The mission of the Mountain Empire Community College Respiratory Therapy Program is to provide competent advanced-level respiratory therapists who demonstrate professionalism while providing excellent care. It will provide the graduates with comprehensive skills to meet the employment needs of health care providers within the MECC service region, the commonwealth, and the nation.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, the student will have demonstrated the ability

  • Demonstrate the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, apply, and problem solve using clinical information relevant to his/her role as a registered respiratory therapist.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform the clinical technical skills relevant to his/her role as a registered respiratory therapist.
  • Exhibit the personal behaviors consistent with professional standards and employer expectations of a registered respiratory therapist.

Employment Opportunities

Respiratory Therapists have job opportunities in hospitals, home care, rehabilitation agencies, nursing homes, emergency transport teams, sleep centers, pulmonary function laboratories, outpatient clinics, and physician offices. Respiratory Therapists sees a diverse group of patients ranging from newborn and pediatric patients to adults and the elderly.

Job opportunities are very good in this region and nationwide. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 21 percent growth in jobs from 2018 to 2028. In May 2018 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the National annual mean wage of respiratory therapists were $62,500 and Virginia had an average annual mean wage of $60,200.

Program Requirements

An academic advisor will review your preparation in Mathematics and English with you. You’ll be guided to appropriate preliminary coursework to give you the greatest chance of success in this program. In addition to the general admission requirements of the College, this program requires a high/home school diploma or GED. High/home school courses must include one unit of algebra 1 and one unit of laboratory science with a C or above. If courses were not completed in high/home school with a C or above, they must be completed in college. The student’s high/home school and any college work attempted must reflect a minimum of “C” average.

To apply to the program, please complete the Respiratory Therapy Program Application online. If you are a new student or have not attended classes within the past year, you will also need to complete an Application for Admission to the College. Respiratory Therapy classes begin in the summer semester each year. Applications are accepted from August 16th to May 1st for each class starting in June. A selection process is utilized to choose applicants for each year’s program as each class is limited to a maximum of 20 students.

After the class has been filled, the remaining applicants will be placed on an alternate list. Should an admitted student not accept his/her position, applicants on the alternate list will be admitted into the program through the last day of registration for the summer classes.

Applicants who do not meet all the prerequisites will remain on the pre-respiratory list until all prerequisites are documented. Upon completion of the prerequisites, the applicant will be considered for admission to the program. If all the positions are filled, the applicant will be added to the alternate list.

A new Respiratory Therapy Program Application must be submitted for each year you wish to be considered for admission to the Respiratory Therapy program.

Additional Information

Accreditation and State Approval

The MECC Respiratory Therapy Program, CoARC program number 200453, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)

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.

Programmatic outcomes data reported on the CoARC website include:

  • 3-year time period being reported
  • TMC high cut score success
  • RRT credentialing success
  • Retention
  • Job Placement
  • Overall graduate satisfaction
  • Overall employer satisfaction
  • Total number of program enrollees
  • Total number of program graduates
  • Maximum annual enrollment

See MECC’s Programmatic Outcomes

Licensure Meets state educational requirements for licensure Does not meet the state educational requirements for licensure MECC has not made a determination on licensure reciprocity


AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY *AK – Currently do not have a state licensure for RT http://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing.aspx

Sources cited:

Further information regarding RT state licensure requirements may be found at:  http://www.aarc.org/advocacy/state-society-resources/state-licensure-contacts/

Statement for the Respiratory Therapy program (RT):

Pursuant to United States Department of Education (US DOE) regulation 34 CFR 668.43 (a) (5) (v), the Mountain Empire Community College Associates Degree in Respiratory Therapy (RT) program provides the following information for all prospective and current students:

The Mountain Empire Community College RT program meets all the requirements of the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) and remains in good standing with this national accrediting body. All students upon successful graduation from the program are eligible to sit for their national boards through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). This program accreditation and national board credentialing will allow graduates to obtain licensure in 49 of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Alaska currently does not have a state licensure mandate for RT. But the graduate would still be able to obtain employment in Alaska upon completion of this program.

Licensure endorsement is available in 49 of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Mountain Empire Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

About Our Program

The Associate of Applied Science degree in Respiratory Therapy is designed to prepare selected students as competent Registered Respiratory Therapists and to serve as members of the health care team. As a graduate, you are eligible to take the Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) examination and the Clinical Simulation examination to be credentialed as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).

Criminal Background Check/Drug Screening

Background checks for criminal history and sex offender crimes against minors are required for entrance into clinical agencies. Students with convictions may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not complete the program. Clinical agencies may require drug testing prior to placement of students for clinical rotations. Students with positive drug test results may be prohibited from clinical practice and may not complete the program. Cost of criminal background checks and drug testing will be the responsibility of the student. Proper uniform must be worn when participating in clinical activities.

Physical Demands

Physical demands in this program include duties that frequently require walking, bending, reaching and lifting; pushing and pulling with assistance and occasional carrying. Duties also require constant use of acute sense of sight, hearing, touch, and speech.

Financial Requirements

In addition to the usual college tuitions and fees, the Respiratory Therapy program requires: uniforms, books, liability insurance, CPR certification, criminal background check, and miscellaneous equipment. Costs for drug screens, if required by clinical facility, are the responsibility of the student. Students are also responsible for transportation to and from the college and health agencies used for clinical experience.

Opportunities for Advancement

Opportunities for advancement are excellent for those willing to continue their education and training. Individuals who display leadership, team-building skills, self-confidence, motivation, and decisiveness become candidates for promotion.

Program Progression

Students are required to repeat a RTH or NAS course in which a grade lower than “C” is received before progressing to the next course or graduating from the program. All electives must have a grade of “C” or above.

Special Consideration

Students accepted into the program are required to submit a health certificate signed by a duly licensed physician, physician’s assistant, or registered nurse practitioner and should include: documentation of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) exposure or inoculations; TB skin testing or chest x-ray for previously positive TB results; and overall general health of the applicant.

For Further Information, Contact