Jul 22, 2024  
2024-2025 CNM Catalog, Volume 56 
2024-2025 CNM Catalog, Volume 56

Respiratory Therapy, Associate of Applied Science

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School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety (HWPS)

Respiratory care is an allied health profession specializing in diagnostic testing, therapeutic treatment and critical care support for patients suffering from life-threatening or chronic cardiopulmonary diseases. Under medical direction, Respiratory Therapists assess and treat patients, monitor and evaluate cardiopulmonary function, perform diagnostic testing and maintain life-support systems for patients in critical care settings. The curriculum includes classroom, laboratory and supervised clinical instruction covering cardiopulmonary anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, therapeutic treatments, cardiopulmonary diagnostic technology, critical care and life-support technology for adults, children and infants, respiratory home care and pulmonary rehabilitation.

The CNM Respiratory Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) and prepares graduates for the Certification (CRT) and Registry (RRT) credentials by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) and for Licensure (RCP) by the State of New Mexico Respiratory Care Board. The CNM Respiratory Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

This program’s first term courses are typically offered in the spring term only. This may delay a student’s program start date. Please check with an advisor for more information.

See Recommended Sequence of Courses

Special Requirements

Program Entry Registration Screening

This is a “Coordinated Program Entry” program; students must complete a pre-registration screening process administered through the Coordinated Program Entry Office before being eligible to register for program courses.

Criminal Background

Most of the health programs in HWPS require students undergo the New Mexico Department of Health caregivers criminal history screening program. This involves state and federal felony criminal background checks with fingerprints. This must be completed prior to starting their program or prior to beginning their clinical experiences. Students with a disqualifying conviction can appeal some of those convictions through the New Mexico Department of Health. Depending on the program, students may or may not be allowed to remain in the program pending appeal. Students who do not successfully appeal a disqualifying conviction will not be allowed to start or remain in the program. A successful appeal does not guarantee eligibility for licensure after graduation in professions that require licensure.

Other Compliance Requirements

Many of the health programs in HWPS require students to undergo a routine urine drug screen, provide documentation of current immunizations, have a current Healthcare Provider Basic Life Support (CPR) certificate and other training prior to beginning the program or beginning clinical education, all of which, along with the criminal background check, are verified through the Office of Verification and Compliance.

Physical Requirements

Students must be in good physical and psychological health. Students may be asked to provide documentation of a recent physical examination. Many health programs require the student to be able to safely lift and/or move a minimum of 50 pounds. Reasonable accommodations are made for students with disabilities. However, some disabilities may prohibit students from completing program specific competencies or gaining employment. Students with disabilities that may interfere with completing program competencies are advised to contact the School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety (HWPS)  Office for more information.

Program Fees

Program fees cover costs incurred on behalf of the student for student-issued equipment, background checks, drug screens, etc.


Students are responsible for their own transportation to off-campus training sites. (i.e. clinical courses at hospitals, internships, etc.)

Approximate Costs of this Educational Option

Financial Aid Considerations

Educational Opportunities

For the graduation policy refer to the Graduating From CNM section, cnm.edu or the Students tab in my CNM.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the CNM Respiratory Therapy Program are employed by acute care hospitals, transitional care hospitals, home health care agencies, skilled nursing homes and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers within New Mexico and throughout the nation. The CNM program has a high placement rate for its graduates. Graduates can attain specialty credentials through employment training in specialized areas of cardiopulmonary care. They are also encouraged to continue education toward a bachelor of science degree in respiratory therapy, general science, education or management to pursue leadership positions in the field.

The CNM Respiratory Therapy Program is required to publish CoARC Programmatic Outcomes Data. The intent of the reporting is that comparable information be readily available to the public.

Ten Year Rule for CTE Courses

Career and technical education courses in this program will qualify for credit for a period of ten academic years. Due to changing technologies, trends, and professional demands, courses completed ten or more years in the past will satisfy program requirements only if they are approved by the instructional school in which they were offered. Cohorted programs may have additional restrictions.

Program Requirements


Minimum Credit Hours Required to Complete Degree: 64

MATH 1350 - Introduction to Statistics  recommended

* * PHIL 2120 - Biomedical Ethics  recommended 

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