Top School in San Diego for Respiratory Therapy Training Programs

Students interested in studying respiratory therapy near San Diego, California, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and location info to find the right one for you.

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School and Ranking Information

Since San Diego, California, doesn't have many schools with respiratory therapy programs, this article looks to schools within 100 miles of the city center. All three of the schools profiled below offer programs that have been approved to prepare graduates for required state licensure, which includes passing an examination through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) and earning the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential. In addition, the highlighted schools are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. Based on accreditation status and other considerations, such as degrees awarded and tuition costs, these schools are among the best in the area for training in this field:

  • Winner: Grossmont College is located approximately 12 miles from San Diego and is the winner due to its proximity to the city and high number of degrees awarded in the field.
  • Runner-Up #1: While Orange Coast College awarded the most degrees among all three schools, it is located nearly 80 miles from San Diego. This school also won second place for having the highest graduation rate of the three colleges.
  • Runner-Up #2: Mt. San Antonio College, while the farthest away from San Diego, had the lowest tuition among compared schools and boasted the highest pass rate on licensing exams.

School Comparison Chart

Category Grossmont College Orange Coast College Mt. San Antonio College
Location El Cajon, CA (12.5 miles from San Diego) Costa Mesa, CA (79.1 miles from San Diego) Walnut, CA (98.1 miles from San Diego)
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $1,387 (in-state); $6,897 (out-of-state)* $1,184 (in-state); $6,320 (out-of-state)* $1,164 (in-state); $6,060 (out-of-state)*
Respiratory Therapy Programs Offered Associate's degree Associate's degree Associate's degree
Respiratory Therapy Degree Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 32* 33* 21*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2009 Entering Class 23%* 38%* 31%*
Noteworthy Nearly 90% of new Grossmont graduates passed the licensing exam** New Orange Coast grads had a licensing exam pass rate of more than 81%** Mt. San Antonio had a pass rate of approximately 95% for its new grads**

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Respiratory Care Board of California.

Winner: Grossmont College

  • Around 45 students are accepted into the respiratory therapy program each year

The Associate in Science in Respiratory Therapy program at Grossmont College requires prerequisite courses before beginning the 2-year curriculum. Some courses taken in the respiratory therapy program include cardiorespiratory pharmacology, neonatal-pediatric respiratory care and disease entities. Students will also complete clinical rotations in hospitals and critical care environments to gain hands-on experience.

Runner-Up #1: Orange Coast College

  • Program at Orange Coast College is offered part and full-time

The respiratory care program at Orange Coast College is a 2-year Associate in Science program. Course topics include applied pharmacology, respiratory care procedures and critical care monitoring. Students will gain hands-on experience with about 100 hours of clinical experience in area hospitals.

Runner-Up #2: Mt. San Antonio College

  • Mandatory prerequisites in order to enroll in the program

The respiratory therapy program at Mt. San Antonio College culminates with an associate's degree and a certificate of completion in respiratory therapy. Once admitted to the respiratory therapy program, students will be required to attend a mandatory information session. Students in the respiratory therapy program will study cardiopulmonary pathophysiology, techniques in respiratory therapy and neonatal intensive care. Students will also take part in a clinical experience.

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