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Respiratory Therapy

Associate of Applied Science

respiratory therapy student works on a patient simulator in TCC’s state-of-the-art-facilities

Be part of one of the most rewarding, in-demand fields in health care

Learn in TCC's state-of-the-art facilities and on the job

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If you have a passion for helping others and want to be in a growing field with a balanced blend of technology and patient interaction, consider becoming a respiratory therapist at Tidewater Community College.

Respiratory therapists evaluate and monitor the heart and lung functions of patients, enabling them to breathe better. As an integral member of the health care team, you might treat premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed, teens struggling with asthma or elderly people suffering from lung disease.

Course work focuses on:

  • cardiopulmonary science
  • patient assessment
  • equipment and procedures
  • pharmacology
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • ...and much more!

You will learn in a state-of-the-art high-fidelity simulation laboratory and classroom that allows students to make critical decisions and develop their problem-solving ability with immediate feedback from faculty.

As part of their training, students have clinical rotations in every major health system in Hampton Roads, including Sentara, Bon Secours, Chesapeake Regional, Lake Taylor Transitional Care and Riverside. No wonder TCC's program is nationally accredited.

Graduates find immediate employment in hospital emergency rooms, intensive care units, outpatient clinics and home health care facilities.

Certify your skills

Earn valuable industry credentials! Course work qualifies students to sit for the Registered Respiratory Therapy Exam

View program curriculum
Admission Forms and Information

Your acceptance as a Tidewater Community College student does not guarantee admission to most TCC health profession programs. We want you to be aware of these additional requirements and important information for this program.

Admission to this program is competitive. Download TCC Respiratory Therapy program admission packet for more information.

If you are a new TCC student, begin your journey by applying for admission and financial aid. On your application, indicate that you intend to pursue the Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy.

As a prospective health professions student, you must also:

1. Attend a mandatory information session, which is held the third Thursday of each month at 3 p.m. (except December) at the Regional Health Professions Center on the Virginia Beach Campus.

Topics covered are general information, admissions process, prerequisite courses, selection process, curriculum, hands-on learning in clinical settings, provisional acceptance requirements and more. Faculty and staff will be available to answer your questions.

2. Complete and submit the Health Professions Program Application by January 15 for summer admission. Include unofficial transcripts from previous colleges you have attended.

3. Make sure you receive appropriate transfer credits from previous college studies and work experience.

Additional requirements

1. Placement into Math Essentials (MTE) 6 or higher, based on the results of your Virginia Placement Test (VPT), or completion of MTE 1-5.

2. Completion of the following courses with grades of C or better. More points are awarded for higher grades.

  • Biology (BIO) 141 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • English (ENG) 111 College Composition
  • Student Development (SDV) 101 Orientation to Health Care

3. Personal interview with program head Denise Bieszczad for qualified candidates, based on the number and quality of applicants.

Recommendations for application

Completion of the following courses with grades of C or better:

  • Biology (BIO) 142 Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Health (HLT) 143 Medical Terminology
  • 1 humanities elective
  • 1 social sciences elective

After you’ve been accepted:

1. Submit the Health Professions Physical Examination Form showing satisfactory health status based on a physician’s exam within the previous 12 months.

2. Submit your immunization record showing you have met Virginia’s requirements for health care personnel.

3. Submit documentation of a negative TB test

4. Complete a criminal/sex offender background check prior to working at any clinical facility.*  Order your background check here.

* Tidewater Community College does not assume any responsibility for obtaining or evaluating the results of a criminal background check, drug screen or other check, maintaining the records of results or for delivering them to clinical sites. It is the decision of the clinical affiliate (health care or medical facility) whether a student will be allowed to participate in clinical activities should there be positive criminal or sex offender results. 

What does this program cost?

You can complete an entire associate degree for less than the cost of 1 year at a 4-year college or university.

TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy consists of 6 semesters of full-time study, with classes held mainly at the Regional Health Professions Building on the Virginia Beach Campus and clinical sites.

Estimated Program Cost*:
67 credits x $185.35 per credit = $12,418.45 (not including textbooks and supplies)
*Based on Fall 2018 in-state tuition. Your actual cost may differ.

Additional costs: Required software (DataArc CD-ROM), recommended textbooks, uniforms, stethoscope, state and regional educational meeting fees and student membership in the national association for respiratory care.

Program Goal

To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skill), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs)

More about accreditation

CoARC assesses programmatic outcomes using performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.

Programmatic outcomes data reported on the CoARC website include:

  • 3-year time period being reported;
  • CRT credentialing success;
  • RRT credentialing success;
  • Attrition
  • Job placement
  • Overall graduate satisfaction;
  • Overall employer satisfaction;
  • On-time graduation rate;
  • Total number of program enrollees;
  • Total number of program graduates;
  • Maximum annual enrollment

See TCC's programmatic outcomes

Where can you go?

Most respiratory therapists find jobs with an associate degree. You can transfer to a four-year school to work toward your bachelor of science in respiratory therapy, which qualifies you for education, research or management positions.

TCC's associate degree transfers into Old Dominion University's bachelor's degree program in health sciences and the University of Virginia's bachelor of professional studies in health sciences management. The U.Va. program is part time and offered almost entirely online.

Is this program for you?

Yes if you:

  • have an aptitude for science and math
  • have excellent communication skills
  • have great attention to detail
  • enjoy working with patients
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Veterans, transitioning military, spouses and dependents: TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education provides academic guidance and help in maximizing your GI Bill® and other educational benefits.

Learn more about the CMVE

Fanned-out money

Tuition assistance such as financial aid, scholarships, work-study, grants and loans can help you save money and reduce college debt.

Learn more about paying for college

Nearly 100% of students pass the Registered Respiratory Therapy Exam, the highest level of credential

Most students are hired before completing the program

Clinical rotations at every major health system in Hampton Roads

Program spotlight video

Earning potential high and jobs plentiful in rewarding field of respiratory therapy

National accreditation

The TCC Respiratory Therapy Program, COARC program number 200275, awarding an Associate degree in Applied Science on the Virginia Beach Campus, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. 

Alumni profile video

Alum David Grooms started his dream career thanks to TCC's respiratory therapy program

* Salary estimate is provided for comparison purposes only and doesn’t constitute a promise of employment or earnings. Salaries were calculated based on related job codes and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.