Most people take breathing for granted. It’s second nature, an involuntary reflex. But for the thousands who suffer from breathing problems, each breath is a major accomplishment. Those people include patients with chronic lung problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema; heart attack and accident victims; premature infants; and people with cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, and AIDS.

In each case the patient will likely receive treatment from a Respiratory Therapist (RT) under the direction of a physician. RTs work to evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. They are a vital part of a hospital’s lifesaving response team that answers patient emergencies.

While most RTs work in hospitals, an increasing number have branched out into alternative care sites, such as nursing homes, physicians’ offices, home health agencies, specialized care hospitals, medical equipment supply companies, and patients’ homes.

RTs perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, such as:

RTs work collaboratively with other healthcare practitioners. Critical thinking and problem solving skills are mandatory for success in this environment. Strong verbal and written communication skills are necessary when interacting with other members of the multidisciplinary health care team as well as the patients and families. Such a role also requires a broad educational background in English composition, communication, and interpersonal relations. Computer literacy is especially important in today’s health care environment.

The RT Program is a two-year program designed to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and professional attitude necessary for a successful career in RT. Upon completion of the AAS degree in RT, graduates will be prepared to begin a career as an Advanced Practitioner RT. Graduates are eligible to take the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Entry Level and the Advanced Practitioner examinations.

The RT program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

Information about Great Falls College MSU’s Respiratory Therapist Program is posted on the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) web site. You can see information about our program by selecting the interactive map of CoARC program data and then Great Falls from the map. Graduate job placement and credentialing success as well as program attrition data for all CoARC accredited program is also posted at this site. Click on Outcomes data from the Annual Report of Current Status. Programs are listed by state.