Subject Area: Health Sciences
Award: Associate of Applied Science
Minimum Credits: 78.5
Respiratory care practitioners are allied health specialists who play a crucial role within the healthcare team. Working closely with physicians and other health care professionals, they care for patients with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Under the supervision of a physician, they are involved with the assessment, treatment, diagnostic testing, rehabilitation and prevention of conditions that affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Employment opportunities are found in hospitals, clinics, home healthcare agencies, product support and sales, education, rehabilitation and continuing care and health/disease prevention programs.
Graduates with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree are eligible for credentialing exams offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
- Apply for admission.
- Submit official high school, high school equivalency and/or college transcripts to the Admissions Office of the campus you plan to attend.
- Complete ACCUPLACER® reading and writing assessment and ALEKS® math assessment. Testing may be waived based on previous college coursework or submission of valid ACT®, ACT Compass® or ALEKS® test scores. Scores are valid for three years.
In addition to the requirements listed, program applicants must meet the minimum entrance requirement on a basic skills assessment for placement in reading and math. A skill developing activity is available at no cost if you do not meet the minimum requirements on the first testing.
The College has contracted the services of Certified Profile to review and monitor background checks, health records, training requirements and drug testing. Students will submit the following documentation to their website prior to the designated date:
- Background check - includes a nationwide criminal history search and child, dependent adult and sex offender registry checks. Background checks will be evaluated per the College's Background Check policy. Clinical participation is dependent on this evaluation.
- Health records - physical and immunizations (MMR, varicella, Hepatitis B, 2 step TB, Tdap and influenza).
- Training - CPR (American Heart Association HealthCare Provider CPR or American Red Cross Professional Rescuer), mandatory reporter of child and dependent adult abuse, HIPAA and blood borne pathogens.
- Drug testing - prior to clinical participation, random, post incident/accident and suspicion. Students are required to be substance free throughout the program.
- Health insurance - students are required to maintain health insurance throughout the program.
In addition to meeting the above listed requirements, students must maintain these requirements throughout the program. Failure to remain compliant will result in denial for clinical participation. Clinical participation is required for program completion.
You need to be aware of the following physical demands during your clinical education courses. Daily activities require bending, stooping, squatting, reaching, pushing and pulling in all directions. You will be asked to lift and carry objects weighing up to a minimum of 50 pounds and also shared weight. Clinical tasks require use of hands for repetitive action, such as simple and firm grasping, fine manipulation and walking, including stair stepping. You may also be in contact with communicable diseases and chemical/biohazardous materials and odors. You may need to show proof of high school graduation or equivalent prior to taking the credentialing exam.
Classes are scheduled two or three days per week at the Peosta campus. Clinical experiences are scheduled at the affiliate hospitals and home care providers located within a 110-mile radius of the campus. The clinical experience greatly enhances your education. You may work day or evening shifts, and you must provide your own transportation and lodging when necessary. Car pools are considered when making assignments to the clinical areas.
Term 1 Course Title Credits BIO:165 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 3.0 BIO:167 Human Anatomy and Physiology I Lab 1.0 RCP:271 Respiratory Therapy Techniques I 6.0 RCP:320 Respiratory Therapy Science I 3.5 SDV:179 The College Experience 3.0 Term 2 Course Title Credits BIO:170 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 3.0 BIO:172 Human Anatomy and Physiology II Lab 1.0 RCP:460 Respiratory Science II 3.5 RCP:540 Respiratory Therapy Techniques II 8.0 Term 3 Course Title Credits PSY:111 Intro to Psychology OR 3.0 PSY:112 Psychology of Human Relations 3.0 RCP:350 Pulmonary Pathology 3.0 RCP:490 Respiratory Therapy Science III 6.0 Term 4 Course Title Credits BIO:183 Microbiology 3.0 BIO:184 Microbiology Lab 1.0 ENG:105 Composition I 3.0 RCP:600 Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Therapy 3.0 RCP:820 Respiratory Therapy Techniques IV 7.5 Term 5 Course Title Credits HSC:136 Advanced Life Support (ACLS/PALS) 1.5 RCP:831 Respiratory Therapy Techniques V 10.0 RCP:840 Innovations in Respiratory Care 5.5
Note: To graduate from this program, students must complete all required coursework with a "C-" grade or above and earn a minimum 2.0 grade point average.
Students are required to take courses in an online or hybrid format.
With an annual income range of $36,836 - $50,130 and a projected growth of 7.4%, the career outlook for Respiratory Care graduates is growing.
Source: EMSI; Salary range represents 10th percentile - median annual wage for related occupations in the NICC district. Growth rate based on projections from 2016-2020.
Employers of NICC Alumni
CGH Medical Center, Sterling, IL
Finley Hospital, Dubuque, IA
Genesis, Silvis, IL and Davenport, IA
Grandview Hospital, Oelwein, IA
Harmony House Healthcare, Waterloo, IA
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Mayo Health Systems, La Crosse, WI
Mercy Hospital, Clinton, IA
Mercy Medical Center, Dubuque, IA
Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa, Mason City, IA
Northeast Regional Medical Center, Kriksville, MO
Pella Regional Health Center, Pella, IA
Prairie Du Chein Memorial Hospital, Prairie Du Chein, WI
Ringgold County Hospital, Mount Ayr, IA
Santa Rose Hospital, Santa Rosa, CA
St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings, MT
Trinity Medical Center, Rock Island, IL
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA
University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, Madison, WI
Winneshiek Medical Center, Decorah, IA
Sample Job Titles
Certified Respiratory Therapist
Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
Classes are scheduled two or three days per week at the Peosta Campus. Clinical experiences are scheduled at the affiliate hospitals and home care providers located within a 110-mile radius of the campus. The clinical experience greatly enhances your education. You may work day or evening shifts, and you must provide your own transportation and lodging when necessary. Car pools are considered when making assignments to the clinical areas.
The program at NICC is an accredited program through CoARC (Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care).
View the Respiratory Care Policy Manual (2015).
American Association for Respiratory Care (ARC) is a professional membership association for Respiratory Care Professionals and allied health specialists interested in cardiopulmonary care.
Respiratory Care students have the opportunity to utilize the College's Health Simulation Laboratories at the Peosta campus for hands-on learning experiences.
Respiratory Care Clinical Sites
Mercy Medical Center; Dubuque, IA
The Finley Hospital; Dubuque, IA
Medical Associates; Dubuque, IA
Mercy Home Care; Dubuque, IA
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; Iowa City, IA
University of Wisconsin; Madison, WI
Regional Medical Center; Manchester, IA
The Respiratory Care program currently has transfer agreements in place with the institutions listed below. Students are encouraged to speak with their transfer college or university to verify that their planned courses at NICC will meet necessary requirements. Learn more about transferring from NICC.
Respiratory Care Program Director
800.728.7367, ext. 274