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Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapists work patients that require respiratory and cardiac care. Work settings include hospitals, nursing homes, home care, and clinics.

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 (AAS) 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 CoARC # 200407 is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

Accreditation Information

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.


Important Admission Information

» 2017 Respiratory Therapy Admission Packet (PDF)

» 2017 Respiratory Therapy MARS Student Checklist (PDF)

» Respiratory Therapy Handbook 2014 (PDF)

» TEAS Exam Prep Course Information and Class Schedule

» Student Medical Form (PDF)


Faculty & Staff

Catherine A. Bitsche, EdS, RRT-NPS, RCP Program Director                     

BS, University of Oklahoma
MA, Appalachian State University
EdS, Appalachian State University
(828) 327-7000, ext. 4391


Jason Elder, BS, RRT, RCP
Director of Clinical Education
BS, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
(828) 327-7000, ext. 4083


Questions about Admission?

Please email us at healthcare@cvcc.ed