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Respiratory Therapy - Admission Criteria

Admissions Criteria

The program has a limited enrollment and only admits a class in the fall of each year. Applications must be completed and submitted and supporting documents must be received no later than April 1 of the same year. If all slots have not been filled after the above deadline, there may be extensions to the deadline. Please check with the Admissions Office about the status of the program.

PHASE I - To be completed by April 1

The applicant must:

  1. If you are not currently enrolled at SCC, complete an application to the college. Designate Respiratory Therapy AAS Degree (A45720) as the program of interest. If you are a current student, see Admissions to complete a change of major form if you wish to apply to this program..
  2. Be a high school graduate or have earned a high school equivalency diploma (GED). Exception: high school seniors may apply.
  3. Submit official copies of all transcripts (high school and college). Transcripts must be sent directly from the institution. It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that all necessary records are sent to the College Admissions Office: Southwestern Community College | 447 College Drive | ATTN: Registrar's Office | Sylva, NC 28779
  4. Have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale of the most recent academic transcript (high school or postsecondary).
  5. Demonstrate college-readiness in both English and Math based on the RISE Placement Test policy. College-readiness can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

    a. An unweighted high school GPA of 2.2 or higher from a United States high school.

    b. Successful completion of the RISE Placement Test (English and Math). Applicants must achieve a passing score on at least the first tier of the English and Math placement tests. 

    c. Successful completion of Transition English and Transition Math courses with a grade of at least "P1".

    d. Completion of college-level English and Math courses with a grade of "C" or higher at SCC or another regionally accredited institution.

    e. Satisfactory scores on the SAT or ACT (see the Testing section for more details).

    f. Satisfactory scores on a high school equivalency diploma (GED or HiSET) taken in 2014 or later (see the Testing section for more details).

  6. Complete a minimum of 4 hours of observation time in Respiratory Therapy at a health care facility, sleep lab, PFT lab, or home care company. A form for documenting is available from the program advisor. It is the prospective students responsibility to obtain necessary documentation of attendance and return to the admissions office. It is the student's responsibility to schedule your observation visits. If you have questions about possible sites, please ask your program advisor. 
  7. Take the ATI-TEAS Version 7 Exam. Applicants may take the exam twice per academic year (August 1-July 31). A minimum score of 50 is required. There must be a minimum of 30 days between exams. Exam scores are valid for three years from the date of the exam. The previous version of the exam (ATI-TEAS Version 6) is acceptable as long as it was completed within three years prior to the program deadline. Refer to the Testing section for more information.
  8. Complete ACA  111 (or equivalent course) with a grade of "C" or better by the end of the summer term prior to entering the program. Applicants who have completed at least 12 credit hours of college-level work at a regionally accredited institution will receive an ACA waiver.
  9. Applicants must be able to meet all essential functions required to complete the Respiratory Therapy Program and become employable. These essential functions are provided to help students assess the appropriateness of this career individually. A prospective student with a disability that is concerned the disability may impact his or her ability to perform one or more of these skills, provide patient care, or participate in other job activities, is encouraged to contact our Student Disability Services Coordinator at 828.339.4326.
    • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Critical thinking and problem solving ability sufficient for clinical judgement. 
    • Interpersonal Skills: Ability to interact with individuals, families, and groups successfully from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.
    • Communication: Communication skills sufficient for acceptable written, verbal and non-verbal skills to communicate with individuals, families and groups. 
    • Mobility and Strength: Physical mobility and strength sufficient to move through the clinical setting, to move patients and equipment, to use one's body for treatment without the use of equipment, and to ensure patient safety during treatment.
    • Motor Skills: Gross and fine motor abilities/coordination to provide safe and effective treatment.
    • Hearing: Auditory acuity sufficient to monitor and treat patients and to monitor safety warning signals on equipment.
    • Visual Acuity: Visual acuity sufficient to monitor and treat patients and to monitor safety warning signals on equipment.
    • Tactile Skills: Tactile skills sufficient to monitor and treat patients and to perform measurements.
    • Emotional: Must possess emotional stability sufficient to maintain composure in stressful situations.


Applicants will be chosen based on a points system. There are 20 seats available. To better understand the points system, please contact the program coordinator.

Those individuals who are notified of acceptance status will be provided with SCC health forms to be completed by the appropriate medical personnel. The completed medical forms must indicate that you are capable of meeting physical requirements for the program. The deadline for submitting the completed forms to the program coordinator is Aug. 1.


The conditionally accepted applicants must sign and return the Acknowledgement of Acceptance form from their welcome packet to the admissions office as soon as possible within the identified timeline. Any student whose Acknowledgement of Acceptance form is not returned in a timely manner may forfeit the seat in the program. All conditionally accepted candidates should return the health forms at a scheduled orientation session during the summer or at least by Aug.1. The RT orientation is usually held in July, but you will be notified via the program coordinator after May 1st when the orientation date is scheduled. Students will be provided with information on the following at orientation: Registering with Castlebranch and submitting required personal information, immunization records and drug tests to be accessed by clinical sites.

Student will be provided with information on CPR certification and insurance.


  1. Applicants are responsible for submitting all the necessary records to the Registrar's Office.
  2. Applications must be updated annually by applicants who were not accepted the previous year.
  3. Applicants may take non-respiratory care, general education and related coursework prior to being accepted into the program.
  4. All students admitted into a health science program will be required to submit to a criminal background check and/or drug testing, prior to, enrollment each academic year at their own expense. The results of these tests could affect the student’s ability to progress in the program.
  5. All students completing a health science program may be required, by an external testing agency, to submit to a criminal background check and/or drug test prior to a state or national licensing/certification board approving the graduate to sit for licensure/certification exams.


Clinical Education:

Clinical education will be provided at cooperating health care facilities and other related settings. Many of these sites may require the student to relocate or travel extensively for this part of the program. All expenses are the student's responsibility.

Academic Standards:

The program requires that students maintain a high level of academic and clinical performance in accordance with program policies. Failure to meet these standards will prevent normal progression through the program. 

Upon completion of the program graduates will be eligible to take the national exams and may apply for a state license to practice.


The Respiratory Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for the Respiratory Care (CoARC). CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an 'outcomes based' process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented. CoARC address: 264 Precision Blvd. | Telford, TN 37690   Phone: 817.283.2835

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