Respiratory Care

Program Type

Associate in Applied Science


View Courses in the Catalog


Paying for Your Program




Request for Info

About the Program

Respiratory Care is an allied health profession that focuses on the care of patients with cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) problems. Graduates of the Rock Valley College program are prepared to work locally and nationally. As highly-skilled and knowledgeable Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT), they are a vital part of the health care team. RRT's have extensive knowledge of the cardio-pulmonary system in order to give the best direct patient care possible. Skills are mastered through classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission the applicant must:

  1. Meet all college admission requirements.
  2. Be a high school or GED graduate.
  3. BIO 185 – Anatomy and Physiology with minimum grade of C. BIO 185 requires BIO 100 or BIO 103 and CHM 110 or higher, with minimum grades of C and must be taken within the last five years. (Other colleges’ Biology course prerequisites may be different than RVC.)*
  4. BIO 274 – Microbiology with minimum grade of C.
  5. ENG 101 – Composition I with a minimum grade of C.
  6. HLT 110 – Medical Terminology with a minimum grade of C.
  7. Math requirement: Minimum Math requirement for the Respiratory Care program is MTH 092 - Beginning Algebra, at the college level. To meet biology and chemistry prerequisites at RVC, MTH 094 or a higher level math with a minimum grade of C is required. (Other colleges’ Math course prerequisites may be different than RVC.)

  8. Grade Point Average: A minimum MTH of 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is required of all college course work completed for college credit.

*Note: BIO 281 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I and BIO 282 -Human Anatomy and Physiology II may be substituted for BIO 185. Both BIO 281 and BIO 282 must be completed.

What can I do with this degree?

Potential Careers & Wages

The Respiratory Therapy career has a 0.3% unemployment rate, a workforce of 100,000, an average annual income of $58,670, and a 23.4% projection of employment growth between 2016 and 2026, according to the website 24/7 Wall St, a Delaware corporation which runs a financial news and opinion company with content delivered over the Internet. The company’s articles are republished by many of the largest news sites and portals, including MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch,, USAToday, and The Huffington Post. 

Program Pathways

Students should meet with an Academic Advisor to develop a clear pathway leading to a seamless transfer experience or transition to the workforce. For additional possibilities that may require an advanced degree or certification, make an appointment with an Academic Advisor.

Visit Academic Advising

The Respiratory Care program at Rock Valley College meets the state education requirements for the Respiratory Care Practitioner license in the state of Illinois. 

Students considering a program of study that leads to professional licensure, endorsement, or certification in Respiratory Care should contact the appropriate licensing agency in the state where you plan to be licensed prior to enrollment at Rock Valley College to ensure the coursework meets that state's requirements. 

Graduates of the program are eligible to earn the credential of a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).

  • This national exam is administered through the National Board for Respiratory Care at
  • The professional organization for Respiratory Therapists is the American Association for Respiratory Care
  • The program belongs to a chapter of The Lambda Beta Society, a National Honor Society for the Profession of Respiratory Care.

Program Mission: The Respiratory Care Program prepares students to become nationally credentialed advanced respiratory care practitioners (Registered Respiratory Therapists – RRT). This program adheres to the Committee of Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) standards for the Profession of Respiratory Care. 

Program Goal: To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs). 

Admission is selective and competitive. All required documents must be submitted to the Respiratory Care Program office on or before March 15 to be reviewed for admission for the fall term. The Respiratory Care Program holds information sessions that cover prerequisites and other important admission information. Attendance at a session is required to receive an application packet for the program. For details on scheduling to attend an information session, call the Respiratory Care Program office at (815) 921-3220.

Students will undergo a criminal background check and drug testing upon admission to the program. It is possible that a student’s criminal background and/or a positive drug test will prevent participation in hospital clinical practice and program completion.

Students are required to earn at least a minimum grade of C in each course in the Respiratory Care program of study. Failure to do so will prevent a student from taking later courses in the program and from graduating.

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. For more information, visit the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

You are encouraged to meet with an Academic Advisor to ensure a seamless pathway from prerequisite courses through the Respiratory Care Program. The Respiratory Care Academic Advisor is Amanda Lonsway and she is located in the Health Sciences Center. For more information, please contact Amanda Lonsway at

Related Programs


Associate in Applied Science

View Program Details

Medical Assistant

Associate in Applied Science

View Program Details

Massage Therapy

Certificate Available

View Program Details