CCAC Respiratory Therapy program celebrates National Respiratory Care Week

Article by: CCAC Public Relations
College’s Respiratory Therapy students enjoy 100 percent placement rate following graduation.

PITTSBURGH-Community College of Allegheny County's Respiratory Therapy program will celebrate National Respiratory Care Week, Oct. 22 to 26, with activities designed to promote respiratory health. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, students at Allegheny Campus will staff informational tables in the Milton Hall Rotunda as well as in the Foerster Student Services Center, outside of the cafeteria, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. About 30 students will perform simple diagnostic procedures for fellow students, faculty and staff while educating participants about the profession. Information about the program and the application process will also be available to interested individuals.

Whether it's neonatal pediatrics, geriatrics, emergency care, pulmonary rehabilitation, acute care, home care, sleep or another specialty, the role of a respiratory therapist is to restore and improve lung heath to patients' lives. The profession is ideal for individuals who like helping others and who want an exciting career with good pay and advancement opportunities.

The Respiratory Therapy Associate of Science program at CCAC Allegheny Campus boasts a 100 percent placement rate, according to Richard Laurent, program coordinator, Respiratory Therapy and department chair, Allied Health. Many of the students who will graduate in December already have jobs lined up-and at a starting salary of $24 an hour, their earning potential is strong. Clinical internships occur in Pittsburgh's world class medical centers where many graduates are employed. Graduates of the program also find jobs nationally. 

"These students are getting into this profession at exactly the right time, as the first wave of professionals is retiring," said Laurent, who graduated with the first cohort of the CCAC Respiratory Therapy program in the 1970s. "Right now, they can practically choose wherever they want to work. The fact we have such a great medical community, with an increasing number of facilities in the region, is an asset to the program."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. This is also due to growth in the middle-aged and elderly populations, which will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia.

CCAC offers a Respiratory Therapy day program that starts in the fall, as well as an evening and weekend program for nontraditional students that begins in May, with open enrollment all year. The evening program recruits a lot of individuals who have a degree in another field but who are underemployed or are looking for a career change.

For more information about CCAC's Respiratory Therapy program, contact Richard Laurent at or 412.237.2704.

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