Best Respiratory Therapist Programs 2021

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Respiratory therapists conduct diagnostic testing and assist patients in managing and treating cardiopulmonary diseases and disorders. Caring for respiratory patients and communicating with medical teams requires strong interpersonal, collaborative, and technical skills. This specialized career path often boasts higher salaries than those associated with other two-year degree careers, according to PayScale salary data.

Many respiratory therapy (RT) program graduates pursue licenses and careers as registered respiratory therapists (RRTs). However, an RT graduate can also pursue certification and employment as an adult critical care specialist (ACCS), registered pulmonary function technologist, or neonatal/pediatric respiratory care specialist (NPS). Other career options include sleep disorders testing and therapeutic intervention respiratory care specialist (SDS).

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Respiratory care professionals may expect positive job prospects in the coming years. Cigarette smoking, vaping, and obesity can cause breathing issues that may need treatment. Plus, an increase in lung-related illnesses from environmental hazards such as fracking, quartz manufacturing, pollution, and wildfires may keep respiratory therapists busy in coming years.

Top 10 Respiratory Therapy Schools and Programs

#1 Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH
#2 Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque, NM
#3 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL
#4 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN
#5 Forsyth Technical Community College Winston-Salem, NC
#6 Miami Dade College Miami, FL
#7 Delta College University Center, MI
#8 Clark State Community College Springfield, OH
#9 Erie Community College Buffalo, NY
#10 Indian River State College Fort Pierce, FL

FAQ

How long does it take to complete a respiratory therapist program?

Earning an associate degree in respiratory therapy usually takes about two years. However, degree timelines vary based on program structure and prior coursework.

Do I need a license to be a respiratory therapist?

Yes, respiratory therapists obtain licensure through their state board. Most states require an accredited associate degree in respiratory care/therapy and passing scores on the National Board for Respiratory Care's RRT Licensure Examinations.

Where do respiratory therapists work?

Respiratory therapists often work in hospitals, emergency rooms, adult or pediatric critical care units, or doctor's offices. Some respiratory therapists may provide home healthcare to housebound patients.

How does a respiratory therapist program compare to a nursing program?

Nursing programs cover many different healthcare areas. Respiratory therapist programs focus primarily on cardiopulmonary issues and treatments.

Career and Salary Outlook for Respiratory Therapists



Along with increased air quality issues, the healthcare industry's rapid growth and positive job growth rate projections suggest excellent employment prospects for respiratory therapists from 2019 to 2029. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 19% job growth outlook for this career -- more than four times the rate for all U.S. occupations during the same decade.

Respiratory therapists earn a median annual salary of $61,330, according to the BLS. Salaries differ based on credentials, professional experience, employer, and geographical location. Bachelor's degree-holders earn over $10,000 more annually than associate degree graduates. Respiratory therapists in California and in metropolitan areas also earn substantially more than professionals elsewhere.

Graduates of RT programs can obtain additional certifications and jobs in specific contexts or populations. ACCS-holders can provide respiratory care in intensive care contexts, NPS-holders may work in obstetrics or pediatric departments, and SDS-holders might work in sleep study clinics. These additional specializations can help licensed respiratory therapists qualify for pay increases.

Career Top 10% Median Annual Salary Bottom 10%
Respiratory Therapists Less than $44,850 $61,330 More than $86,980

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Respiratory Therapy Programs



Academic programs and institutions voluntarily seek accreditation to demonstrate their educational value to prospective students. The Council of Higher Education Accreditation recognizes various programmatic and institutional accreditation agencies. These agencies measure and verify the academic quality of respiratory care/therapy higher education programs and schools. Prospective students can verify accreditation standards through the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

The best respiratory therapy programs boast programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Regionally accredited schools hold institution-wide accreditation from regional accreditation agencies such as the New England Commission of Higher Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Respiratory therapists must pass either state or the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) examinations to qualify for licensure. The NBRC offers both certified respiratory therapist (CRT) and RRT examinations and corresponding credentials. CRTs must pass the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination, while RRTs must pass both the TMC Exam and the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE).

After passing licensure examinations, aspiring respiratory care professionals must submit licensure applications to their states' respiratory therapy boards. Each board determines its own minimum education requirements. For example, Alabama's board requires applicants to demonstrate at least one of the following: completion of a CoARC-accredited respiratory therapy program, relevant military or other special training, substantial relevant work experience, or RRT licensure in another state.

Candidates with licenses in other states can apply for licensure by reciprocity. This option allows certified respiratory care professionals to transfer their license to states that maintain existing reciprocity agreements with the candidates' original states of licensure.

Courses in a Respiratory Therapy Program



Associate-level respiratory therapist programs usually follow a set, sequential curriculum covering key knowledge and skills for pediatric, adult, and critical care cardiopulmonary patients. Respiratory therapist programs usually consist of around 70-75 credits, including prerequisite courses such as anatomy and physiology, math, and chemistry. Participants acquire skills in diagnostic testing, drug administration, life support, and ventilator management.

Respiratory therapist programs combine classroom learning with hands-on labs and supervised clinical experiences. A few programs offer specialization through electives, special practice courses, and capstone projects. Versions of the following five courses appear in most respiratory therapist programs. However, course titles and topics often vary by program and school.

Anatomy and Physiology
A standard prerequisite course for respiratory therapist programs, anatomy and physiology examines the human body's interconnected structures, systems, functions, and relationships. This general overview helps aspiring respiratory care professionals understand how the lungs work in conjunction with other organs and systems. Learners may engage in hands-on activities such as projects and laboratory sessions, including dissections.
Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology
This course surveys the various diseases and disorders found in respiratory patients. A version of this core course appears in all respiratory therapist programs. Enrollees also learn diagnostic tests and tools for various body parts, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, and muscles. This course may emphasize heart electrophysiology, electrocardiography, hemodynamics, and blood flow. Students may also learn about lung volumes, ventilation dynamics and control, oxygenation, and gas transport.
Pediatric and Neonatal Respiratory Therapy
This core respiratory therapy course prepares participants to provide respiratory care to fetuses, newborn infants, and children. Enrollees explore unique pulmonary issues among these populations and learn procedures and techniques used in prenatal, infant, and child life support and critical care.
Advanced Life Support
This course teaches participants how to resuscitate, stabilize, and monitor individuals suffering from life-threatening cardiovascular emergencies such as cardiopulmonary arrest and peri-arrest. Enrollees also receive training in team collaboration and care systems for treating conditions such as stroke, dysrhythmia, and acute coronary syndromes.
Respiratory Pharmacology
This required course studies pharmacological principles and practices used for cardiopulmonary disease and disorder patients. Course participants learn about the central and peripheral nervous systems, drug action principles and effects, and standard practices for calculating and administering drugs. Learners also survey cardiopulmonary and renal pharmacological agents, including indications, contraindications, and effects.

Like other college students, some RT students may qualify for scholarships based on academic performance, identity group, and financial need. Available to qualifying students in respiratory therapy-related programs, the below five scholarships can assist recipients in covering education expenses.

Heidi Norris Fund

Who Can Apply: Shelby, Mercer, or Auglaize county residents pursuing respiratory therapy-related degrees may apply. Candidates must successfully complete all freshmen coursework before qualifying. Eligible applicants demonstrate 2.5 minimum GPAs, financial need, positive recommendation letters, and histories of community or school service.
Amount: $1,000

Encompass Rehabilitation Petersburg Scholarship Endowment

Who Can Apply: This fund supports students taking six credits or more per term in nursing or therapeutic medical fields, including respiratory therapy. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, community involvement or employment, and 3.0 minimum high school GPAs or 2.5 minimum college GPAs.
Amount: $1,000

Dr. Diane Klepper Endowment Fund

Who Can Apply: One of many Central New Mexico Community College Foundation Scholarships, this fund supports students enrolled full time (at least 12 credits) in associate of applied science in respiratory therapy programs. Applicants must submit a general application to the Foundation, which matches the applicant with relevant scholarships and specific application requirements.
Amount: $1,000

MedicalCareers.com Healthcare Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship funds qualifying students in accredited healthcare programs. Applicants must be legal adults and U.S. citizens and hold high school diplomas (or equivalents). Applicants must also submit 1,000-word essays on the students' reasons for studying healthcare.
Amount: $1,500

Nurse.org Nursing Student Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students 17 or older who boast 3.0 minimum GPAs and acceptance or current enrollment in medical-related programs at accredited schools may apply.
Amount: $1,000

Best Respiratory Therapist Programs of 2021



The following ranked list of schools highlights the nation's best and most affordable respiratory therapy programs of 2021. Updated yearly based on educational developments, this ranked list can help prospective students narrow their search to the best respiratory therapy programs available. All the schools below boast accreditation by regional accrediting agencies.

Sinclair Community College View School Profile Dayton, OH

Based in Dayton, Ohio, SCC offers an associate of applied science in respiratory care. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, the program teaches enrollees to give emergency care, operate ventilators, and collaborate with medical teams.

Learners can complete the full-time, 65-credit program in six semesters. The curriculum features general education, division-specific, and program-specific courses. To enter the program, students must complete science and health prerequisites such as chemistry, biology, and psychology. To begin program-specific coursework, students need a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.

Program-specific coursework covers respiratory care fundamentals, cardiopulmonary pharmacology, and pediatrics and neonatal care. Learners also study critical care and emergency preparedness. Enrollees engage in experiential learning through clinical rotations at nearby hospitals and intensive care units.

SCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Central New Mexico Community College View School Profile Albuquerque, NM

A public community college in Albuquerque, CNM offers an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy. The program trains students in diagnostic testing, critical care support, and therapeutic treatment for cardiopulmonary disease patients.

Enrollees participate in classroom, clinical, and laboratory training. They receive supervision and instruction from respiratory care specialists. The curriculum covers cardiopulmonary physiology, pathophysiology, and anatomy, plus various diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques. The program prepares graduates to provide respiratory care to infant, child, and adult patients.

CNM's associate degree in respiratory therapy currently admits 20 students per year. Applicants must complete prerequisite courses, including human anatomy and physiology, composition, clinical preparation, and mathematics. Applicants need a minimum 2.75 GPA and a passing score on the Test of Essential Academic Skills or the Health Education Systems, Inc. Examination. Enrollees must attend a compliance orientation for the program's clinical components.

CNM is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Florida State College at Jacksonville View School Profile Jacksonville, FL

Part of the Florida State College system, FSCJ offers an associate of science in respiratory care. The five-semester program boasts a low attrition rate and a high rate of registered respiratory therapists among graduates.

Enrollees must successfully complete 20 credits of prerequisites in mathematics, the humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences. The remaining 56 credits cover professional coursework in areas such as respiratory care, diagnostic monitoring, and mechanical ventilation. The respiratory therapist program also includes courses in pulmonary pathology, community health, and neonatal and pediatric care.

To graduate, students must fulfill clinical experience requirements, maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, and complete at least 25% of their credit hours in residence at FSCJ.

FSCJ is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Ivy Tech Community College View School Profile $ Indianapolis, IN

Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, ITCC's associate of science in respiratory therapy prepares graduates for careers helping patients of all ages with breathing disorders and chronic lung problems. The program incorporates realistic laboratory and clinical learning experiences. Graduates qualify to take the Registered Respiratory Therapist Licensure Examination.

The 71-credit, seven-semester respiratory therapist program features intensive, eight-week courses. Classes cover topics like assessment and caring for respiratory patients, cardiopulmonary anatomy and physiology, and cardiopulmonary pharmacology. Enrollees also take courses in emergency management, critical care, and cardiopulmonary pathology.

Students enter ITCC as healthcare specialists with concentrations in respiratory therapy. After completing prerequisites, candidates may apply to the respiratory therapy program. Applicants must pass a background check, physical exam, and drug test.

ITCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Forsyth Technical Community College View School Profile Winston-Salem, NC

Forsyth Tech in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy that integrates laboratory practice, academic study, and clinical experiences. Enrollees acquire skills in heart and lung disease assessment, diagnostic testing, and care across the lifespan.

The 72-credit curriculum covers topics like cardiopulmonary anatomy, physiology, diseases, and disorders. The AAS also features courses on tools and treatments, including respiratory therapeutics, medical gas administration, and life support. Students take general education coursework in chemistry, microbiology, algebra, and the humanities.

The respiratory therapist program admits 20-30 students per year. Eligible applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA, high school or college credits in biology, and CPR certification. Accepted students complete an online orientation.

Forsyth Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Miami Dade College View School Profile $ Miami, FL

The associate of science in respiratory care program at MDC, a public college in Miami, qualifies graduates to take the Respiratory Therapist Licensure Examination.

The 72-credit program takes two years of full-time study to complete. Students begin with introductory courses in respiratory care, pharmacology, and clinical practice. Learners also take a writing and inquiry course and an anatomy and physiology course during their first semester. During their first-year spring semester, enrollees take chemistry, therapeutics/diagnostics, and pathophysiology courses.

The seven-credit summer term includes coursework on topics like neonatal and pediatrics, critical care, and psychology. Learners study advanced monitoring, career preparation, clinical practice, and communication in their second year.

MDC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Delta College View School Profile University Center, MI

A public college in University Center, Michigan, Delta offers an associate of applied science in respiratory care with small class sizes and up-to-date facilities. Delta's AAS program combines classroom instruction with laboratory and clinical experiences.

Respiratory care students enter as a cohort and usually complete the 86-credit program in five semesters. New students must complete program prerequisites at Delta or apply for advanced standing by transferring equivalent prerequisites completed elsewhere.

Learners take courses on topics like ventilatory care, diagnostics and special procedures, and cardiovascular evaluation and monitoring. Students can choose to complete an optional rotation or special project related to their personal interests and goals.

Delta is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Clark State Community College View School Profile $ Springfield, OH

In collaboration with Rhodes State College, Clark State in Springfield, Ohio, offers an associate of applied science in respiratory care. Students complete general education classes at Clark State. They take their remaining courses in a hybrid format through Rhodes State.

Courses cover topics like cardiopulmonary anatomy and physiology, respiratory care procedure, respiratory disease, and life support. Learners complete a capstone and participate in various clinical experiences at local healthcare facilities. Graduates qualify to sit for the National Board Examination.

Prospective students apply to both Clark State and Rhodes State. Applicants must hold at least a "C" grade in all coursework and either satisfactory standardized test scores or a minimum 2.5 GPA in prior college coursework. Applicants must also pass various health and background screenings, interview with the program director, and document clinical observations with a qualifying respiratory care professional.

Clark State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Erie Community College View School Profile Buffalo, NY

The associate of applied science in respiratory care at ECC integrates cognitive knowledge, psychomotor skills, and affective behavior training. Students attend lectures and participate in laboratory and clinical experiences.

The 68-credit AAS program takes two years of full-time enrollment to finish. Enrollees complete 15.5-17.5 credits per semester and three credits during the summer session between year one and two. The curriculum covers topics like respiratory care principles, special procedures, and care for patients of all ages.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, take math and English placement tests, and attend an orientation. ECC students often complete most of their general education requirements before applying to the respiratory care program.

ECC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Indian River State College View School Profile Fort Pierce, FL

A state college in Fort Pierce, Florida, IRSC offers an associate of science in respiratory care.The 77-credit program begins with a summer semester of seven credits in biology and healthcare ethics. The fall semester covers topics like cardiopulmonary pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology. In the spring, students take courses in respiratory therapy theory and clinic, cardiopulmonary disease, and algebra.

Enrollees complete a second summer semester of coursework in respiratory therapy, psychology, and pulmonary function. The second year features coursework in physics, mechanical ventilation, critical care, and pediatric care. Students also complete courses on life support and professional development.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, background check and health screening documents, and evidence of healthcare practitioner licensure or certification.

IRSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Palm Beach State College View School Profile Lake Worth, FL

The associate of science in respiratory care at PBSC qualifies graduates to take the National Board for Respiratory Care Registry Exam. Recognized by the American Medical Association and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, the limited-access program trains students in core respiratory care skills. Enrollees study pediatric and cardiac life support, neonatal resuscitation, pulmonary function technology, and electrocardiography.

The two-year, full-time program begins in August. Students complete 27 prerequisite credits and 49 required credits for a total of 76 credits. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA in all prerequisite courses and a minimum 2.6 cumulative GPA. Applicants must submit official transcripts and placement test scores (unless exempt).

PBSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pitt Community College View School Profile $ Winterville, NC

A public community college in Winterville, North Carolina, PCC provides an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy that cultivates effective collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. The program also emphasizes professionalism, ethics, and quality patient care.

Enrollees can complete the program's 72 credits over six semesters, including two summer terms. Coursework covers core respiratory care topics such as pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, patient assessment, and critical care. The curriculum also incorporates writing, research, psychology, and ethics or critical thinking courses.

Candidates need a minimum 2.5 GPA in general education and recommended courses. Applicants must complete prerequisite courses in English, biology, and math.

PCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Gulf Coast State College View School Profile Panama City, FL

A state college located in Panama City, Florida, GCSC offers an associate of science in respiratory care that trains students to care for patients with cardiopulmonary diseases, disorders, and breathing problems.

The two-year program teaches enrollees how to provide life support and critical care, as well as diagnostic testing and various therapeutic and rehabilitative treatments. The curriculum prepares graduates for the Therapist Multiple Choice Examination, making GCSC's program one of the best respiratory therapy programs. Graduates who pass the exam usually earn the certified respiratory therapist credential and pursue related employment.

Candidates must undergo a program evaluation from an academic advisor. Applicants submit official transcripts and evidence of a high school diploma. Accepted students complete an orientation.

GCSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Hutchinson Community College View School Profile $ Hutchinson, KS

Located in Hutchinson, Kansas, HutchCC offers an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy that begins each August and admits 15 applicants per year.

Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, the 71-credit respiratory therapist program requires four semesters and one summer session to complete. The curriculum covers topics like cardiopulmonary pathology, assessment, pediatric and neonatal care, and pharmacology. The program also includes several clinical training experiences and therapeutic modalities courses.

Candidates must complete prerequisites in human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and intermediate algebra before entering the program. Students must also take prerequisites in math, communications or public speaking, and English composition. Enrollees may transfer these credits if completed elsewhere.

HutchCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Henry Ford College View School Profile Dearborn, MI

HFC in Dearborn, Michigan, offers two respiratory therapist programs: a respiratory therapist associate of applied science (AAS) and a pre-respiratory therapist associate of science (AS). The 49.5-credit AAS program includes a clinical practicum, respiratory care courses, and therapeutics courses. The 60-credit AS program includes additional general education courses and prepares graduates for bachelor's degree programs.

Both AS and AAS program applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA in at least 12 credits of 200-400-level courses; a 255 minimum Accuplacer Next Gen Reading score; eligibility for English and math prerequisites; and successful completion of chemistry, medical terminology, and anatomy and physiology courses.

The program boasts a 100% job placement rate among employment-seeking graduates. Respiratory therapy students can access networking opportunities by participating in the annual Michigan Society for Respiratory Care Conference.

HFC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Muskegon Community College View School Profile Muskegon, MI

In collaboration with the Munson Medical Center and Northwestern Michigan College, MCC offers an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy. Enrollees complete nonprofessional degree requirements at Northwestern and professional courses at MCC. Clinical education occurs at the Munson Medical Center and at West Michigan hospitals.

MCC students can apply to the program after completing entry-level requirements, including high school graduation (or equivalent), placement tests, and prerequisite coursework. Candidates must complete prerequisites in composition, intermediate algebra, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry.

Enrollees take natural and social science courses and respiratory care-related courses. MCC may accept equivalent, recent coursework taken at similarly accredited schools, but students must complete at least 15 respiratory care credits at MCC to graduate.

MCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Coastal Pines Technical College View School Profile Waycross, GA

Based in Waycross, Georgia, CPTC offers an associate of applied science in respiratory care. The degree provides specialized training in areas like medical gases, humidity/aerosol therapy, ventilation, and incentive spirometry.

The 78-credit program consists of 50 occupational course credits, 16 general education credits, and 12 science prerequisites. Occupational coursework covers topics like pharmacology, pulmonary disease, and ventilation and airway management. Enrollees also participate in six clinical practice components. Graduates qualify to take the National Board for Respiratory Care's Entry Level Certification Examination. Candidates who pass the test may take the two-part registry exam to obtain licensure.

Applicants must satisfy placement testing requirements and submit official transcripts. They must also complete general education prerequisites in composition, social or behavioral science, natural science or math, and humanities or fine arts. Additional prerequisites include 12 credits in anatomy, physiology, and microbiology.

CPTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

San Juan College View School Profile $ Farmington, NM

A public community college in Farmington, New Mexico, SJC offers an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy that prepares graduates to take the Certified Respiratory Therapist and Registered Respiratory Therapist Examinations. Some students use the degree to transfer to bachelor's programs. Graduates may complete their bachelor of science in respiratory therapy online through SJC's articulation agreement with the University of Cincinnati.

The 73- to 77-credit respiratory therapist program admits 18 students per cohort. Learners study topics including community health and infection control, cardiopulmonary pathophysiology and pharmacology, and diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.

To enter the program, enrollees need to complete 11 prerequisite credits in biology, chemistry, and business microcomputer applications. Applicants must also submit official transcripts, a resume, and recommendation letters. Candidates lacking a prior associate degree also submit Test of Essential Academic Skills scores.

SJC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Broward College View School Profile $ Fort Lauderdale, FL

A public college based in Weston, Florida, BC offers an associate of science in respiratory care program at its North Campus in Coconut Creek, Florida. Students participate in internships and receive hands-on training with cutting-edge equipment.

One of the most affordable respiratory therapy programs in Florida, the 76-credit, full-time program takes two years (six terms) to finish. Participants complete supervised clinical rotations that train them for work in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and long-term care facilities.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.8 GPA and complete prerequisites in chemistry, biology, composition, and math.

BC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Mott Community College View School Profile $ Flint, MI

MCC in Flint, Michigan, runs an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy that prepares graduates to diagnose and treat cardiopulmonary patients of all ages. The 73-credit program covers topics like respiratory principles, assessment, physiology, and pharmacology. MCC's program also features a course on multicultural healthcare, as well as several respiratory lab and clinical practice requirements.

Applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA, demonstrate college-level math and reading ability, complete four hours of a job shadowing experience at approved sites, and hold a grade of "C" or better in prerequisite courses. Prerequisite courses include human anatomy, microbiology, and medical terminology. Students may transfer equivalent prerequisites from similarly accredited schools but must earn at least 15 credits at MCC to graduate.

MCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southwestern Illinois College View School Profile $ Belleville, IL

The associate of applied science in respiratory care at SWIC in Belleville, Illinois, qualifies graduates to take the National Board for Respiratory Care's credentialing examinations. The curriculum features general education courses, respiratory care courses, and clinical education experiences at regional facilities.

SWIC students can complete general education courses at the school's Belleville, Red Bud, Granite CIty, or online campuses. However, respiratory care courses only run on campus in Belleville. The program admits 30 students each fall semester. Applicants must submit official transcripts demonstrating completion of chemistry, biology, and algebra coursework. Candidates must also complete a course placement assessment test in English and math.

SWIC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College View School Profile Rome, GA

GNTC offers an associate of applied science in respiratory care at its Floyd County campus in Rome, Georgia. Most graduates take the Registered Respiratory Therapist Licensure Examination and pursue jobs in the field.

The 78-credit program consists of 28 pre-occupational and 50 occupational course credits. Pre-occupational coursework covers general education topics such as composition, math, and humanities. Students also take relevant science courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and chemistry. The occupational curriculum covers topics like pharmacology, respiratory therapy, pulmonary disease, and pediatric respiratory care.

GNTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Edgecombe Community College View School Profile $ Tarboro, NC

Based in Tarboro, North Carolina, ECC offers an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy. Enrollees learn about diagnostic tests, medications, and treatments for heart and lung disease patients. The program emphasizes problem-solving, decision-making, teamwork, and professionalism. Graduates qualify to take both entry-level and advanced respiratory care credentialing examinations.

The 76-credit associate degree in respiratory therapy takes under two years (four full semesters and one intervening summer session) to complete. The core curriculum covers respiratory pharmacology, therapeutics, diagnostics, and pathophysiology. Learners also complete clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities.

Applicants must score at least 62% on the Test of Essential Academic Skills, meet health standards, pass background and drug screenings, and hold a minimum 2.5 GPA.

ECC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Durham Technical Community College View School Profile $ Durham, NC

A community college in Durham, North Carolina, Durham Tech runs an associate of applied science in respiratory therapy focused on teamwork, cultural awareness, and problem-solving. Graduates qualify to take national respiratory therapy licensure examinations.

The 73-credit program requires 18-19 months to finish and boasts small class sizes averaging 16 students. Professional courses cover topics such as cardiopulmonary pathophysiology, therapeutics and diagnostics, and advanced monitoring and procedures. Enrollees also complete two college and career preparation courses, two special practice labs, a patient management course, and five clinical practice courses.

Applicants need a minimum 2.8 high school GPA or successful scores on standardized tests. Enrollees must complete or transfer in several prerequisites, including chemistry, psychology, anatomy and physiology, and writing.

Durham Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

College of DuPage View School Profile $ Glen Ellyn, IL

The respiratory care associate degree at DuPage prepares graduates for certified or registered respiratory therapist examinations and licensure. Graduates can also pursue a bachelor's degree in healthcare management or health sciences through DuPage's articulation agreements with Concordia University and Northern Illinois University.

The full-time, two-year program incorporates key respiratory care courses such as advanced life support, monitoring, and trends. Other courses include science for respiratory care, neonatal and pediatric intensive respiratory care, and advanced clinical assessment and protocol. Enrollees spend two days per week practicing their skills in clinical settings. Learners complete 64-68 credits, including 18-22 general education credits in communication, physical and life sciences, mathematics, and social sciences.

Applicants must attend a mandatory respiratory care advising session and score satisfactorily on reading and math placement tests. They must also demonstrate a minimum 2.75 GPA on prerequisites in math and science. In-district applicants receive admission priority.

DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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