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School of health and Public services
Respiratory Therapy

The Respiratory Therapy Program at Catawba Valley Community College was established in 1991. This program offers career education for individuals interested in becoming a respiratory therapist. The respiratory therapist is qualified to assume primary responsibility for respiratory and cardiac care.  The therapist makes patient care decisions concerning the use of life-support systems, oxygen therapy and other breathing treatments. They also perform heart and lung studies. Upon graduation from the therapist program, the student receives the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree.

Graduates of the Respiratory Therapy Program are eligible to apply for admission to take Respiratory Therapy studentsexaminations from the National Board for Respiratory Care. Successful completion culminates in the RRT credential.  This credential is required to become licensed in North Carolina.

Employment settings for graduates of the Respiratory Therapy Program include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, education, industry, and home care.

The department is housed in the Cuyler A. Dunbar Building and departmental facilities include classroom and laboratory facilities as well as ValleySim Hospital and computer lab access. Maximum student enrollment per year is 15.

The respiratory therapy program is designed to be completed in 5 semesters although many students choose to extend their course work over a longer span of time.

The Respiratory Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care

1248 Harwood Road

Bedford, Texas 76021-4244

(817) 283-2835

Outcomes data for the program can be found at

» Suggested Program Sequence (PDF)

» Essential Functions (PDF)

Refer to the Respiratory Therapy Admission Packet (located top right of this webpage) for estimated additional program costs.

Applicants must complete all Minimum Admission Requirements (MARs) each year by March 15 to be considered for admission.  See the Respiratory Therapy Admissions Packet found on the right side of this page for more information regarding admission to the Respiratory Therapy program at CVCC.


2550 US HIGHWAY 70 SE • HICKORY, NC • 28602-8302 • 828.327.7000
Updated 09.21.2015: Respiratory Therapy