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Interventional Pulmonology Assistant

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Interventional Pulmonology?

Interventional Pulmonology (IP) is a new medical subspecialty that has radically changed the approach to evaluating and treating pulmonary conditions. The first Board Certification for Pulmonologists in this subspecialty was December 2013.

What is an Interventional Pulmonology Assistant?

Interventional Pulmonology Assistants are trained Respiratory Therapists who assist with IP procedures. They assist physicians who perform a large number of procedures including, obtaining biopsies of pulmonary nodules, diagnosis, and staging of lung cancer, treatment of lung cancer and diagnosis and treatment of pleural diseases.  The majority of these procedures are minimally-invasive non-surgical procedures done with the use of a bronchoscope.

What is the IPA certificate program at Foothill College?

The IPA certificate program was established to expand the knowledge base of Respiratory Therapists currently working in IP.

Is this a state-recognized transcriptable certificate?

Yes, this certificate has been state-approved and it is transcriptable.

Is this program only open to Respiratory Therapists and how does one apply?

This program was intended for Respiratory Therapists already working in IP, however, Nurses who work in IP can also complete this certificate. The program is open on a first come first serve basis and enrollment will be capped at 30. It is free to apply to Foothill College.

How long is the program and how much does it cost?

The program is eight (8) courses long and will take approximately one year to complete. There are two classes offered each quarter in sequence. In total there are 8 courses needed to complete this certificate.  See college tuition and fees.

Is it possible to work full time and take these courses?

Yes, the courses were created so that working individuals could take them.

Is this program fully online?

Yes, the courses will be online using the Canvas platform. 

Is there a clinical component?

There is a clinical component for those with access to IP procedures and for those living in the proximity to the Foothill campus.

What type of procedures do IPAs assist with?

There are over 40 diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that fall under IP.


What type of patients need these procedures?

There are many diseases and conditions including the following:

  • Abnormal chest x-ray
  • Amyloidosis
  • Asthma
  • Benign pleural effusion
  • Benign tumors of the airways or lungs
  • Bronchial stenosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema
  • Complications of tracheostomy and intubation
  • Diffuse lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis
  • Foreign body extraction
  • Hemoptysis (blood in sputum, aka coughing up blood)
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung nodule and lung mass
  • Malignant pleural effusion (fluid in the pleural space)

Whom can I contact if I have questions regarding this program?

Email questions to Brenda Hanning, the Director of the Respiratory Therapy Program at Foothill College at hanningbrenda@fhda.edu.

Please include IPA in the subject line.

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Please contact me!

Brenda Hanning, RRT, RCP
Director, Respiratory Therapy Program