Respiratory Care (Traditional) — B.S.

Program director
Richard D. Nelson

Director of clinical education
Abdullah K. Alismail 

Medical director
N. Lennard Specht

Loma Linda University offers two Bachelor of Science degree curricula in respiratory care (respiratory care therapy). The traditional curriculum is for students who have had no previous education in respiratory care and who have completed the program prerequisites. The post-professional B.S. degree curriculum is for students who have an Associate in Science degree in respiratory care from a Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)-accredited respiratory care program and who wish to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory care.

The two-year, upper division curriculum leading to the bachelor of science degree is a sequence of professional course work intended to prepare competent respiratory therapists with advanced abilities in clinical care. Course work may be designed toward meeting entrance requirements for the Dentistry, Medicine, and Physician Assistant programs.

Those electing to study on a part-time basis must complete the junior and senior years within a four-year period.

Program goals

  1. To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).
  2. To prepare leaders for the field of respiratory care through acquisition of skills in one or more of the following: management, education, research, and/or advanced clinical practice.

Program learning outcomes

In addition to the stated institutional learning outcomes, the respiratory care graduate should be able to:

  1. Apply fundamental and progressive adult, pediatric, and neonatal respiratory care concepts and treatment plans in the areas of pathophysiology, diagnostics, gas exchange therapy, airway care, and application of invasive and non-invasive ventilator support.
  2. Apply critical-thinking skills to respiratory care practice.
  3. Apply problem-solving skills in the areas of pulmonary physiology, related diagnostics, and comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
  4. Perform fundamental and progressive patient assessment and diagnostic skills appropriately for various cardiopulmonary diseases
  5. Demonstrate essential knowledge, skills and abilities required to enter the practice of respiratory care to include passing the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Therapist Multiple-Choice Self-Assessment Examination (TMC-SAE).
  6. Demonstrate clinical competency expected of the respiratory care practitioner to include passing the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Clinical Simulation Self-Assessment Examination (CSE-SAE). 

Professional licensure and credentialing

Graduates of CoARC-accredited respiratory care programs must apply to the state of California Department of Consumer Affairs Respiratory Care Board (RCB) for licenses to practice in the state. The RCB requires that graduates of respiratory care programs complete general and respiratory care education courses with grades of C or above—resulting in a minimum of an Associate in Science degree in respiratory care. Graduates must successfully complete an examination for licensure, declare any felony convictions, and undergo fingerprinting. License denial may occur due to prior criminal conviction(s). Inquiries regarding the RCB may be directed to 3750 Rosin Court, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95834; telephone: 916/999-2190; fax: 916/263-7311; or website: <> or via e-mail: <>.  

The NBRC, provides nationally recognized credentialing examinations for graduates of accredited respiratory care programs. Those who successfully complete the therapist multiple choice examination and the advanced clinical simulation examination receive the RRT credential.  Additional advanced practitioner examinations are required for adult critical care specialist, ACCS, credential, neonatal-pediatric specialist, NPS, certification, certified, CPFT, and registered, RPFT, pulmonary function technologist, and sleep disorders specialty, SDS, credentials.  The RRT credential is required by the state of California for licensure to practice respiratory care. NBRC inquiries may be made to 10801 Mastin Street, Suite 300, Overland Park, KS  66210; telephone:  913/895-4900; fax:  913/712-9283; or website:  <>.

Respiratory Care Program accreditation is provided by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Standards and guidelines published by CoARC must be met and should be relevant to general and respiratory care education and to ongoing program assessment and improvement. The Respiratory Care Program at Loma Linda University is CoARC-accredited. Inquiries regarding CoARC can be directed to 1248 Harwood Road, Bedford, TX 76021-4244; telephone, 817/283-2835; or website: <>. 

Admission to the Bachelor of Science degree program in Respiratory Care is open  for Fall Quarter each year.  In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Allied Health Professions admissions requirements, the applicant must also complete the following requirements:

  • A minimum of 78 degree transferable quarter units (52 semester units) per program director approval or hold an A.S. degree.

  • Complete the subject requirements noted as prerequisites.

  • Arrange for an interview at the University by appointment (an off-campus or telephone interview can be arranged for the distant applicant).

  • Complete a minimum four hour observation/interaction with a respiratory therapist.  This may be scheduled following the interview.


A maximum of 105 quarter or 70 semester units (didactic only) from an accredited junior college will be accepted as transfer credit.

Domain 1: Religion and humanities (28–32 quarter units)

The study of religion must include an average of four units of religion course work for every 48 quarter units earned while attending a Seventh-day Adventist college or university. 

Humanities:  Choose three areas totaling a minimum of 12 quarter units (eight semester units) from:  civilization/history, fine arts, literature, modern language (non-conversational), performing/visual arts (not to exceed four quarter units), or philosophy.

Domain 2: Scientific inquiry and analysis (24–32 quarter units)

Scientific inquiry and analysis encompass both the natural and social sciences. Choose a minimum of 12 units from:

  • Human anatomy and physiology with laboratory, complete sequence or general biology with laboratory, complete sequence
  • Microbiology with laboratory
  • Introductory chemistry with laboratory, complete sequence; or general chemistry with laboratory, complete sequence
  • High school-level physics or introductory physics, one quarter/semester in college; or general physics, one quarter/semester in college (High school courses do not count toward the 12 units required to fulfill GE requirements.)

Two years high school mathematics with grades of C or above, or intermediate algebra in college

The study of social sciences must include a minimum of 12 quarter/eight semester units.

  • Introductory or general psychology course
  • Cultural anthropology or an approved course dealing with cultural diversity
  • Choose remaining social sciences from:  economics, geography, political sciences, or sociology.

Domain 3: Communication (9–13 quarter units)

English composition, complete sequence

Choose additional units from:

  • Speech or interpersonal communication
  • High school-level computers or introductory computers course (Only college-level courses, transferable to a four-year college count toward total unit requirement.)
  • Other areas of study in communication may include courses in computer information systems, critical thinking, and public speaking

Domain 4: Health and wellness (2–6 quarter units)

To encourage the pursuit of lifelong leisure activities and wellness, the study of health and wellness must include at least two physical activity courses totaling a minimum of one quarter unit; and one course in personal health or nutrition. Additional units may include other areas of health, nutrition, and physical fitness.

Domain 5: Electives:

Electives to meet the minimum total requirements of 192 quarter units

For total unit requirements for graduation, see LLU General Education Requirements.

Junior Year
Summer QuarterUnits
Alternate summer entry if non-block co-requisite courses are needed. Requires program director approval. 
Autumn Quarter
AHCJ 326Fundamentals of Health Care2
AHCJ 328Wholeness Portfolio I0
HLCS 241Medical Terminology2
RSTH 304Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology4
RSTH 331Pharmacology I2
RSTH 334Patient Assessment2
RSTH 341Respiratory Therapy Science I5
Winter Quarter
AHCJ 328Wholeness Portfolio I0
AHCJ 402Pathology I4
RSTH 332Pharmacology II2
RSTH 342Respiratory Therapy Science II5
RSTH 366Diagnostic Techniques3
RSTH 381Cardiopulmonary Diseases I2
RSTH 391Respiratory Care Practicum I2
Spring Quarter
AHCJ 305Infectious Disease and the Health-Care Provider1
AHCJ 328Wholeness Portfolio I1
AHCJ 403Pathology II3
RELE 4571Christian Ethics and Health Care2
RSTH 323Pulmonary Function Methodology3
RSTH 343Respiratory Therapy Science III4
RSTH 382Cardiopulmonary Diseases II2
RSTH 392Respiratory Care Practicum II2
Senior Year
Summer Quarter 1
RSTH 393Respiratory Care Practicum III5
RSTH 404Critical Care4
EMMC 31612-Lead ECG Interpretation2
RELT 406, 423, 436, or 437Adventist Beliefs and Life2
Autumn Quarter
AHCJ 465Seminars in Leadership2
AHCJ 498Wholeness Portfolio II0
AHRM 471Statistics and Research for Health Professionals I3
RSTH 354Case Studies in Adult Respiratory Care2
RSTH 421Perinatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care2
RSTH 434Advanced Patient Assessment2
RSTH 441Respiratory Therapy Science IV3
RSTH 494Respiratory Care Practicum IV3
Winter Quarter
AHCJ 498Wholeness Portfolio II0
AHRM 472Statistics and Research for Health Professionals II3
RELR 4751Whole Person Care2
RSTH 422Advanced Perinatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care2
RSTH 424Exercise Physiology and Pulmonary Rehabilitation3
RSTH 444Case Studies in Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care2
RSTH 466Advanced Diagnostic Techniques2
RSTH 495Respiratory Care Practicum V2
Spring Quarter
AHCJ 498Wholeness Portfolio II1
EMMC 315Cardiology3
RELT 4162God and Human Suffering2
RSTH 464Case Management in Respiratory Care2
RSTH 471Instructional Techniques I2
RSTH 474Cardiopulmonary Health Promotion and Disease Prevention2
RSTH 496Respiratory Care Practicum VI3
Fifth Year
Summer Quarter
Summer term for completion of non-block co-requisites requires program director approval. 
 Total Units: 114

A minimum of 192 quarter units is required for the Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory care.  

Normal time to complete the program

Four (4) years overall with two (2) years (seven [7] academic quarters) at LLU based on full-time enrollment.

Alternate summer term entry to include all co-requisite course requirements

For students who need to complete co-requisite courses that are not included in the seven academic quarter block course sequence, the program length is a maximum of two years plus an additional Summer Quarter (nine academic quarters).  The alternate entry for these students is Summer Quarter of each year preceding the Fall Quarter block sequence.  On acceptance, an academic plan specifying the program length (eight or nine academic quarters) and the courses selected during the alternate Summer Quarters is to be approved by the program director.