Illness, injury, premature birth, and chronic respiratory conditions can rob people of their ability to breathe. A respiratory therapist is the person on the healthcare team who is involved with evaluating, diagnosing, and treating breathing disorders. You’ll work closely with a physician to develop treatment plans to improve respiratory function, and will be responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the treatment. Treatment could include delivery of inhaled medications, use of therapeutic or life support equipment, or a combination of therapies. Your role will also include patient and family education. Instruction takes place in a traditional classroom format, alternating with a total of five clinical rotations in a hospital setting. General education courses are taught in traditional, online, and blended formats. After graduation, students are required to pass an exam issued by the National Board for Respiratory Care in order to earn the designation of Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). After earning the CRT credential, graduates are eligible to apply for a license to practice respiratory care anywhere in the United States. They are also eligible to take the Clinical Simulation Examination to be designated a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).
To view the Respiratory Therapy program’s required disclosure on professional licensure, please click here.
Estimated Program Cost
This program will cost about $10,700* based on tuition and basic program fees. There may be additional fees for books, materials, and testing. For more information on tuition costs, visit the Tuition Page.
* Tuition and fees are subject to change.
- Living responsibly
- Refining professionalism
- Cultivating passion
- Apply respiratory therapy concepts to patient care situations
- Demonstrate technical proficiency required to fulfill the role of a Respiratory Therapist
- Practice respiratory therapy according to established professional and ethical standards
To enroll in the Respiratory Therapy program, first apply for admission to the College, then read the program’s Essential Functions and complete a background check. You can find links to these documents below. In addition, you must complete General Anatomy and Physiology and its prerequisites with a grade of “C” or better. Please see the details below.
- Respiratory Therapy Essential Functions
- Respiratory Therapy Background Check form
- General Anatomy and Physiology Prerequisites
- One year of High School or one term of Developmental or College Biology
- One year of High School or one term of Developmental or College Chemistry
- General Anatomy and Physiology (10806177)
- Contact the Welcome Center to make an appointment to complete your Intent to Enroll Form. Prospective or returning students should meet with an Admissions Coach. Current students should meet with a Health and Public Safety College Advisor.
COVID-19 Vaccination Status
COVID-19 vaccination is not required to attend classes at Western Technical College, however your clinical site now requires proof of completion of COVID-19 vaccination to attend their sites. To prevent any interruption in your clinical/practicum/field classes, we are now requiring you to provide us with your COVID-19 vaccination proof to enter this program.
Software and Technology
Most of Western’s classes require the use of a personal computer or laptop, standard software, internet access, and other technology-related items.
If you do not have a personal computer or laptop, or if the one you have does not meet the following criteria, resources may be available. Submit a Student Resource Request using our online form.
- Smartphones are not recommended for completing assignments.
- Chromebooks are not recommended due to issues with installing software that is needed for classes, such as Office 365.
- Web camera with microphone (usually built into newer laptops or can be purchased separately) is necessary for online participation.
- Western uses the Blackboard Learning Management System. Some courses may use Zoom or Microsoft Teams to meet and work virtually. Visit our website for guidance on how to access and use these tools.
- Office 365 (available to download for free once you have a student email)
- Recommended web browsers: Chrome or Firefox
For detailed specifications, please review Technology and Software Recommendations for Most Classes on Western’s IT Knowledgebase.
- Western has several computer labs available. Visit our website to find open hours and locations on the La Crosse campus. Or find information on how to access resources on our Regional Locations web page.
- The Learning Commons has computers, webcams, and microphones available for in-house use. Our librarians recommend checking your local public library for computer access on the weekends. Staff members can also provide information on free, off-campus Wi-Fi spots. Contact them at LearningCommons@westerntc.edu or call 608-785-9198.
- Contact the Learning Commons! The staff are happy to answer questions, provide individualized assistance, and direct you to other supports as needed.
After graduation, the student is qualified to take the Respiratory Therapist Multiple Choice Examination issued by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). Successful completion of this exam earns the graduate the entry level designation of Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) which is required for licensure in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. After earning the CRT credential students can go on to take the Clinical Simulation Examination which will earn them the title of Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).
The Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com), 264 Precision Blvd, Telford, TN 37690, phone 817-283-2835.
Success rates for both exams, as well as data on job placement are reported annually by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
Program Number: 200365
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. To compare Western Technical College to other colleges in the country, follow this link to the CoARC website: https://coarc.com/students/programmatic-outcomes-data/.
Our Health and Public Safety programs are required to report additional information to prospective students, including certification exams, licensure, program completion rates, etc. You can find this information in the document below:
Program Chair, Respiratory Therapy