JACKSON – The Respiratory Care Technology program at Hinds Community College is a gateway to a rewarding career in the medical field with specializations that can build a student’s resume’ from the first day of class – and build earnings potential beyond college and into the workplace.
Respiratory therapists are known for starting CPR and being in charge of life support systems. But, they do so much more, thanks to rapid advances in technology. They deliver therapy for heart and lung ailments, perform diagnostic procedures such as cardiopulmonary function and sleep studies. The job market for Respiratory Therapists has also expanded beyond the acute care hospitals, and therapists can find jobs in home health, long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, physician’s offices, and sleep disorders clinics.
Excellence in each technological advance is evident among program graduates when they enter the workforce, said Driscoll DeVaul, director of respiratory care at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and 2002 graduate of the program. The department is the largest of its kind in metro Jackson.
“The Hinds Community College Respiratory Care Technology Program has well prepared me for an exciting career as a healthcare clinician and leader,” DeVaul said. “The invaluable clinical instruction received has given me the tools needed to perform as a strong clinical resource in providing the best respiratory care possible.”
Jeff Cooper already holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and worked as a research technician studying cystic fibrosis. He is now enrolled in Hinds’ program and is on track to earn his licensure in 2019.
“Hinds Respiratory Care Technology program was the first and only choice to look at,” he said.
“It was the only choice because the statistics of the program speak for themselves. Hinds has nearly a 100 percent passing rate on the boards and I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of to continue my love of learning of the respiratory system.”
Academically and in the industry, the program has as stellar a reputation as any health-related area of study at Hinds.
“While our program curriculum is rigorous,” said Therese Winschel, director of the program since 2015. “Our faculty members are dedicated to educating and training our students to attain their national registry credential and achieve success in their new careers. In addition, we are here for our students post-graduation whether it be to facilitate job placement or to help them continue their education. Our program has an articulation agreement with UMMC that enables our graduates to complete a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences.”
Students are trained by those who have worked in the industry, one that demands sound judgment and expertise with the latest equipment. In quite a few cases, students have become well-respected in the industry in only a few years.
Danielle Gipson, a 2018 graduate of the program, already has hit the ground running in her career, as a staff therapist at Batson Children’s Hospital.
“It has been my goal to take everything that I learned during my time in the program and apply it in my career to be the best respiratory therapist that I can,” Gipson said.
Overall, salaries in the field in the United States vary by region. In the Jackson area, graduates of the program typically earn between $42,000 and $47,000 annually. But, those can rise quickly with both experience and degrees.
In 2017, the projected average annual earnings of respiratory technicians in the U.S. is $62,223, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The government also expects employment in the field to grow up to 26 percent by 2026 as the baby boom generation ages and adds to common respiratory conditions of aging, such as pneumonia and COPD.
For more information about Hinds Community College’s health-related programs, see https://hub.hindscc.edu/healthcare.
Alumni, sponsors and friends of the Respiratory Care Technology at Hinds Community College will gather for a special celebration Oct. 23 as the program marks 50 years as a popular option of the college’s Allied Health career programs.
The reception is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. All alumni, clinical affiliates, equipment vendors and administrators are invited.