One of the most vital roles in healthcare is caring for a patient’s respiratory system.
From premature babies with underdeveloped lungs to an elderly individual who may have been affected by disease, respiratory therapists work with patients of all ages and conditions. Their goal is to provide the oxygen patients desperately need to live. Therapists also give patients treatments and other resources to improve their quality of life.
ACC offers a two‑year Associate Degree in Respiratory Care. Upon graduation students take their national credentialing exam and can find employment in hospitals, clinics, home healthcare agencies and more.
Their role in the medical field is critical for patients, said Marby McKinney, director of the ACC Respiratory Care program.
“Respiratory therapists are important members of the healthcare team,” McKinney said. “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”
Heather Wylie sought a different career but struggled to determine which route to take. The Alvin mother pursued various options but had not decided until a life changing moment.
When her 8-year-old daughter contracted pneumonia, Wylie watched as respiratory care therapists aided her daughter’s recovery.
“It made me interested in respiratory care,” she said.
Wylie enrolled in the ACC Respiratory Care program and graduated in 2014. She is now working at Memorial Hermann Hospital Southeast.
“It was very interesting work,” she said. “It’s hard work but it is so rewarding.”
“Wylie is a fine example of a student who took to the program and excelled,” McKinney said.
“Heather was a great clinical student,” she said. “She was the recipient of our Clinical Excellence Award.”
ACC strives to provide relevant instruction and materials that students will encounter in the workforce.
“The knowledge and training Wylie received in her courses and in her clinical education have served her well on the job,” she said.
“Everything I learned in class I use at work,” she said.
Respiratory care therapy positions are in high demand according to the U.S. Labor Department. The agency projects that respiratory therapists will see an increase of 19 percent over the next 10 years.
The average median pay for a respiratory therapist is approximately $55,000 per year.
For more information, call 281.756.5610 or e-mail RespiratoryCare@alvincollege.edu.