female respiratory therapist holds a mask vapor inhaler for little girl sitting on the couch.

Respiratory Therapist

Associate Degree Program - 76 Credits

An associate degree in Respiratory Therapy from Southeast Technical College will prepare you to work with medical doctors and the treatment team to care for patients with respiratory diseases and cardiovascular conditions.

In two years, you learn techniques and therapies used in clinical settings, including airway management, administrating medications, utilizing airway assistance devices, applying and monitoring breathing gasses, equipment operation and maintenance, patient data collection and monitoring and safety and sanitation procedures.

Build Dakota Eligible

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Earn a full-ride scholarship to Southeast Tech's Respiratory Therapist program through Build Dakota!

Learn More

Industry Scholarships and Sponsorships

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Avera Health offers scholarship, loan repayment and sign-on bonus opportunities to STC’s Respiratory Therapist students through Dec. 31, 2024. Contact Avera to learn more.

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Sanford Health offers scholarships, sponsorships, and partners with Build Dakota to provide industry Sponsorships. Our current sponsorship for our Sioux Falls facility is $40,000 for a three-year time commitment and is open to all students that are pursuing a Respiratory Therapy degree. Please contact Carlye.Kiesow@sanfordhealth.org for more information!

Hands-On Learning and Real-World Experience

At Southeast Technical College, students learn from qualified, professional instructors with vast experience in their industry. While completing coursework in the Respiratory Therapist program, students spend a significant amount of time in our true-to-life learning labs located in STC's Terrence Sullivan Health Science Center and completing clinical rotations at a medical facility.

Graduates of STC’s Respiratory Therapist program will be able to demonstrate competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs). Students also gain:

Technical Skills: Graduates will be able to demonstrate the management of invasive and non-invasive ventilation equipment and explain the pathophysiology of cardiopulmonary diseases.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking Skills: Students learn to assess data to find changes in patient conditions and interpret the diagnostic values from respiratory assistance devices.

Communication Skills: Students learn how to effectively communicate key points of treatment regimens to patients and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.

Professionalism: Graduates will maintain ethical standards and facilitate diversity, equity and inclusion in their careers.

What can You do With Your Associate Degree?

Locally, Sioux Falls is home to two of the state’s largest healthcare systems: Avera Health and Sanford Health. These leaders and other healthcare facilities have a true need for respiratory therapists and consistently seek out STC graduates.

Students also have the option to continue their education and obtain a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution.

Job Outlook

Explore Classes  

In addition to labs and clinical rotations, students in the Respiratory Therapist program at Southeast Technical College will also take courses in chemistry, cardiopulmonary diagnostics and respiratory pharmacology.

View Curriculum    View Admission Criteria 


Costs are calculated based on a charge of $255 per credit hour, plus applicable fees.

Total Costs  Cost and Fee Breakdown


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Jennifer Sparkman

Program Director and Instructor
Respiratory Therapist
Health Center 214

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