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Respiratory Therapy

Associate Degree  |  10-515-1  |  1-800-547-2882


General Information

Academic Advising & Student Success

Academic advisors assist students with developing academic plans based on their degree evaluations. Their goal is to plan the right pathway to graduation by maximizing students' potential and ensuring success based on the student’s previous academic experience, career path, and responsibilities outside of being a student. Student success specialists assist students in overcoming barriers that many students encounter over their academic career. Their goal is to help students become academically successful by assisting with goal setting, interpersonal issues, success plans, and community-based referrals. More information can be found on Commons (Student Services & Support).

Academic Support

Free academic help including drop-in tutoring, test preparation, and technology support available online and face-to-face. More information is available on Commons (Student Services & Support).

Financial Aid Consideration

Courses must be part of the student's program to be eligible although some specific courses may not be eligible for financial aid. Students must follow their program requirements to be eligible for financial aid. To be eligible for financial aid, students must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress of a 2.0 Term GPA, 2.0 Cumulative GPA, complete 67% of attempted credits each semester, and complete their program by the time 150% of the published credits have been attempted. 

Students with Disabilities

CVTC welcomes individuals with disabilities. We will provide and coordinate reasonable accommodations for all individuals with documented disabilities. Students that might benefit from accommodations during their college experience at CVTC can contact Diversity Resources at 715-833-6234 or to determine what accommodations they may be eligible for and what documentation may be required.

Title IX Pregnancy and Postpartum

CVTC does not discriminate against any student on the basis of pregnancy or related conditions and will fully comply with Title IX regulations. Absences due to medical conditions relating to pregnancy and maternity leave will be excused for as long as deemed medically necessary by a student's medical provider, and students will be given the opportunity to make up missed work. Students are encouraged to contact Diversity Resources at 715-833-6234 or to set up an appointment as soon as the pregnancy is known.

Pre-Program Information

Students who have pre-program status have been accepted into the college but not into the program. Pre-program status may be granted because the program is filled to capacity, admissions requirements need to be satisfied, or the program start date is in the future. For more detailed information, visit the Pre-Program Health Advisement page.

Criminal Background Check

This is an admission requirement. Students will be provided direction on how to request a criminal background check from a third party vendor. Upon receipt of the criminal background check results, if a student has a criminal history, they will be advised of the possibility of being denied clinical placement. This denial will result in not being able to attend clinical(s) or continue in the program including the inability to graduate from the program. Additional background checks will be required during the student's enrollment in the program based on clinical site requirements. Students will be informed by CVTC if they need a criminal background check renewal.

Program Emphasis

The Respiratory Therapy program is based heavily in science and math with a strong emphasis on the physical structure and function of the human body. Before applying to the program, students are expected to meet with the Academic Advisor. Once accepted as a program student a required interview will be scheduled with the Program Director.

Courses Available to Pre-Program Students

By completing these courses ahead of time, students can decrease their credit load when they reach the highly demanding core program courses and increase their success rate in the program. Students who have General A & P and Microbiology completed prior to program entry have a higher success rate in this program. It is strongly recommended that pre-program students complete ALL general education courses while waiting to enroll in the core program. Completing these courses as pre-program student does NOT mean finishing the program early; program core courses must be taken sequentially.

The courses listed below are available to pre-program students:

  • 834-110 Elementary Algebra w/ Applications*
  • 836-113 Prep for Basic Biology*
  • 836-133 Prep for Basic Chemistry*
  • 543-300 Nursing Assistant*
  • 806-177 General Anatomy & Physiology (HS or college level chemistry with a "C" or better required)*
  • 806-197 Microbiology (806-177 General Anatomy & Physiology is a prerequisite for this course)
  • 501-101 Medical Terminology
  • 801-136 English Composition 1
  • 801-196 Oral/Interpersonal Communication
  • 809-198 Intro to Psychology
  • 809-196 Intro to Sociology

*These courses are admission requirements. If these requirements are not met, students may take those courses at CVTC.

Program Information

COVID-19 Vaccine

Any student who is not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will not be able to be a CVTC Respiratory Therapy Clinical student and will be unable to complete the program per clinical affiliate site guidelines. A student is fully vaccinated when they have completed the regimen of 2 doses of Pfizer, 2 doses of Moderna, or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Technology Requirement

Students are expected to have access to a computer/device with reliable Wi-Fi at home/off-campus. 

Pre-Entrance Health History and Physical Exam

A pre-entrance health history and physical examination must be completed and on file three weeks prior to entering the core courses of this program. The Admissions Office will notify students at the appropriate time with a specified deadline.

Healthcare Prep Seminar

This program requires attendance at a two-day in-person Healthcare Prep Seminar the week before the fall semester begins. Students will be sent invitations to these sessions via email and/or postal mail. Students will get to meet their cohort and faculty, complete CPR training, learn more about the program and resources, and how to be successful in the program.


CPR is taught prior to starting first semester and MUST be maintained throughout the program. Students who step out of sequence will be required to re-take this course in the fall, regardless of their current CPR credential.

Respiratory Therapy Club

The program has an active club with the opportunity to be involved in community service projects, social activities, and professional meetings both locally and at a bi-state Wisconsin-Minnesota conference. 

Clinical Sites

Students will be required to travel for third and fourth semester clinical rotations. Eau Claire students will be required to travel to either Wausau or the Minneapolis - St. Paul area. River Falls students will have rotations in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area beginning in the summer clinical and most of the rotations will be in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area.

National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC)

The primary purposes of the NBRC and its 31-member Board of Trustees are to provide high quality voluntary credentialing examinations for practitioners of respiratory therapy and pulmonary function technology; establish standards to credential practitioners to work under medical direction; issue certificates to and prepare a directory of credentialed individuals; advance medicine by promoting use of respiratory care in treating human ailments; support ethical and educational standards of respiratory care; and, cooperate with accrediting agencies to support respiratory care education.

Certification Examination and Eligibility for the Clinical Simulation Examination to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist

This testing is now one examination which is called the Therapist Multiple choice examination. The Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination is designed to objectively measure essential knowledge, skills, and abilities required of entry-level respiratory therapists, as well as determine eligibility for the Clinical Simulation Examination.

There are two established cut scores for the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination. If a candidate achieves the lower cut score, they will earn the CRT credential. This is the credential that is required in the state of Wisconsin and Minnesota to obtain licensure. If a candidate achieves the higher cut score, they will earn the CRT credential AND become eligible for the Clinical Simulation Examination (provided that those eligibility requirements are met and the candidate is eligible to earn the RRT credential). The CRT and/or RRT credentials are used as the basis for the licensure in all of the 49 states that regulate the practice of respiratory care. The Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination consists of 160 multiple-choice questions (140 scored items and 20 pretest items) distributed among three major content areas: Patient Data Evaluation and Recommendations, Troubleshooting and Quality Control of Equipment and Infection Control, and Initiation and Modification of Interventions. Candidates will be given three hours to complete the TMC Examination. The cost for the exam is $190.

State Licensure

Students will need to apply for a license in the state they intend to practice or seek employment. The criminal background check and an ethics examination are part of this license application. The cost of the license application is the State of Wisconsin is approximately $150.

American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC)

The AARC is the professional organization for Respiratory Therapy that offers a discount for the CRT, RRT, and the Clinical Simulation examinations. Lifetime participation in this organization is strongly encouraged.

Students will have the opportunity to become members of the AARC at $25 per year, and prior to graduation the following opportunities are available to students prior to graduation.

Early Professional Membership for Students

  • To qualify as an Early Professional Member, students must join the AARC prior to their graduation. Members joining after graduation will not be eligible for this program. Respiratory care students enrolled in an AARC recognized or accredited entry-to-practice educational program are eligible for the Early Professional Membership. Persons with NBRC credentials are not eligible to enter the Early Professional program. Each tier of membership is based on the member's join date - not their status in or out of school. We want early professionals to take full advantage of the benefits of AARC membership as early in their career as possible.
  • Early Professional Membership Rates:
    • Year 1 enroll: $25
    • Year 2 renewal: $25
    • Year 3 renewal: $40
    • Year 4 renewal: $60
    • Year 5 and beyond renewal: Active Member Pricing

All graduates must take the Therapist Multiple Choice Examination (TMC), and receive a passing score to obtain the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential to obtain a license. There are two established cut scores for the Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination. If a candidate achieves the lower cut score, they will earn the CRT credential. If a candidate achieves the higher cut score, they will earn the CRT credential AND become eligible for the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE) - provided that those eligibility requirements are met and the candidate is eligible to earn the RRT credential. The CRT and/or RRT credentials are used as the basis for the licensure in all of the 49 states that regulate the practice of respiratory care. The passing of the higher cut score, and the (CSE) success confers on the student the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), credential. This is quickly going to be the entry point to practice, as all employers that hire our students require that credential in 1 year or less of their hire date.

Wisconsin Society Respiratory Care events will be participated in during the program to promote professionalism. All program students will be members of the Respiratory Care Student Club and the AARC.

Last Updated: March 22, 2024 @ 2:27 p.m.

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Printed: 7/15/2024 2:55 a.m.

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