Top School in San Diego for Respiratory Therapy Training Programs

Students interested in studying respiratory therapy near San Diego, California, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and location info to find the right one for you.

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Top Respiratory Therapy Schools in San Diego, CA

Although there are a few for-profit schools located in San Diego, California, only public, not-for-profit schools will be discussed in this article. There are very few not-for-profit schools nearby with respiratory therapy programs. Grossmont College, Orange Coast College and Mt. San Antonio College all offer associate's degree programs in respiratory therapy. Grossmont College is located approximately 12 miles from San Diego and is the winner due to proximity. Although the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports Orange Coast College had a 38% graduation rate; it is nearly 80 miles from San Diego, making it a runner-up to Grossmont College. Mt. San Antonio College is the farthest away from San Diego and awarded the least amount of associate's degrees, based on data from the NCES.

Respiratory therapists must be licensed by the Respiratory Care Board of California, which requires applicants to hold at least an associate's degree in respiratory therapy from an approved program. They then need to pass an examination through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) and earn the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential. All three of these schools have programs approved by the board and prepare graduates for the licensure process. They're also all accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

School Comparison Chart

Category Grossmont College Orange Coast College Mt. San Antonio College
Location El Cajon, CA (12.5 miles from San Diego)Costa Mesa, CA (79.1 miles from San Diego) Walnut, CA (98.1 miles from San Diego)
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)$1,387 (in-state); $6,897 (out-of-state)* $1,184 (in-state); $6,320 (out-of-state)* $1,164 (in-state); $6,060 (out-of-state)*
Respiratory Therapy Programs Offered Associate's degree Associate's degree Associate's degree
Respiratory Therapy Degree Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 32* 33* 21*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2009 Entering Class 23%* 38%* 31%*
Noteworthy Nearly 90% of new Grossmont graduates passed the licensing exam** New Orange Coast grads had a licensing exam pass rate of more than 81%** Mt. San Antonio had a pass rate of approximately 95% for its new grads**

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Respiratory Care Board of California.

Winner: Grossmont College

  • Around 45 students are accepted into the respiratory therapy program each year

The Associate in Science in Respiratory Therapy program at Grossmont College requires prerequisite courses before beginning the 2-year curriculum. Some courses taken in the respiratory therapy program include cardiorespiratory pharmacology, neonatal-pediatric respiratory care and disease entities. Students will also complete clinical rotations in hospitals and critical care environments to gain hands-on experience.

Runner-Up #1: Orange Coast College

  • Program at Orange Coast College is offered part and full-time

The respiratory care program at Orange Coast College is a 2-year Associate in Science program. Course topics include applied pharmacology, respiratory care procedures and critical care monitoring. Students will gain hands-on experience with about 100 hours of clinical experience in area hospitals.

Runner-Up #2: Mt. San Antonio College

  • Mandatory prerequisites in order to enroll in the program

The respiratory therapy program at Mt. San Antonio College culminates with an associate's degree and a certificate of completion in respiratory therapy. Once admitted to the respiratory therapy program, students will be required to attend a mandatory information session. Students in the respiratory therapy program will study cardiopulmonary pathophysiology, techniques in respiratory therapy and neonatal intensive care. Students will also take part in a clinical experience.

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