Student Stories: Niko Claudio

Student Stories: Niko Claudio


Major: Respiratory Care

College of DuPage helped Niko Claudio discover his career.

“I did not have any aspiration to attend a big university after high school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life at the time,” he said. “My high school teachers kept recommending COD so I could take classes while I figure out what I really wanted to do. So when I first came to COD, I didn’t really have any direction except I just knew I was going into health care.”

Claudio didn’t know much about respiratory care until speaking with a counselor, who suggested he attend an advising session.

“After attending and doing a bit of research on my own, I loved the fact that the type of care respiratory therapists provide is specific to the heart and lungs,” he said. “It requires you to be a specialist. Personally, I prefer when the curriculum is more targeted rather than a generalization and overview.” 

Claudio earned his Associate in Applied Science degree, sat for his board exams and is now working at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. He also enrolled in COD’s 3+1 program with Concordia University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Management. 

“It’s still quite early to say what my end goals are in my career,” he said. “In respiratory, there are so many credentials and specialties that you can pursue. I look forward to exploring these possibilities in my field.” 

For students considering COD and the Respiratory Care program, Claudio strongly recommends both. 

“COD is cost effective and provides a great education. They have so many resources, programs and plenty of staff that cares and will help you succeed,” he said. “The Respiratory Care program is tough, like any other health care program, but the instructors prepare you to be a well-adept therapist. They all truly care about your future and will go above and beyond to aid you in succeeding. As much as I wanted to start my career as a respiratory therapist, I was sad to leave the program because I met some great people and made lasting memories with not only my fellow classmates, but instructors as well. 

“COD helped me discover my career. I changed my mind plenty of times, as does everyone in school. The counselors and many of the instructors I had at COD played a big role in assisting me in finding my path.”

More about the Respiratory Care program