Respiratory Therapy AAS
Students in class

Respiratory Therapy

Associate of Applied Science

PURPOSE: The degree in Respiratory Therapy is designed to prepare students for roles as contributing members of the modern health care team concerned with treatment, management, and care of patients with breathing, cardiovascular, and sleep abnormalities.   

OCCUPATIONAL OBJECTIVES: Occupational objectives include employment opportunities as respiratory therapy practitioners in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, home care agencies, and alternate care sites. The respiratory therapy practitioner will be able to administer gas therapy, humidity therapy, aerosol therapy, and hyperinflation therapy; assist with mechanical ventilation, special therapeutic and diagnostic procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and airway management techniques; and follow therapeutic protocols. The respiratory therapy practitioner works under the supervision of a physician.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: General college curricular admission 

PROGRAM NOTES: The Respiratory Therapy program offers courses in both traditional and distance learning formats. All distance learning courses within the curriculum are classified as distance learning with in-person or proctor requirements. This means that most of the instruction for the course is delivered online and that students will be required to make a limited number of trips to a campus site for labs, presentations, and other class activities or to a community site for clinical or internships. Also, some courses may require proctored testing that can be done at Reynolds testing centers, testing sites at other VCCS colleges, or an approved site outside the state of Virginia. 

In order to complete the Respiratory Therapy program, students will be required to attend both day and evening classes.  

Student Outcomes for the Respiratory Therapy AAS Degree:  Upon completion of the Respiratory Therapy AAS degree, students will be expected to

  • Demonstrate competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) through the National Board for Respiratory Care Self-Assessment Exams and program clinical evaluations;
  • Apply critical thinking to the practice of respiratory care as measured by the NBRC Therapist Multiple-Choice Self-Assessment Exam with a score of 94 or higher;
  • Synthesize theory and clinical practice as measured by the NBRC Clinical Simulation Self-Assessment Exam with a combined score of 274 or higher on decision making and information gathering; and
  • Demonstrate awareness of credentialing, job placement, interviewing, licensure, and professionalism within the field of respiratory care by completing RTH 227-Integrated Respiratory Therapy Skills II. 


  • Fulfill the following prerequisite courses included in the Health Science I Career Studies Certificate (CSC) by the end of the spring semester in the year the student is applying for acceptance into the associate degree.
    • ENG 111, PSY 230, SDV 101, PHI 220, BIO 141, and BIO 142
      • BIO 141 prerequisite requirement: high school biology and chemistry completed within seven (7) years or BiO 101
    • Successful completion of the HESI Admission Test will be required for students applying to the program. After applying to the program, students will receive an email with instructions on completing the HESI Admissions Test.
  • Meet with the program director, director of clinical education or coordinator of distance education before the application deadline to discuss the program and receive the Respiratory Therapy program application for acceptance.
  • Submit a portfolio by February 1 to include a completed Respiratory Therapy program application and transcripts.

ACCEPTANCE INTO THE PROGRAM: Students are accepted into the Respiratory Therapy AAS degree based on completion of the prerequisite course requirements with a minimum GPA of 2.5 or higher (not to include SDV 101 as part of the GPA calculation) and competitive ranking of their pre-requisite GPA. The program director will notify students by June 15 regarding acceptance in the upcoming fall cohort.   

NON-ACCEPTANCE INTO THE PROGRAM: Students not accepted into the program must reapply by the February 1 deadline. Previously submitted portfolios will not be carried over to the next year’s applicant pool.   

ACCEPTANCE INTO CLINICAL COURSES: Students who have been accepted into the program must secure transportation to and from facilities used for clinical experiences. Students enrolled in programmatic clinical rotations shall not receive any form of remuneration in exchange for their work.  In addition, students shall not be substituted for paid staff and/or used simply as back-ups in the absence of appropriate paid staff during clinical rotations. 

Students will be placed in clinical courses (RTH 190 or higher) when they have submitted the following (at the student's expense):

  • Completed physical examination form provided by the program, which includes a yearly Purified Protein Derivative (PPD) and flu vaccination, as well as an immunization schedule, and other clinical forms.
  • Documentation of a current CPR Basic Life Support Certification (American Heart Association), with biennial recertification.
  • Certified background check and drug screening. (Applicants who do not pass the background check and/or drug screening will not be allowed to enroll in any Respiratory Therapy clinical course.) Without completing the clinical component of the program, students will not be eligible for employment as a student or Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP), or for curriculum completion.  

FUNCTIONAL SKILLS REQUIREMENTS: Students entering the Respiratory Therapy program must possess the following functional skills:

  • Sufficient eyesight, including color vision, to observe patients, perform and visualize patient assessments, manipulate equipment, and visually read patient records, graphs, and test results;
  • Sufficient hearing to communicate with patients and members of the health care delivery team, monitor patients using electronic equipment, and hear necessary sounds during operation of equipment;
  • Satisfactory speaking, reading, and writing skills to communicate effectively in English in a timely manner;
  • Sufficient gross and fine motor coordination to exhibit excellent eye-hand coordination and dexterity to manipulate equipment, lift, stoop, and bend in the delivery of safe patient care;
  • Satisfactory physical strength and endurance to be on one’s feet for extended periods and move heavy equipment, patients, and supplies. Sitting, walking, bending, and reaching motions are also requirements for respiratory therapists;
  • Satisfactory intellectual, emotional, and psychological health and functioning to ensure patient safety and to exercise independent judgment and discretion in performing assigned tasks;
  • Time management of multiple priorities, multiple stimuli, and fast-paced environments; and
  • Analysis and critical-thinking skills.  

PROGRESSION THROUGH THE PROGRAM: The college offers this program in affiliation with the health care agencies and practitioners in the communities the college serves. The college relies on its community affiliates to provide clinical education opportunities for its students, expert clinical preceptors, and course instructors for many courses. The often rapid changes in health care law, standards of practice, technology, and content of credentialing examinations increasingly necessitate sudden changes in the program’s course content, policies, procedures, and course scheduling. As a result, the college cannot guarantee every student continuous and uninterrupted clinical and course instruction as outlined in the printed catalog curriculum for this program. Circumstances beyond the control of the college may necessitate the postponement of course offerings or changes in the sequencing and/or location of scheduled courses or clinical assignments. Additionally, the college may have to change the instructor for courses after instruction has started.

CONTINUATION IN THE PROGRAM: A student must obtain permission from the program head to continue in the Respiratory Therapy program under the following conditions:  (1) a grade below “C” is earned in any major course; (2) overall GPA falls below a 2.0 average in any one semester.

RE-ENTRY INTO THE PROGRAM: Students who leave the program for more than two semesters will be required to repeat the program in its entirety, including the background check, drug screen, immunization boosters, physical examination, and a two-step TB or blood test.

CLINICAL CONTRACTS: Individual contracts are in effect with each affiliate clinical agency, and these contracts differ in requirements for students. The general stipulations are as follows:

  • Clinical agencies reserve the right to dismiss a student from their agency at any time with due cause. This will be done with advanced notice except in an emergency.
  • Proper uniform must be worn.
  • Published hospital policies must be followed.
  • Immunizations must be current.
  • The student releases the facility, its agency, and employees from any liability for any injury or death to self or damage to personal property arising out of the clinical agreement or use of the facility.
  • The student is financially responsible for any medical care required while in the clinical setting.
  • The student must have a current American Heart Association Basic Life Support CPR certification for health care providers.
  • A background check and drug screening are required of all entering students.  


Books and Supplies

$850 first semester;
$100 per subsequent semester

Additional Fees:


Self-Assessment Exit Exams

Classmate Software



Identification Badge




RT Document Manager


Background Check and Drug Screening

CB Bridges



Physical Examination


Immunizations and Titers


Travel to Clinical Agencies


Note: The above costs are approximate and subject to change.

PROGRAM EXIT EXAMS: Every student is required to pass comprehensive exit exams before being added to the National Board for Respiratory Care’s electronic eligibility database. The cost of the exams must be paid through the Downtown Campus Bookstore.

PROGRAM ACCREDITATION AND CREDENTIALING: The Respiratory Therapy program is fully accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), Program #200301. The 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.

Graduates of the AAS program are eligible to take the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. Successful completion of the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination will award graduates the CRT (Certified Respiratory Therapist) credential and the possibility of becoming eligible to take the Clinical Simulation Examination. Successful completion of the Clinical Simulation Examination will award graduates the RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) credential. 

After obtaining the minimum CRT credential, graduates must apply for a license in the state they are seeking employment. State licensure is a process overseen by the Board of Medicine. Graduates are therefore responsible for licensure requirements and fees for that state. It is also the responsibility of graduates to maintain their credentials (CRT or RRT) through the National Board for Respiratory Care, Credential Maintenance Program. 






SDV 1011 Orientation to Health Sciences 1


ENG 111 College Composition I 3


PSY 230 Developmental Psychology 3


PHI 220 Ethics 3


BIO 141 Human Anatomy and Physiology I  4


BIO 142 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4


RTH 102 Integrated Sciences for Respiratory Care 3


RTH 110 Fundamental Theory and Procedures for Respiratory Care 3


RTH 121 Cardiopulmonary Science I 3


RTH 135 Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures I 2


RTH 145 Pharmacology for Respiratory Care I 1


RTH 112 Pathology of the Cardiopulmonary System 3


RTH 131 Respiratory Care Theory and Procedures I 4


RTH 190 Coordinated Practice in Respiratory Therapy - NCC I 2


RTH 190 Coordinated Practice in Respiratory Therapy - NCC II 2


RTH 132 Respiratory Care Theory and Procedures II 4


RTH 222 Cardiopulmonary Science II 3


RTH 190 Coordinated Practice in Respiratory Therapy - NCC III 2


RTH 215 Pulmonary Rehabilitation 1


RTH 290 Coordinated Practice in Respiratory Therapy - ACC/NPCC I 2


RTH 290 Coordinated Practice in Respiratory Therapy - ACC/NPCC II 2


EMS 165 Advanced Cardiac Life Support 1


RTH 223 Cardiopulmonary Science II 2


RTH 226 Theory of Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care 2


RTH 236 Critical Care Monitoring 3


RTH 290 Coordinated Practice in Respiratory Therapy - ACC/NPCC III 2


RTH 290 Coordinated Practice in Respiratory Therapy - ACC/NPCC IV 2


RTH 227 Integrated Respiratory Therapy Skills II 2


 Respiratory Therapy Associate of Applied Science  69


1 SDV 100 may be substituted for SDV 101.

Name Program Email Phone
Nakia Austin Respiratory Therapy AAS 804/523-5009
Benny Cherian Respiratory Therapy AAS 804/523-5013
Alicia Jones Respiratory Therapy AAS 804/523-5011


Common Job Titles1: Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Respiratory Therapist; Cardiopulmonary Technician and EEG Tech (Cardiopulmonary Technician and Electroencephalogram Technician); Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT); Clinical Coordinator of Respiratory Therapy; Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT); Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP); Respiratory Therapist (RT); Respiratory Therapy Director; Staff Respiratory Therapist; Staff Therapist

Labor Market Statistics (Richmond, MSA)

Projected Employment (2029): 687

Current Wage Range (Entry - Experienced): $47,300 - $68,300

Common Job Titles1: Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician (CRTT); Pulmonary Function Technician (PF Technician); Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT); Registered Respiratory Therapist (Staff); Respiratory Care Assistant (RCA); Respiratory Director; Respiratory Supervisor; Respiratory Technician; Respiratory Therapy Assistant; Respiratory Therapy Technician (RTT)

Labor Market Statistics (Richmond, MSA)

Projected Employment (2029): 6

Current Wage Range (Entry - Experienced): $29,800 - $64,400

Bright Outlook Bright Outlook occupations are expected to have rapid growth over the next 10-years (employment increase of 10% or more in the Richmond, MSA over the period of 2019-2029) or are expected to have a high demand (projected to have 750 or more job openings in the Richmond, MSA over the period of 2019-2029).

1 This program may prepare you for one or more of the listed jobs; however, graduates may not be qualified for all of the jobs listed in this section.

Reynolds Community College makes every attempt to provide students with the best, most accurate information possible. The data was sourced from external agencies (O*NET and JobsEQ) on January 29, 2020.