Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Respiratory Care Program  
In Respiratory Care, It’s OK to Inhale

Breathing is the machinery of life. If we can’t breath or stop, we die. Some people develop breathing problems because of illness or accident and need to seek professional assistance. That is where the respiratory care professional becomes a major factor in the health care equation.

Respiratory care practitioners are the health specialists who are responsible for the evaluation, treatment and care of patients with breathing difficulties. They perform a variety of functions, such as managing and monitoring life-support systems, performing lung-function tests, cardiac-stress testing, and sleep studies.

Al Moss, director of the Respiratory Care Program at KVCC, offers this definition of the typical respiratory care practitioner: "They are the human connection that interfaces the patient with the machine. Although the profession has a very technical side, a practitioner must have great people skills because a good portion of their job requires interaction with people."

Respiratory Care Practitioners work in a variety of settings. They are employed in acute-care hospitals, emergency rooms, diagnostic labs, home health care facilities, and nursing homes.

Because of the essential nature of breathing, Respiratory Care Practitioners are in high demand. Moss reports graduates of the program are virtually assured of employment and a good wage. On average, a staff Respiratory Care Practitioner will start out at $14.50 to $16.50 per hour.

After several years of employment, a Respiratory Care professional may make up to $21 or $33 per hour. As with other jobs, there is opportunity for advancement and higher wages. Respiratory managers, supervisors or educators have the opportunity to make $60,000 or more per year.

The program at KVCC in this field is first rate. In addition to the benefit of attending KVCC, the Respiratory Care Program offers many extras that will enhance the experience of the students in the program.

One such advantage includes KVCC’s outstanding clinical affiliates. KVCC has relationships with Bronson and Borgess Hospitals, Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids and the Battle Creek Health System. KVCC is also linked to several home health care companies.

The Respiratory Care Program is an intense yet rewarding program and career. If you are interested in learning more about the program, KVCC offers "shadow opportunities" that allow a potential student to go behind the scenes of Respiratory Care.

Contact Al Moss at (269) 488-4288 or the Health Careers Admissions Coordinator at healthcareers@kvcc.edu. Another great source of information is the American Association for Respiratory Care home page at www.aarc.org.