Rock Valley College

Respiratory Care Degree

Degree conferred: Associate in Applied Science - 71 credits
Program contact: Program Chair (815) 921-3220

For more information, please email Amanda Lonsway at

Program Overview

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.

Program Goals

 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). 

Program Mission Statement

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. 

Professional Credential & Program Accreditation

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.

Admission Policies

To be considered for admission the applicant must:

  1. Meet all college admission requirements.
  2. Be a high school graduate or have completed the cardio.
  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.)

    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.

  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.

Admission Procedure

Admission is selective and competitive. All required documents must be submitted to the Respiratory Care Program office on or before March 15th 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.

Criminal Background Check & Drug Testing

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.

Standard for Progression in the Program

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.

Program Outcomes

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.

Respiratory Care Course Requirements (51 credits)

Number Title
  RSP-111 Introduction to Respiratory Care
  RSP-112 Patient Assessment
  RSP-113 Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiology
  RSP-114 Clinical Medicine
  RSP-121 Respiratory Care Pract Procedures I
  RSP-122 Resp Care Practices & Procedures II
  RSP-123 Respiratory Pharmacology
  RSP-131 Clinical Practice I
  RSP-132 Clinical Practice II
  RSP-221 Resp Care Practices & Procedures III
  RSP-222 Cardiopulmonary Testing & Rehab
  RSP-223 Resp Care Practices & Procedures IV
  RSP-224 Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care
  RSP-225 Respiratory Care Seminar
  RSP-231 Clinical Practice III
  RSP-232 Clinical Practice IV

General Education Course Requirements: (20 credits)

Number Title
  HLT-110 Medical Terminology
  ENG-101 Composition I
  BIO-185 Foundations Anatomy & Physiology
  BIO-274 Microbiology
Select one for the Speech requirement: 
Number Title
  SPH-201 Interpersonal Communication
  SPH-131 Fundamentals of Communication
Select one course below for the elective requirement:Select one course below for the elective requirement: 

Potential Careers & Wages