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Help Others Breathe Easier as a Respiratory Therapist

Make a meaningful difference in people’s lives by providing medical treatment and breathing comfort as a respiratory therapist. Start your career with STLCC's accredited associate in applied science (AAS) Respiratory Care degree program. 

High demand and high-paying healthcare profession (14% projected growth through 2031 - Bureau of Labor & Statistics)

Work with the most up-to-date technology to care for a variety of patients, from neonates and pediatrics to adults.

#36 in Best Jobs and #15 Best Healthcare Job  (US News & Report)

100% Graduate and Employer Satisfaction

TMC High Cut Score and RRT Credentialing:

  • 100% TMC High Cut Score for a 3-year average
  • 97% RRT Credentialing for a 3-year average - this has led us to four years in a row receiving the CoARC Distinguished RRT Credentialing Award

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What is Respiratory Care at St. Louis Community College?

Get a top-notch education from experienced faculty who are passionate about your success. STLCC's accredited associate in applied science respiratory care program is one of the oldest entry-level programs in the country and has been awarded the prestigious Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care Distinguished RRT Credentialing award 4 years in a row. 

Gain valuable practical experience as you spend almost 900 hours with patients in various healthcare settings, applying your skills in real-world situations at local teaching hospitals.

Hone your respiratory therapist abilities using our advanced facilities equipped with the latest technology to provide realistic clinical experiences. Our small lab sizes allow for personalized attention.

You’ll be well-equipped to take the National Board for Respiratory Care Entry-Level Respiratory Therapist Examination. Our 3-year average passing rate is 100%. STLCC's respiratory care program is also one of the most affordable in the region, providing an excellent return on your investment.

“I don’t think I could have attended a better program to prepare me for my role as a respiratory therapist.” Mathew Hoff, AAS Respiratory Care, Class of 2022, Registered Respiratory Therapist at Barnes Jewish Hospital

Pathways Illustration

What Can You Do with a Respiratory Care Associate Degree?

The career outlook for respiratory therapists is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

The AAS degree in respiratory care equips you to take the Registered Respiratory Therapist exam and work in a variety of settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Home healthcare agencies

Graduates of STLCC's respiratory therapy program are highly sought after by employers. Our program's reputation for excellence inspires many local hospitals to hire student assistants in their respiratory therapy departments. These positions often transition seamlessly into full-time employment upon graduation.

For more information about the respiratory care profession, visit the Be An RT website and the More RTs website

AAS in Respiratory Care

Tuition for district residents is $122 per credit hour for in-district students and $125 for all out-of-district students. Find out more about our straightforward and low-cost tuition structure.

In addition to your tuition and fees, you can expect to spend the following amounts on the listed items.

  • ~$1,000 for textbooks
  • $300-350 for supplies (lab coat, scrubs, stethoscope, second-hand watch, personal protective equipment, etc.)
  • $13.80 for a criminal background check (price increases with additional residences)
  • $28.80 for drug testing
  • $27.50 for compliance tracking through Castlebranch
  • Physical examination and immunizations (cost varies)
  • $69 for American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support course at STLCC
  • $300-350 for American Heart Association ACLS course
  • $150 for Trajecsys Clinical Tracking System
  • $25/year for AARC Early Professional Membership

Admissions Requirements

Prerequisites to Apply to the Program

The Respiratory Care program is a selective program in which prerequisites are required in order to apply. These include the following:

  • English and Reading proficiency
  • Math proficiency: students must either place into MTH 160 OR complete MTH 140 or higher with a “C” or higher within 5 years
  • Chemistry: students must have completed two semesters of high school chemistry with lab OR one semester of college chemistry with lab (STLCC CHEM 101 or higher) with "C" grade or higher within 5 years
  • Anatomy & Physiology I (STLCC BIO 207) completed with a "C" or higher within 5 years
  • Anatomy & Physiology II (STLCC BIO 208) is a prerequisite to the first semester of respiratory care courses, but it does not have to be completed in order to apply
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher

Respiratory Care Program Requirements Checklist


Applying to the Respiratory Care Program

STLCC’s Respiratory Care program is a selective admission, college level program.

Each year 25 students who meet the application requirements are accepted on a first come/first serve basis.

Students are encouraged to take as many general education courses as possible prior to starting the first semester of respiratory care coursework.

Academic Advising

Prior to application, students are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor to help plan courses and clarify program requirements.

Admission Process

When a student has met all program requirements for application, the student must meet with an academic advisor to complete an application. Applications are submitted to the Program Coordinator Lindsay Fox at STLCC-RespiratoryCare@stlcc.edu and are accepted on a continuing basis. Students will be notified via email on the status of their application. Acceptance to the program will be conditional upon the onboarding requirements that include attending a mandatory orientation in the summer and completion of a background check and drug test. Once students complete the onboarding requirements, the admissions office will process a "Change of Program" form allowing students to register for fall respiratory care classes.

Applicants entering the fall semester must attend a mandatory orientation session that will be held in June.
  • Information about the orientation will be sent via the student’s my.stlcc.edu email.
  • Once students complete the mandatory orientation, the admissions office will process a "Change of Program" form allowing students to register for fall respiratory care classes.
  • Eligible applicants not admitted due to space availability will remain on the admissions waitlist and will receive notification via their my.stlcc.edu email with a request to reply with their intentions to continue to be considered for admission to the program in the future. Failure to respond to this email by the deadline given will result in removal from the waitlist.

Program Goal and Outcomes

The overall goal of the Respiratory Care program is to prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).

The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (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. The information on outcomes of all accredited programs can be found at https://coarc.com/students/programmatic-outcomes-data/.

Check All Program Requirements

Why You Should Choose STLCC's Respiratory Care Associate Program

Respiratory students working with patient mannequin

Expert Instruction From Experienced Faculty

Our faculty are experienced respiratory therapists who are passionate about teaching and helping students succeed.

Student in the clinic

The Latest Technology Builds Your Expertise

Our facilities provide realistic clinical experiences with technology you’ll encounter in real-world treatment situations.

Student applying respiratory equipment to patient mannequin

Affordable Excellence

STLCC's respiratory care program is one of the most affordable in the region and offers a variety of scholarships.

Faculty member demonstrates on patient mannequin

Real-Life Practice and Career Focus

Experience approximately 900 hours of clinical rotations in local hospitals, allowing you to explore various work settings and potential respiratory therapy career paths. 

Come as you are. See what you become.

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