Associate of Applied Science Degree in Respiratory Therapy 

Our Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree with a Respiratory Therapy concentration is designed to train you in the growing field of respiratory care. As a student in this advanced-practice (80 credit hours) program, you will receive the training needed to work as a respiratory therapist in hospitals, home care, and other healthcare environments while taking classes designed for recent high school graduates and working professionals.

This is a unique and rigorous respiratory therapist program, with a structure that somewhat differs from the rest of the curricula St. Augustine College offers; for example, the clinical segment of the program (4th semester and up) includes bilingual courses that meet only on specific times and whose duration is different from the standard 8-week terms. Always ask the Respiratory Therapy Learning Facilitator or other departmental staff for the most accurate, updated information.

*Please keep in mind that this program is 60-70% in-person.

Respiratory Therapy Program Details

At our respiratory therapist school, your training in our respiratory therapist classes will prepare you to provide specialized diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as:

  • Pulmonary function testing 
  • Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Medical gas administration
  • Humidity and aerosol therapy
  • Airway management
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Ventilatory support of neonatal/pediatric and adult populations

St. Augustine’s Respiratory Therapy School prioritizes our students’ long-term success, making sure that you not only graduate from our respiratory therapy program with a credited diploma but also the skills needed for an in-demand career in respiratory therapy. These diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the associates in respiratory therapy degree program include training with equipment in a variety of patient-focused hospital experiences. This respiratory therapy schooling gives you the experience needed for an entry-level job or can be transferable if you wish to continue your RTT education. 

CoARC Respiratory Therapy Initial Accreditation

Our advanced-practice, Respiratory Therapy program holds Initial Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) and comprises six (6) semesters of coursework. Graduates of this AAS degree program are eligible to take the registry examination prepared by the National Board for Respiratory Care to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (R.R.T.).

Skills Learned in St. Augustine’s Respiratory Therapy Program

To adhere to an “outcomes-based” process mandated by CoARC for accreditation, as a graduate of our AAS in Respiratory Therapy degree program*, you will be prepared to demonstrate the following Cognitive, Psychomotor, and Affective skills:

COGNITIVE: Comprehend, apply, evaluate, and recommend didactic, laboratory, and clinical information relevant to your role as respiratory therapists—integrating your general education skills within the lessons you have learned from respiratory therapy schooling.

PSYCHOMOTOR: Effectively and efficiently perform the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures required to fulfill your role, as learned from our respiratory therapist program,  in hospitals, home care, and other medical care environments. 

AFFECTIVE: Demonstrate ethical communication and professional behavior consistent with employer expectations

*The general education core for this degree complies with the guidelines of the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI).

Additional Admission Requirements

In addition to the General Admission Requirements, applicants interested in this rigorous major must meet the following criteria:


Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA): A (GPA) of 2.80 in the following prerequisite courses: AHP 110, AHP 113, BIO 108, BIO 120, BIO 208, ENG 160, ENG 162, CHM 115, MAT 110, and PSY 101. These courses can be taken at St. Augustine.
Mandatory Criminal Background Check: Students who have any concerns about the required background check for this program are encouraged to speak with program faculty in the Respiratory Therapy Department before applying for admission. In compliance with standards set forth by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, and the Health Care Worker Background Check Act, an Illinois state law, individuals providing health care at hospital/clinical settings must submit a certified fingerprint background check. That policy applies to respiratory therapy students getting their clinical training in clinical settings; therefore, prospective respiratory therapy students at SAC must be aware of this requirement before registering for either Pre-respiratory courses or Respiratory courses. A prospective respiratory therapy student must be aware that any prior felony conviction or misdemeanor in their record may impact their ability to provide patient care in the clinical courses, and that the college is required to submit the students’ background check results to our clinical affiliates.


View Full Course List

List of Classes and Credit Hours for AAS Respiratory Therapy

A Different Approach  

With the proper respiratory therapy schooling, you can even go on to receive your bachelor’s in respiratory therapy, which is necessary for students who want to earn respiratory therapy certifications through the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). With this certification, you can earn the following credentials:

  • Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT)
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)

Our approach to collegiate education is to work with you. A flexible schedule, small class sizes, and an accommodating faculty give you the tools needed to succeed in all future endeavors. Starting with receiving an associate degree in respiratory therapy, you can minimize the credits needed to receive your bachelor’s. We are proud to offer education for working professionals who need more flexibility to receive a respiratory therapist degree.


Learn more about our respiratory therapy program below, and how St. Augustine College’s AAS program has helped others.  

Success Stories: As the number one school in Illinois in raising students’ income, and second higher graduation rate than comparable institutions in Chicago, we are proud to present a few of our outstanding students below who have stood out and demonstrated St. Augustine’s dedication to success in the respiratory care program. 

Career & Transfer Center: St. Augustine is not just a college, it’s a launchpad for you and your career after graduating from our respiratory therapist school. Contact our staff to receive assistance related to jobs, interviews, or internships. 

Community: Our community is built on inclusivity and diversity. Regardless of someone’s background, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Why Choose Respiratory Therapy? 

Is respiratory therapy a good career? What does a respiratory therapist do? If you still have questions about just what a respiratory therapist does on a day-to-day basis, and you’re still curious about what a promising future an associate degree in respiratory therapy can offer, read here about the promising career our associate of applied science degree can do for you and your future. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, respiratory therapists are needed now more than ever, and you too could be on the first line saving lives. 

Respiratory Therapy Career Outlook 

This supply and demand is a big deal. The BLS projects that between 2021 and 2031 the number of respiratory therapist jobs nationwide will increase by 14%. The median salary of a respiratory therapist in 2022 is about $70,540.

Data has shown that since the COVID pandemic has hit, there is an even greater demand for respiratory therapists. A respiratory therapy career can be both a prosperous and fulfilling career. On average, new grads will make between $35.00 to $40.00 per hour. Of course, this depends from hospital to hospital and also depends on where in the States (or abroad) you end up working. The average annual respiratory therapist salary in Illinois is around $78,000.00. But certain respiratory therapists can make even more. Traveling Respiratory Therapists will make on average around $90,000 a year according to ZipRecruiter. The BLS is predicting job growth at the rate of 13% from 2022 to 2032, a sign that there will be a high need for respiratory therapists.

Those who received a respiratory therapist associate degree from St. Augustine have made successful careers in the field of Respiratory Therapy, with 100% of all graduates finding jobs with an average starting salary of $70,000 – $80,000.

The American Association for Respiratory Care’s (AARC) Career Center has recently listed the following job openings:

  • Respiratory Educator
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist 
  • Respiratory Therapy Program Instructor 
  • Respiratory Therapist 

And more. With a respiratory therapist degree from St. Augustine, you’ll be well-prepared to join a dedicated workforce of healthcare professionals.

Success Stories

Empowering students to thrive in today’s competitive world.