Medical Image of LungsBachelor of Applied Science in Respiratory Care

We are excited to announce Highline College's Respiratory Care program now offers a start to finish, 4-year Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) for those with no previous experience in the field. Students complete a quality bachelor's degree specifically in respiratory care that provides an excellent start to their career as a medical professional.

For those with an associate degree in respiratory care who are looking to attain their bachelor's degree, Highline also offers a 2-year bachelor's degree completion program. This program will expand your skills and knowledge with courses to help you in your career.


Why is a Bachelor's Level Degree Needed?

  • The respiratory care profession has changed in scope of practice over the years. There is need for more complex clinical skills and knowledge in not only the hospital but other care sites.
  • Stronger critical thinking skills, better communication, technical writing, management and education knowledge are now needed for a better prepared Respiratory Therapist.
  • A bachelor's level program allows for emphasis in those areas along with advanced level courses in critical care, pediatrics, disease management and critical thinking development.
  • Two pathways: start from the beginning to be a respiratory therapist or do degree completion if you are already a respiratory therapist.

Longtime Industry Partnerships

  • Highline's Respiratory Care program has grown during the past 45 years to become highly regarded by the local medical community.
  • Strong relationships have been formed with hospitals throughout the Seattle/Tacoma area.
  • Students interested in becoming a Respiratory Therapist have excellent clinical rotations at clinical sites such as Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Virginia Mason, Regional Hospital and Swedish Hospital.
  • Highline’s advisory committee members come from throughout the Puget Sound Region. They work with faculty to ensure the curriculum is up to date and provides you with the best possible learning opportunities.


The new start to finish Bachelor of Applied Science in Respiratory Care (starting fall of 2019) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care (CoARC).

View Programmatic Outcomes Data including attrition, job placement, NBRC examination success, in-time graduation rates and enrollment.

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Respiratory Care (completer degree) received Candidate-Level accreditation from the Northwest Commission Colleges and Universities. The completer degree is not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care (CoARC). This is an optional accreditation for completer programs and Highline College does not have this accreditation.

Did You Know?

 Demand Is Growing

There’s a growing need for respiratory therapists who provide critical outpatient support. Between 2018 and 2028, respiratory therapy jobs will grow 27.1% from 1,199 jobs to 1,524 jobs in King and Pierce County according to estimates by *Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI).

 Highline Is Leading

Highline is the first to offer a four-year degree in respiratory care in Washington state. Highline’s Respiratory Care program has run continuously since it admitted its first class in 1967. The program has received Candidate-Level accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. With this new BAS degree opportunity, we at Highline expect BAS program graduates to be prepared to assume leadership positions in the Respiratory Care profession.

 Open to All

Highline welcomes all those with no previous respiratory care experience to apply to the 4-year bachelor's degree program. Working professionals how have earned an associate degree in respiratory care from a regionally accredited respiratory care program may apply to the 2-year bachelor's degree (completer degree) program.

*Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) is a subscription service that provides high-quality employment data, economic analysis and comprehensive impact analyses for colleges and universities.

Get Started

If you are interested in the 4-year Bachelor of Applied Science degree, start by attending an information session offered every-other week throughout winter and spring quarters, 2019. Applications will be available soon for the fall 2019 start.

You qualify to apply for Highline’s 2-year bachelor's degree (completer degree) program if you have an associates degree in respiratory care from a regionally accredited college, and RRT designation from the National Board for Respiratory Care. Applications are currently not available for the 2 year completer program but will be available later in the year.


Program Curriculum Nicki Bly (206) 592-3677
Baccalaureate Education Director Tanya Powers (206) 592-3662

Mission Statement

To develop the respiratory care practitioner’s professional leadership and patient care skill sets in preparation for the health care needs of a global society through the use of a learning environment that explores scientific research, effective communication and problem solving.