Respiratory Therapist Admission & Application | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Admission into NWACC's respiratory therapist program entails a number of requirements and recommendations. Please read all information before submitting an application.

Important Information:

  • View all the admission, application, selection criteria and other information listed below before applying. 
  • You will need to apply to be an NWACC student before completing the respiratory therapy application. Please view the "How to Apply" section below.

  • Be sure that you have taken all the prerequisite courses required to be admitted into the respiratory therapy program. See "Admission Information" below to learn more. 

  • Application period is open March 1 - July 1. All application materials must be received on the designated deadline date and time. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, then it will be the following business day.

Program Admission Process

Please read all of the information below before applying to the respiratory therapist program.

The program administrator and faculty, in cooperation with appropriate institutional personnel establish admissions procedures which are non-discriminatory, contribute to the quality of the program, and allow selection of students with potential for successfully completing the program. 

There is an established admissions committee which includes the program administrator and an advisory selection committee.

Before applying to the respiratory therapist program, please review the following admission requirements and recommendations.

  1. You must have the ability to communicate safely, accurately, and effectively in both written and spoken English.  If English is your second language, you are encouraged to enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) to enhance your success.
  2. Overall GPA 2.5 or better
  3. Submission of an application does not guarantee acceptance.
  4. Official transcripts from all other institutions attended must be submitted and on your student record by May 1st.  If the transcript information is not displayed in My NWACC and official transcripts have been submitted to NWACC, contact the Health Professions advisor or Enrollment Support.  
  5. The following courses MUST completed with a grade of "C" or better, by the end of the first 8-week session of summer semester (see coursework):
    • Anatomy & Physiology I and II
    • Microbiology
    • Intro to computer information OR Electronic Health Records
    • English Composition I
    • Intro to Medical Terminology OR Medical Terminology for Health Sciences
    • Survey of Technical Math or College Algebra

How to Apply

NOTE: Before applying to the Respiratory Therapist Program, please review the the admission information section above.

1. Apply for admission to NWACC - If you are not currently enrolled at NWACC, you need to apply for admission to the college in addition to applying to the respiratory therapy program. Apply now to NWACC.

2. Complete the online respiratory therapist application.

The following outlines how the selection criteria points are calculated to rank students applying to the program.

Selection of students into the RT program is based on a point system. Students with the highest total points are selected for admission.  It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all eligibility requirements have been met.

  • Required science courses
    • A=4 pts
    • B=3 pts
    • C=2 pts
  • All other required general education courses
    • A=3 pts
    • B=2 pts
    • C=1 pt
  • Interview - up to 20 points possible
    • The RT program will contact each applicant to schedule the interview after the application deadline
    • Applicants are encouraged to treat the interview as a job interview.
    • Only qualified applicants will be interviewed

Only qualified applicants will be interviewed by the admissions committee after the application period closes. Applicants will be contacted by email or phone to schedule the interview after the application period closes. Applicants are encouraged to treat the interview as a job interview. 

The selection committee will notify applicants to the respiratory therapy program by NWACC email after the completion of the Summer I semester final examinations. Please DO NOT contact the Respiratory Therapy department or Health Professions divisions concerning your application or standing.  Attached to the acceptance notification will be an acceptance form, which must be completed and returned by the due date on the form. 

The program accepts a maximum of 16 students a year.  The program maintains an alternate list, and qualified applicants will remain on the list until the first day of classes of the fall semester.  If an applicant declines or forfeits their position, the top scoring alternate will be offered the position and will continue until all positions are filled.  Please DO NOT contact the Respiratory Therapy department or Health Professions divisions concerning scoring or standing.

Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to:

  • Submit the program acceptance form from applicant's notification email.  (Failure to return the form by the due date will forfeit the position and another applicant will be awarded the position.)
  • Monitor your email for class registration information

The alternate list:

  • Applicants placed on the alternate list will be notified of their status at the same time the acceptance emails are sent.
  • Alternates will remain on the alternate list until the first day of classes in the Fall semester. 
  • If a program applicant declines or forfeits their position, the top scoring alternate will be offered that position. 
  • The Program Director will continue offering positions to the alternates (according to scores) as openings are available until the class is filled or Fall classes start.  
  • Alternates are encouraged to check their NWACC email daily for open positions, as alternates offered a position may have as little as 24 hours to return their acceptance forms.
  • If an alternate is not called for admission by the first day of Fall classes, that applicant must reapply in the application cycle. 

Non-native speakers of English, seeking admission into Health Professions programs are required to complete an ESL Listening Test. Students can receive more information and/or schedule to take this test through the NWACC testing center, 479-619-4354 or visit 

The ESL listening test is designed to assess a student’s ability to understand Standard American English. A score of 92 or higher on the COMPASS ESL listening test (taken within the last three (3) years) OR a score of 120 or higher on the Accuplacer ESL listening test is REQUIRED for NNSs students seeking entrance into Health Professions Programs at NWACC.

The minimum score or higher indicates the ability to understand linguistically complex discussions, including academic lectures and factual reports. NNSs students seeking career paths in Health Professions scoring below the minimum will need to retest and successfully pass by July 1st.

View additional information below regarding possible prohibition of taking licensure, registry and certification examination for health professions students.

Individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, have been involved with or convicted of illegal drug use or substance abuse, or who have been declared judicially incompetent, may not be allowed to completed the clinical requirements for the degree or obtain a medical licensure even with successful completion of the degree requirements. The licensing board may not grant the graduate’s medical license resulting in the inability to obtain a license and therefore the inability to practice as a Respiratory Therapist. Applicants who have any questions about their admissibility to the Health Professions programs may contact the Director of each department for further information or the Health Professions Academic Advisor.

Excerpt from the Medical Practice Act: 17-95-307. License eligibility: No person shall be eligible to receive or hold a license to practice medicine or another health care profession issued by the Arkansas State Medical Board if the person has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere or has been found guilty of either an infamous crime that would impact his or her ability to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas or a felony, regardless of whether the conviction has been sealed, expunged, or pardoned.

Excerpt from the Medical Practice Act: 17-95-308. Waiver. (a) The requirements of § 17-95-307 may be waived by the Arkansas State Medical Board upon the request of: (1) An affected applicant for licensure; or (2) The person holding the license subject to revocation. (b) The board may consider the following circumstances when considering a waiver, including, but not be limited to: (1) The age at which the crime was committed; (2) The circumstances surrounding the crime; (3) The length of time since the crime; (4) Subsequent work history; (5) Employment references; (6) Character references; and (7) Other evidence demonstrating that the applicant does not pose a threat to the health or safety to the public.  (Arkansas State Medical Board. (2018). retrieved from:

An advanced placement student as defined by the CoARC Policy and Procedure Manual is a student entering the program on or after the initial enrollment date for a cohort with prior experience, transfer of respiratory care credits from another institution, and/or credentialing in health care that leads to transfer credit. Examples of AP students include graduates of CoARC accredited CRT-only programs with or without the CRT credential.

Prospective students with the CRT credential will be considered for advanced placement on a case-by-case basis if space is available in the class. The prospective student must pass the National Board for Respiratory Care Exam at the CRT level to be admitted to the second year of the program. Previous respiratory therapy (RESP) coursework will be evaluated by the respiratory therapy program faculty to determine its equivalency to related coursework at Northwest Arkansas Community College. The applicant must also take and pass a comprehensive final for each RESP course with at least a 76% to receive credit.

To apply for advance placement, the applicant will:

  • Complete respiratory therapy application
  • Meet with Program Director and Director of Clinical Education to determine eligibility and an appropriate entry-point into the program
  • Provide documentation as required


Transfer students will be considered on a case-by-case basis if space in the class is available. Prior to enrollment in any RESP course, the student must pass, with a 76% or higher, a comprehensive final exam for all RESP courses the applicant is to receive credit for.

To apply for transfer, the applicant will:

  • Complete respiratory therapy application
  • Meet with Program Director and Director of Clinical Education to determine eligibility and an appropriate entry-point into the program
  • Provide documentation as required



Application Period: Opens March 1 - July 1

The Respiratory Therapist application and all required materials must be submitted by midnight on July 1 in order to be considered.

Application Opens March 1

NOTE: If you are not a current NWACC student, you will need to apply for admission to the college first and then apply to the Track II Accelerated - Benton County program.

Note: Students who will be attending clinical rotations while enrolled in a professional program at the Center for Health Professions will be required to have a drug screen performed, either prior to admission, or prior to attending clinical rotations. Students who test positive for drugs (including medical marijuana) will be denied access to the clinical rotations and will consequently be either denied acceptance into the professional program or dismissed from the professional program.