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Respiratory Therapy Overview

Looking for an exciting and rewarding career that pays well? Check out CVTC’s Respiratory Therapy program and earn your associate degree in two years.

As a respiratory therapist you will evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. You will interview patients, perform limited physical examinations, and conduct diagnostic tests.

In the program, you will learn how to:

  • Assess the cardiopulmonary status of patients
  • Care for patients of all age groups and demographics
  • Perform pulmonary function testing
  • Deliver respiratory care
  • Evaluate and monitor patient responses to respiratory care
  • Provide patient, family, and community education
  • Participate in life support activities in critical care

You will gain the following skills:

  • Patient assessment
  • Critical care skills
  • Effective communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Patient education

The program is a combination of classroom and clinical training. As part of the respiratory therapist training, students will complete a clinical internship, allowing them to apply their education right away.

Career Opportunities

Polysomnography Technician

Respiratory Care Aide

Respiratory Therapist

Graduate Employers

Marshfield Clinic

Mayo Clinic Health System

M Health Fairview

North Memorial Health Hospital


University of MN Masonic Children's Hospital

Just the Facts

Respiratory Therapy
67 Credit Associate Degree

Length of Program //
Two Years

Delivery Method //

Program Location //
Eau Claire and River Falls

Program Location //

Start Months //

Start Dates //

Bloodborne Pathogens
Students in this program should be aware of the risks associated with bloodborne pathogens. Learn more.


Bloodborne Pathogens

Students entering health programs at CVTC should understand the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDs, through saliva and blood with direct patient care as part of their education.

This exposure can be minimized or eliminated using a combination of engineering and work practice controls, personal protective clothing and equipment, training, medical surveillance, Hepatitis B vaccination, signs and labels, and other provisions.

All programs at CVTC comply with local, state, and federal infection control policies, including the use of standard precautions as stipulated by current CDC guidelines. Written policies and instructions on infection control protocol to minimize the risk of disease transmission is provided throughout the courses in the curriculum. Compliance of safety practices is evaluated throughout the students' clinical experiences to ensure a safe educational environment.

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Financial Aid Eligible


Non-Traditional Occupation

Estimated Program Cost 

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 Estimated Total: $13,108

  Earn credit for prior learning! Do you have previous educational or work experience in the field? You could be eligible to receive credit for prior learning. Explore your options today!

Program Courses

These are a few of the courses you can take in the Respiratory Therapy program.

Respiratory Pharmacology
Examines basic pharmacology principles, drug dosage, and calculations. Medications for inhalation including mucolytics, bronchodilators, and anti-inflammatories.

Respiratory Neo/Peds Care
Provides a comprehensive orientation to the field of neonatal and pediatric respiratory care to include fetal development, birth, neonatal physiology, pulmonary dynamics, abnormal cardiopulmonary conditions, diseases, noninvasive and invasive therapeutic interventions.

Respiratory/Cardio Diagnostics
Advanced invasive and noninvasive diagnostic cardiopulmonary procedures including pulmonary function, hemodynamics, and rescue medicine.

Respiratory Therapy Outcomes

CVTC graduates are ready for the workforce. Each year, we send our graduates the Graduate Follow-Up Survey asking where they are working, whether it is in their degree field, and several other questions related to employment. Below are the program outcomes and job data.

// Program Outcomes


100% of our recent Respiratory Therapy graduates got a job in the industry.


Yearly Salary

Our recent Respiratory Therapy graduates reported an average starting salary of $61,381.


Regional Jobs

There are 45 job openings in the CVTC district for the Respiratory Therapy industry.


Credits to Other Institutions

Transfer your CVTC credits to another institution to continue your education. Explore transfer agreements.

Focus On Student Success

I feel more prepared than many grads from other Respiratory Therapy programs that are 4-year degree programs!

Respiratory Therapy Graduate

Related Programs & Certificates

Whether you're looking to continue your learning to another program or to gain continuing education credit, CVTC offers a variety of learning opportunities for students.

Degrees & Diplomas

Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Associate Degree

Medical Assistant, Technical Diploma

Medical Laboratory Technician, Associate Degree

Nursing, Associate Degree

Physical Therapist Assistant, Associate Degree

Surgical Technology, Associate Degree

Continue Your Learning

CVTC can help you achieve your learning goals whether you are looking to advance your career or enrich your personal life.

// Explore Continuing Ed Opportunities

  Unsure of which program you'd like to go into? Learn more about our Career Assessment to help narrow down your options.

A Program You Can Trust

Program Accreditation


The Chippewa Valley Technical College Respiratory Therapy Program, CoARC program number (200476), which confers an Associate of Applied Science, (A.A.S) degree, is located at Eau Claire, WI 54701 and Is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (

View accreditation information. | View program outcome data.