Respiratory Care

Associate in Science

The Respiratory Care Associate in Science (A.S.) degree at Valencia College is a two-year program that prepares you to go directly into a specialized career as a respiratory therapist.

Respiratory therapists are an integral member of any medical team and serve as life-support specialists who work to restore the heart and lung system to normal function. A respiratory therapist’s main role is to assist physicians in treating patients who experience heart or lung problems and breathing disorders such as chronic asthma or emphysema. Valencia’s program provides a strong base in therapeutic techniques and state-of-the-art equipment, as well as hands-on experience at some of the community’s major medical centers. Through this combined educational experience, students learn to use their classroom knowledge in real-life situations.  Check out this video from the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) on the benefits of a respiratory theraphy profession. 


Program Overview

Review course descriptions, important dates and deadlines and other programs details in the official college catalog.


Program Length

Program lasts for 5 semesters after all of the pre-admission course requirements have been met.


Have Questions?

Our Health Science Advising Office is available to answer your questions, provide details about the program and courses, and to help you understand the admission requirements. Fill out this form to have the program staff contact you.


Average Salary & Placement

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "The median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $60,280 in May 2018."

For more information, follow the link below


Career Center

Explore Health Science related careers, salaries and job listings.


Want more information?

Attend a Health Sciences Information Sessions for an overview of the limited access Health Science programs at Valencia College and the procedures for enrolling in them.

Admission into Respiratory Care


Important Information

Application Information

IMPORTANT: Please be sure to review the Respiratory Care Program Guide to confirm all admission requirements are met before applying.  

Application: Available September 2024                       

Deadline: September 30th, 2024                                            

Begins: Spring 2025

For application questions, please contact us:

Health Sciences Advising

Health Sciences Advising

The advising staff can answer program-specific questions, assist in career and educational planning, and offer expert educational guidance for students seeking career opportunities through the completion of an A.S. or B.S. Degree or a Certificate program.

Location, Hours and Contact

West Campus, Building 1, Room 130
Mon-Thur: 8am-5pm
Friday: 9am-5pm
Summer Hours Friday: 9am-12pm

Steps for Admission to Program

  • 1Attend a Program Information Session. Please bring a copy of the program guide for your desired track with you. If you are not local and cannot attend the information session, review the  program guide and read the Frequently Asked Questions.
  • 2Apply to Valencia College.
  • 3Complete required general education courses before applying to the program.
  • 4Once your transcripts have been received and evaluated, and if you meet eligibility requirements, you can apply to the program.

Learn How To

  • Evaluate and treat patients’ breathing problems
  • Sample blood to test the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and report results to the physician
  • Use a ventilator to pump pressurized air-oxygen mixes through a tube into patients’ lungs

Job Outlook

Respiratory therapists work mainly in hospitals, in the departments of respiratory care, pulmonary medicine or anesthesiology. Other career opportunities are available in medical clinics, physicians’ offices, home care, sales, education, research and consulting. Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and pneumonia.

Potential Careers

  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner

General Respiratory Care Program Information

The Respiratory Care Program started out as a hospital based program at Orange Memorial Hospital in Orlando back in 1968. All students took their academic course work at Valencia Junior College on Oak Ridge Road. All clinical practicum was implemented and carried out at Orange Memorial Hospital (now a division of the Orlando Health Regional Healthcare System).

The Respiratory Care Program at Valencia College has been fully accredited since 1972. In 1977, a Self-Study process for reaccreditation was initiated and, after the on-site visit, corrections were made and the program received full accreditation status. This process was repeated every five years until 2003 whereupon with repeated successful annual reports the program was transitioned to a ten-year cycle.

Today the Respiratory Care Program is considered one of the longest running programs in the country with some of the most excellent facilities available to it for clinical practice. Our affiliates include Orlando Health, Florida Hospital, HCA and other diagnostic & rehabilitation centers. Within Orlando Health we partner with Orlando Regional Medical Center, Arnold Palmer Hospital, Winnie Palmer Hospital, Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, South Seminole Hospital, South Lake Hospital, Health Central Hospital and St. Cloud. Within Florida Hospital we partner with Florida Hospital Orlando, Florida Hospital East, Florida Hospital Kissimmee, Florida Hospital Celebration, Florida Hospital Altamonte and Florida Hospital Apopka. Within HCA we partner with Osceola Regional Medical Center and Central Florida Regional Hospital. Our success is a reflection of these community partners helping to shape the academic experience for Valencia College students.  One such affiliate is the Orlando Regional Healthcare System consisting of Orlando Regional Medical Center, Arnold Palmer, Winnie Palmer, Dr. P. Phillips, South Lake, South Seminole and St. Cloud divisions staffed with very dedicated and competent therapists. The other affiliate is the Florida Hospital System.

The success of our program is reflected in the annual graduation rates, credential rates, job placement rates and graduate & employer programmatic surveys.

The success of the program has been proven by the job placement rate which has been 100% for every graduating class so far with many of the graduates holding at least supervisor status.

Our communities of interest include the local health care facilities, the University of Central Florida, Seminole State College, and our students. The local Health Care facilities offer a wide range of services. Florida is a dynamic state for respiratory care and can be viewed as a broad community of interest. Our citizens’ health care is a primary concern given the number of older people residing here. Respiratory care delivery by professionals is regulated by the Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance, Board of Respiratory Care.

The Respiratory Care program at Valencia College is committed to providing our community with information regarding program outcomes as a continued effort to assess program viability, effectiveness, and success.


The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) has completed verification of the Programmatic Outcomes Data the Annual Report of Current Status (RCS). This outcome data is for Respiratory Care (Program #200152) at Valencia College and is based on a 3 year average.

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.


Respiratory Care is a premier learning program that transforms lives, strengthens the healthcare community and inspires individuals to excellence.


The Valencia Respiratory Care Program is committed to the development of competent, entry-level Respiratory Therapists specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with acute and chronic cardiopulmonary disease. The program strives to graduate therapists to meet the growing needs of the healthcare community. Valencia’s program provides a strong educational base in therapeutic techniques using online courses, a state-of-the art simulation lab, and hands-on experience at some of the community’s major medical centers and physician offices. Students will gain diverse clinical experiences through interaction with physicians, adult, pediatric and neonatal patients. The program emphasizes critical thinking, effective communication, professionalism, collaboration within the healthcare team and the pursuit of life long learning.

Program Goals

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).

Bachelor of Science Degree

Students with a completed Associate degree in Respiratory Care, Cardiovascular Technology, or Cardiopulmonary Technology may continue their education by pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Cardiopulmonary Sciences at Valencia College. The Cardiopulmonary Sciences professions are challenging and growing professions with career opportunities in areas such ascardiopulmonary diagnostics, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, community health, and polysomnography. With professional experience and additional education at the baccalaureate level, opportunities for management and education career options are enhanced.

Frequently Asked Questions

Respiratory Care

Do I need to be a student at Valencia to apply?

Yes. You must complete the admission process to the college before you submit the program application. You can apply online or email if you have any questions.

What courses do I need to take prior to applying?

Please see the  Current Program Guide for detailed information.

Are the prerequisite courses offered online?

Yes, some are offered online, however the lab science courses have limited offerings and may not be available every term.

Do I have to take all the prerequisites at a particular campus?

No, you may take the prerequisite courses at any Valencia campus location. However, if accepted, Respiratory Care courses are only offered on the West campus.

Will my courses from other colleges transfer to Valencia?

Once you have applied to Valencia, you will need to request official transcripts sent from your previous institution. The admissions office will evaluate all transcripts once they are received to determine transfer credit; equivalent courses will be posted in your Valencia Atlas account.

Do I need to take the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) before I apply?

No. The Respiratory Care program does not require the TEAS.

What is the minimum overall GPA to apply to the Respiratory Care program?

You must have a minimum overall college GPA of 2.0 including all undergraduate transfer work. Must be in good academic standing.

How many students are accepted into the program?

The Respiratory Care program accepts 30 students for the Spring term.

Do students in the Respiratory Care program conduct peer-to-peer examinations?

Yes, students in the Respiratory program conduct peer-to-peer exams such as Palpating for pulses at appropriate anatomic landmarks (except femoral pulse which is done on a mannequin), Observe chest wall movement for symmetry, movement, and excursion, Auscultating the chest and back for normal and abnormal breath sounds, Demonstrating therapeutic techniques for breathing, coughing, spirometry, and force.

What are the grooming policies for the Respiratory Care program?

Hair must be neatly groomed and well kept. Finger nails must be trimmed and no acrylic or fake nails are permissible. Perfumes, colognes and scented lotions are not permitted for patient safety and pulmonary complications. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are utilized for a variety of patient care situations when isolation procedures are indicated.

Can students accepted into the Respiratory Care program be exposed to blood borne pathogens?

The Respiratory Care program may have clinical experiences that expose the student to blood borne pathogens via contact with bodily fluids such as blood and saliva. Students accepted into the program will be expected to adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for the use of Standard Precautions. The CDC defines standard precautions as "a set of precautions designed to prevent the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis B virus (HBV), other blood borne pathogens when providing first aid or health care.” Under standard precautions, blood and certain body fluids are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV, and other blood borne pathogens. Students will be expected to adhere to hand hygiene protocols and consistent use of personal protective equipment including masks, gloves and eyewear. In some of the health sciences programs, students may need to conduct peer-to-peer examinations in lab settings.

What is the schedule like if I am accepted into the program?

The Respiratory Care program is a daytime program located on the West campus; its time demands should be considered the equivalent of a fulltime job as in addition to lecture, lab and clinical, students are expected to study between 15-25 hours a week - if a student chooses to work while in the program, a maximum of 15 hours a week is recommended due to the demands of the program. Time management is crucial to successful program completion! The specific schedule can vary from term to term and from year to year.

What are the body art policies for the Respiratory Care program?

Body art must be concealed and clinical site may have policies specific to the institution.

How successful are your Respiratory Care graduates in finding employment?

The five year average Licensure Rate for Respiratory Care graduates is 95% and the five year average Placement Rate for Respiratory Care graduates is 95%.

How many clinical hours are in the Respiratory Care program and what credential would I be eligible to sit for upon successful completion?

Twenty four hours of clinical time is scheduled each week during 3 clinical semesters in 2 twelve hour shifts. Some clinical shifts may vary. Upon completion of the A.S. Degree in Respiratory Care, graduates are eligible to take the Therapists Multiple Choice Examination to earn the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential and then, if eligible, take the clinical simulation to earn the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

Specialty credentials are also available, for those who qualify, that include the Advanced Critical Care Specialty (ACCS), Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT), Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT), Neonatal/Pediatric Specialty (NPS) and Sleep Disorder Specialist (SDS).