Jul 15, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Respiratory Therapy - Radford University Carilion Site

Program Director

Chase Poulsen, PhD, RRT-NPS, ACCS
Chair, Department of Clinical Health Professions
Associate Professor 
540-985-8490 (Office)
540-224-4785 (Fax)


The mission of the Respiratory Therapy Program is to prepare professional, ethical, knowledgeable, competent, and compassionate Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT).


Upon completion of the Respiratory Therapy Program, our graduates will demonstrate competency in cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs). Graduates will be able to

  1. demonstrate critical thinking skills with a comprehensive knowledge base (cognitive skills) by assessing the patient’s condition, developing a plan of treatment, and modifying that treatment as needed so that safe and quality cardio-respiratory therapy is given,
  2. demonstrate competency in diagnostic and therapeutic clinical (psychomotor) skills necessary to perform the expanding number of procedures that fall under cardiopulmonary care,
  3. demonstrate ethical, caring, and culturally competent behaviors (affective skills) toward the patient, family members, and other members of the healthcare team.


The Respiratory Therapy Program is a four-year program distributed over nine semesters. Foundational courses are delivered within the first two years. The blend of classroom, laboratory, and clinical components is designed to prepare students for careers as Respiratory Therapists. Respiratory Therapy courses begin in the junior year and are interspersed with other foundational courses. 

Admissions Requirements

  • Radford University Admission Requirements .
  • Internal and external (transfer) students must complete all coursework within the first two years of the plan of study with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above to progress to junior status

Any deviation from this policy must be approved by the Program Director.​

Program Requirements

Essential Mental Abilities:

  • Follow instructions and rules
  • Apply basic mathematical and algebraic skills without the use of a calculator.
  • Demonstrate safe practice within the defined clinical time.
  • Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment and for making quick lifesaving decisions.

Essential Communication Skills:

  • Speak clearly in order to communicate with patients, families, healthcare team members, peers and faculty.
  • Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with diverse individuals, families, and groups.
  • Ability to independently read and accurately interpret written communications (i.e., test questions, MD orders, etc.)

Essential Physical Abilities:

  • Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective care.
  • Stand and walk for eight to twelve hours/day.
  • Bend, squat, kneel, and twist upper and lower back.
  • Assist in lifting or moving clients of all age groups and weights.
  • Perform CPR (i.e., move above patient to compress chest and manually ventilate patient). 
  • Use hands for grasping, pushing, pulling, and fine manipulation.
  • Auditory abilities sufficient to hear alarms, beepers, pagers, or phones.  
  • Ability to withstand sudden alarms, sounds, and flashing lights.
  • Auditory abilities to monitor breath sounds with a stethoscope 
  • Visual abilities to distinguish calibrated markers on related equipment, determine depth of instrumentation placement, and read small print on medicine containers.
  • Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment.

Professional Behavior

  • Demonstrates safety and honesty in all situations.
  • Incorporates professional and ethical standards, including the Patient Bill of Rights, and the AARC Statement of Ethics and Professional Behavior.
  • Demonstrates professional demeanor (e.g., dress code and smoking policies per college and program handbook, respect for others, accepts criticism, cooperative, controls temper, attentive, and uses professional language).

Respiratory Therapy is a licensed profession. Licensing within a state requires a comprehensive background check on individuals attempting to practice within said State. If an individual believes that there are circumstances that could prevent licensure, they should make an appointment with the program director or Student Affairs.

Graduation Requirements 

In order to graduate from the Respiratory Therapy Program all students must:

  • Complete the Plan of Study and pass all required Biology and RETH courses with a letter grade of “C” or “P” (Pass).
  • Pass all Clinical Competencies
  • Pass the NBRC – Therapist Multiple Choice Exam Self-Assessment Exam*
  • Pass the NBRC – Clinical Simulations Self-Assessment Exam*
  • AHA ACLS certified

*Threshold set by faculty member teaching corresponding course.

Advising Tips 

Students wishing to decrease their course load in the Junior and Senior years may take non-RETH courses prior to beginning the first semester of their junior year of the program.  Your academic advisor will assist you in the personalization of the plan of study.

Academic Programs

Respiratory Therapy, B.S. (R) or (R, A, L)* - Radford University Carilion Site