Respiratory Care

Breath is life. Respiratory therapists provide critical care for patients who have problems with breathing, from premature infants with underdeveloped lungs, to adults and seniors with lung disease or illnesses. If your goal is to serve others in a clinical setting as a vital part of a health care team, consider earning your degree in Respiratory Care through OCC Career Advantage. We offer a two-year Associate of Science degree program that is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (Coarc). Respiratory therapy is an important, growing field in health care, and respiratory therapists are in demand and earn good wages. Read on to learn more.

A sampling of courses for these careers

Basic Microbiology
Patient Care
Respiratory Pharmacology

Human Diseases
Polysomnography Basics
Pulmonary Pathology

Did you know?

Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Program Details

Earn an associate degree, and you’ll be well-prepared to enter a career in respiratory care.

See Evening, Weekend and Online Courses

In less than 2 years
you can earn:
Certificate of Achievement

Build on your certificate
of achievement with a:
Certificate of Specialization

Or earn your
associate degree
in under 4 years

Prepare for a career as a respiratory care practitioner, gaining the knowledge and skills you need by completing approximately 1,000 clinical hours, attending lectures and practicing your skills in a state-of-the-art lab. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, and upon completing the program, you will become eligible for California licensure, certification and registry credentialing by the National Board for Respiratory Care. View program detail in course catalog.

If you are a Respiratory Care graduate looking to cross-train as a polysomnographic technologist, this program is for you. Upon completing the cross-training courses, you will earn an additional Associate in Science in Polysomnography. View program detail in course catalog.


To enroll in a Career Advantage program, you must first apply for admission to Orange Coast College. To apply, go to the Admissions Application Information webpage and review the information and requirements for admission. A link at the bottom of that page will take you to the CCCApply website, where you will be prompted to create an account so you can begin the application process.

Classes cost $46 per unit for residents of California. Classes vary in their unit value, but an average 3-unit class costs $138. There are additional fees required to register and additional costs associated with each program. Click here to view the estimated total costs of the program in this career cluster.

View this chart for the length of the core program.

This program offers courses on evenings and weekends. For details about offerings in this program, speak to a counselor or consult the class schedule. The class schedule tool searches through all Orange Coast College course offerings and includes a filter for online classes.

You can make an appointment in person, online or by phone.  Click here for more information about Counseling Services and how to make an appointment.

For general questions about enrollment, availability of classes and other services for prospective and current OCC students, call The Answer Center at 714-432-5772. For answers to specific questions you can speak to a counselor or to the faculty member listed on this program page.

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Did you know?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who have a certificate as
their highest level of education earned, on average, 20 percent more than
those whose highest education level is a high school diploma.

Our Team

Christina Anchondo, 

CTE Outreach Specialist

Katie Ottoson

Katie Ottoson, M.S.

Counselor, CTE and
Career Services

Caryn Plum

Caryn Plum

Counselor, Allied Health Careers

Find Out

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