RST 333. Mechanical Ventilation Laboratory. 3 Hours.

Laboratory practice of mechanical ventilation procedures and reinforcement of material covered in RST 332.

RST 334. Critical Care Monitoring. 2 Hours.

Assembly and operation of hemodynamic monitoring systems, safety precautions, quality control, and troubleshooting of equipment; measurement, interpretation, and application of hemodynamic parameters.

RST 411. Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care III. 3-4 Hours.

Clinical refinement of concepts and procedures in cardiopulmonary care with emphasis on special procedures; pulmonary rehabilitation; and home respiratory care, diagnostic testing, and advanced adult, pediatric, and neonatal critical care procedures and functions.

RST 412. Advanced Mechanical Ventilation. 4 Hours.

Advanced mechanical ventilation techniques, including advanced concepts in adult and neonatal mechanical ventilators, transport, and homecare; overview of advanced mechanical ventilation techniques, such as liquid ventilation.

RST 413. Special Procedures and Pulmonary Function Testing. 3 Hours.

Pulmonary function testing procedures including equipment, spirometric measurement of pulmonary function, lung volume measurements, pulmonary mechanics tests, gas distribution studies, lung diffusion studies, exercise testing, bronchial provocation testing, interpretation and application of test results, and case studies. Assistant functions in tracheostomy and thoracostomy tube insertion, bronchoscopy, thoracentesis, tracheotomy, and pulmonary artery catheterization; insertion of arterial cannulae; and introduction to neurodiagnostic procedures and sleep studies.

RST 414. Special Procedures Laboratory. 2 Hours.

Laboratory practice in respiratory care practitioner's role in fiberoptic bronchoscopy, thoracentesis, tracheotomy, arterial cannulation, transtracheal catheter placement, and sleep studies; laboratory practice of basic pulmonary function procedures.

RST 415. Directed Study in Respiratory Care II. 2 Hours.

Study of bedside calculations frequently confronting respiratory care practitioner; student discussion and demonstration of data interpretation including graphic representation of the data. Student demonstrates ability to use calculated bedside data in clinical problem-solving and ability to change therapy based conclusions. Quantitative Literacy is a significant component of this course (QEP).

RST 421. Clinical Practicum in Respiratory Care IV. 3,4 Hours.

Continuation of previous clinical practice with further refinement of concepts and procedures in cardiopulmonary care with emphasis on special procedures, pulmonary function testing, pulmonary rehabilitation, home care therapy, diagnostic testing, hemodyanmic monitoring, advanced mechanical ventilation procedures.

RST 422. Long Term and Preventative Care. 2 Hours.

Components of rehabilitation programs, patient education and motivation, home care concepts, reimbursement, gerontology, specialized home care procedures, and preventive care procedures. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP).

RST 423. Perinatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care. 3 Hours.

Anatomy, physiology, embryonic development of human fetus, with emphasis on embryonic lung development; transition from fetal to extra-uterine life;prenatal and perinatal history. Etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, radiologic assessment and management of neonatal and pediatric lung diseases. Obstructive airway diseases in infants and children. Congenital heart diseases; sudden infant death syndrom and apnea disorders; Reye s Syndrome and other eurologic/neuromuscular disorders.

RST 424. Long Term and Pediatric Laboratory. 1 Hour.

Laboratory practice of respiratory care procedures and reinforcement of material covered in Long Term and Preventative care and Pediatrics.

RST 425. Laboratory Proficiency Practice. 2 Hours.

Laboratory course designed to give senior student chance to practice all of laboratory proficiencies taught throughout curriculum prior to taking Laboratory Proficiency Exit Examination.

RST 426. CRT Exam Review. 1 Hour.

Review of all respiratory therapy topics covered on CRT Entry Level exam that student must take before graduation.

RST 427. Review of Critical Care Concepts. 1 Hour.

Concepts involved in care of critically ill patients, including hemodynamic monitoring, fluid and electrolyte studies, metabolic studies, and mechanical ventilation concepts. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP).

RST 431. Clinical Internship. 6 Hours.

Final clinical experience before graduation; student will choose specialization area, such as neonatal, adult critical care, pediatrics, and pulmonary function.

RST 432. Directed Study in Respiratory Care III. 2 Hours.

Study of conditions and therapeutic measures frequently confronting respiratory care practitioner; student case study presentations and discussions. Submission of an original Review of the Literature Paper for Publication in the Respiratory Care Journals. Prerequisite: Admission to RST Program. Writing is a significant component of this course (QEP).

RST 433. Research for Respiratory Therapists. 4 Hours.

This course will introduce the student to clinical research methods and review concepts involved in descriptive and inferential Statistics. Topics covered include, overview of the research process, literataure review, research hypothesis, research designs, sample selection, measurement methods, descriptive statistics, and inferential statistics.

RST 440. Asthma Certification Preparation Course. 4 Hours.

The content of this course will cover the asthma condition, pathophysiology of asthma, factors that contribute to acute and chronic asthma, patient history, physical examination of the asthma patient, objective measures to identify and assess asthma severity, how to assess the patient'sperformance and asthma protocols.

RST 445. Educational Methods in Respiratory Care. 4 Hours.

This course will introduce the student to patient education and health promotion. Topics covered will include how to write learning objectives, how to evaluate patient education, how to prepare and present a topic for an inservice presentation, how to present a lecture in a classroom and in the laboratory environment along with patient teaching.

RST 460. Polysomnographic Technology I. 2 Hours.

Course designed to provide entry-level didatic and laboratory training in polysomnographic technology basics.topics covered: medical terminology, instrumentation setup and calibration,recording and monitoring techniques, documentation, professional issues, and patient-technologist interactions related to polysomnographic technology. Laboratory sessions teach entry-levl polysomnographic technologist skills.

RST 461. Polysomnographic Technology Clinical I. 2 Hours.

Course provides student with patient contact in sleep lab. Student will observe, perform (under supervision),and evaluate entry-level aspects of sleep studies.

RST 462. Polysomngraphy Technology II. 2 Hours.

Advanced topic in lecture and laboratory on techniques used in the Polysomnography clincial setting. This includes calibration, recording and scoring of sleep study data. Patient disease states coimmonly diagnosed in the sleep laboratory.

RST 463. Polysomnographic Technology Clinical II. 2 Hours.

This course provides the student with advanced patient contact in serveral local Sleep Laboratory Centers. The student will observe perform (under supervision), and evaluate advanced aspects of sleep analysis.

Faculty

Granger, Wesley M., Associate Professor and Program Director, Respiratory Therapy Program, 1996, Ph.D. (Medical College of Georgia)
Hutson, Susan Perkins, Associate Professor Emeritus, Respiratory Therapy Program, 1976, M.A.E. (UAB)
King, Jerry, Assistant Professor, Respiratory Therapy Program, 2008, M.S. (UAB)
Laken, Debra E., Associate Professor, Respiratory Therapy Program, 1999, M.A.E. (UAB)
Waugh, Jonathan B., Associate Professor, Respiratory Therapy Program, 1999, Ph.D. (Ohio State)