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2023 - New ECC program breathes life into the community

Tags: Academics
Published 06/29/2023
A respiratory care therapist treats a patient

A respiratory care therapist treats a patient

Elgin Community College’s newest health professions program, Respiratory Care, focuses on helping people breathe easier. Starting in the fall of 2024, the new program will train students as respiratory therapists and prepare them to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“Respiratory therapists help patients from their first breath of life as newborns to their last breath as they age,” said Wendy Miller, EdD, dean of health professions, math, science, & engineering. “These highly skilled health care professionals work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, and on transport teams.”

Students who complete ECC’s 72-credit hour program will qualify to take the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credentialing exam and become board-certified by the National Board for Respiratory Care.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for respiratory therapists and respiratory care practitioners is expected to increase due to an aging population and the realities of respiratory illnesses. BLS’s 10-year projected growth of 14% is much higher than the average for all occupations.

Students in ECC’s program will enjoy a brand new, state-of-the-art lab space designed to simulate a hospital setting. Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing because of conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for example. Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, cardiopulmonary diagnostic labs, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, transport teams, and home health agencies.

Interested students can apply now. For more information about the program and registration information, visit