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Provide Critical Care and Therapy for Patients With Various Respiratory Conditions

Students are instructed in the basic Sciences, Cardiopulmonary Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Mechanical Ventilation and are provided clinical experience. The student will be RRT eligible after completion of both the Community College and Pickens Technical College components. Program graduates will be eligible to take the NBRC, Registered Respiratory Therapist Exams (RRT).

Fall 2024 Enrollment: Scheduling Interviews for the Advanced Respiratory Therapy Program

To schedule an interview contact Jackie Holland at, (303) 344-4910 ext. 27924.

The interview period for the program will begin on February 5th, 2024. Interview slots are limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

The following certificate may be earned: AAS in Respiratory Therapy.

Program Flyer Steps for Enrollment Pickens Lookbook See the Classroom

What Our Students Learn

  • Implement advanced life support techniques
  • Treat medical emergencies in collaboration with health care teams
  • Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care
  • Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments
nurse listening to patient's breathing

Career Outlook

  • Employment opportunity in this field is 10 times higher than the national average of a job
  • Entry level salaries start at $53,000 and up
  • Median salary is $66,000
  • 10% of workers earn $82,000 or more
nurse listening to patient's breathing

Program Experience

  • Students spend 50% of their time learning concepts in a classroom, and 50% of their time with hands-on practical work
  • Students gain experience in a simulated medical environment with industry grade equipment
  • Off-site clinials are built in to the curriculum
  • On-site simulations labs are built into the curriculum’s practical work
  • Enrollment options are available for post-secondary students only
  • 2 years of classes

Associates of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy

The fully accredited Associates of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy is conducted in collaboration with Community College of Aurora (CCA).

The General Education Component Must Be Completed (or evaluated) at CCA Prior to Enrolling at Pickens.

When completing the general education component, students must enroll as a Respiratory Therapy student at CCA.

For information contact the CCA Advising Department: 303-360-4700, option 3 For more information contact SJ Casillas Student Affairs Advisor for the Health Pathway at Community College of Aurora.

SJ Casillas: Health Pathway Advisor
Respiratory Care Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)

CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented. Pickens Technical College’s Respiratory Therapy program’s CoARC code is 200431.

COARC Website Programmatic Outcomes Data

Enrollment and Prerequisites

Enrollment in prerequisite coursework does not guarantee enrollment in the Respiratory Therapy Program.

Applicants must be physically able to exert up to twenty-five pounds of force to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects. Program attendance requires the ability to perceive attributes of objects such as size, shape, temperature, or texture by means of receptors in skin, particularly those in the fingertips. Must have the ability to discriminate and perceive differences in breath sounds and heart tones. Also, must be able to differentiate multiple skin and tissue colors. Students are required to complete a criminal background check prior to beginning clinical rotations. Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or G.E.D.

Prerequisites Are As Follows:

  • MAT 107 Career Mathematics (MAT 121 preferred)
  • ENG 121 English Composition
  • PSY 101 General Psychology
  • CHE 101 Introduction to Chemistry I with Lab
  • BIO 201 Human Anatomy & Physiology I
  • BIO 202 Human Anatomy & Physiology II
  • BIO 204 Microbiology
  • Completion of BIO 201 Anatomy and Physiology I with a passing grade (C or higher) before enrollment at Pickens Technical College

Prerequisite Rules:

  • At CCA BIO 111 must be completed before students can enrolled in either BIO 201 or BIO 204
  • At CCA, MAT 121 must be completed before students can enroll in BIO 111

Residency Requirement:

Students must take 19.5 credits at CCA regardless of prior course history. This is because CCA is the degree-granting institution for the Respiratory Therapy program, and 25% of courses must be taken at the degree-granting institution for a degree to be awarded. Ultimately, this means that students must take a minimum of 19.5 credits at CCA for the Respiratory Therapy program, regardless of whether they have prior credit for prerequisite coursework from another institution. This requirement is part of the articulated degree agreement that allows students to sit for the state exam. Please see your CCA advisor to review the courses you will need to take.

Enrollment process for the Respiratory Therapy program includes a personal interview. The personal interview will consist of reviewing the unofficial transcript, and a conversation with program faculty around knowledge of and motivation to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). This is a selective process.

The Respiratory Therapy Program application process is now open. Please contact Jackie Holland, Program Director to set-up an interview for Fall 2023. Interviews will be conducted January 16th to March 31st.

Program graduates also have the opportunity to continue their education at other institutions to earn their Bachelor degrees:

AAS to BS with Metro State University AAS to BAS in Respiratory Therapy

Jackie Holland

Program Director, Advanced Respiratory Care
303-344-4910 ext. 27924

Jackie Holland is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) through the National Board of Respiratory Care and acting Director of Clinical Education.

Jackie has taught at Pickens Technical College for 7 years. She came to Pickens from Presbyterian/St. Lukes Hospital where she was a Neonatal Transport Therapist for Air Life. At Children’s Hospital, Jackie worked in all areas of Respiratory Therapy including the intensive care unit. Jackie loves being part of a multi-disciplinary team that is helping patients live a better life.

Prior to moving to Colorado, Jackie taught Health Education to both High School and Middle School students in Dallas, Texas. She has served on the Colorado Society for Respiratory Care board as Secretary.

Jackie earned her Associate degree in Respiratory Therapy from PIMA Medical Institute, holds a Bachelor’s Degree and teaching certification in Health Education from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, and a Master’s in Health Leadership from Regis University in Denver, Colorado.

Jackie feels that Pickens Technical College is a great opportunity for both educators and students to specialize in an area of their interests and expertise. The students in Respiratory Therapy earn their AAS in Respiratory Therapy from Community College of Aurora and even have the opportunity to continue their education at Metro State University or Pueblo Community College.


Michael Cousins

Director of Clinical Education, Advanced Respiratory Care
303-344-4910 ext. 278734

Michael Cousins is a Registered Respiratory Therapist through the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) and serves as the Director of Clinical Education/Instructor at Pickens Technical College.

Prior to the world of respiratory care and prior to his role at Pickens, Michael served in the corporate world for 13 years primarily in staff and executive leadership training & development at known organizations such as DirecTV, Sun Microsystems & Seagate Technology. In those organizations, he always served in a teaching/facilitator role.

In 2010 he embarked on a career change from Corporate America to Respiratory Care. During his 10-year career in Respiratory Therapy, he has worked at Children’s Hospital- Colorado, Post-Acute Medical (PAM), St. Joseph’s Hospital, UCHealth Anschutz & UCHealth Broomfield. Michael eventually moved from the bedside into a teaching position at Pima Medical Institute & from Pima, he moved into his current role at Pickens Technical College, where he received his respiratory therapy education and training.

Michael grew up in Toronto, Canada, and received his BA from York University, MA from Michigan State University, and AAS from the Community College of Aurora.

Accredited Certificate Courses (52 credits)

All credits earned at Pickens technical college are recognized by the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), and are eligible for transfer to other colleges within the state of Colorado.

Introduces the profession of respiratory care including history of the profession; current and future role of the respiratory care professional; role, function and interrelationships of the several professional organizations; and medical terminology.

Provides information necessary to function safely and efficiently in the clinical setting. It includes the study of universal precautions, infection control, asepsis, body mechanics, patient charting, communication skills, organizational skills, and basic patient assessment.

Develops the knowledge of oxygen systems and humidity & aerosol therapy. Prepares the student in the techniques of spirometry, hyperinflation techniques and bronchial hygiene. Airway management skills are introduced.

Focuses on the structure of the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems. Addresses independent functional relationships.

Focuses on a study of the diseases affecting the lungs and pulmonary circulation. Emphasizes clinical manifestations and the relationship of pathology and treatment.

Focuses on a study of the principles of pharmacology and the pharmacologic properties and application of drugs commonly employed in the treatment of cardiopulmonary disease.

Focuses on the care of critically ill patients. Includes advanced pulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, assessment and monitoring of acute and chronic respiratory failure, mechanical ventilation, and emergency respiratory care. Incorporates a laboratory portion that enables the student to develop skills essential for the assessment and treatment of the critically ill.

Develop the necessary skills required of Respiratory Care professionals to include monitoring and assessment of the patient requiring intensive care using both non-invasive and invasive data. Topics include: introduction to hemodynamic values and interpretation of the results; characteristics and indications of both bronchoscopy and sleep disorders; and introduction to research.

Focuses on selected topic areas in critical care. Includes both technical and management concerns in the intensive care setting.

Focuses on selected topic areas in critical care. Includes both technical and management concerns in the intensive care setting.

Focuses on the pathophysiology and technology that relates to the neonatal-pediatric patient.

Provide the student with the opportunity to thoroughly probe into the function of mechanical ventilators and how ventilators actually work. It is important for the student to adjust the way they think about ventilators and how to begin to master their operation.

Focuses on the care and analysis of the critically ill patient. Rotations into specialty areas are carried out as the schedule permits.

Continues to address the care and analysis of the critically ill patient and specialty rotations. Attempts to more closely evaluate the student’s ability to manifest critical judgments in solving clinical problems and understanding professional/departmental activities.

A demonstrated culmination of learning within a given program of study.

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