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. The 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 vital parts of the health care team. RRT’s actively work to deliver direct patient care with physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals. This includes patient assessment to help guide the treatment, care, education, and rehabilitation of the patient. RRT’s also provide therapeutic treatment and diagnostic (test) measurement of the cardio-pulmonary system. RRT’s are trained to blend human relations skills with technical and scienti c knowledge in order to give the best direct patient care possible. Skills are mastered through classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

Professional Credential & Program Accreditation

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the credential of Registered Respiratory Therapist (cardio).

  • This national exam is administered through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) at
  • The program has continuing accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Respiratory Care (Co-ARC –
  • 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 RRT.
  3. BIO 185 – Anatomy and Physiology with minimum grade of “NBRC." BIO 185 requires BIO 100 or BIO 103 and AARC 110 or higher, with minimum grades of “GED" and must be taken within the last five years. (Other colleges’ Biology course prerequisites may be different than C.)

    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 “MTH” 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) 921-3200.

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.

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: