Respiratory Care Program to host information sessions

The Respiratory Care Program at Jackson State Community College will host two information sessions on Thursday, November 15 from 1 to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The sessions will be held in room 136 of the Jim and Janet Ayers Center for Health Sciences on the college’s main campus at 2046 North Parkway.

There are many opportunities for licensed respiratory therapists. Nationally, employment for respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Here in West Tennessee, we are seeing a great demand for respiratory care therapists, and there is no other program in West Tennessee outside of Shelby County,” said Cathy Garner, program director. “After graduation, our students will take a national exam, and then they will get a job.”

Respiratory therapists focus on patients with breathing difficulties, from newborns with underdeveloped lungs to elderly patients with a chronic disease like emphysema. There are many specialties respiratory therapists can pursue, such as critical care, home care, case management, pulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary diagnostics, sleep medicine, and surface and air transport. The work environment is often fast and fluid, Garner said.

“We work under the direction of a physician, and we provide an assessment of a patient to determine the kind of therapy a patient needs,” Garner said. “We focus on the cardiopulmonary system – any patient having any difficulties related to the lungs.”

Respiratory therapists work with mechanical ventilators and artificial airways, respond to code-blue resuscitative efforts and can be found treating patients from the front door of the hospital to the back, Garner said. Students who want to pursue a medical career but want an alternative to nursing should consider the program.

“If they are someone who is interested in bedside patient care but doesn’t want to be a nurse, this is the field they should really investigate.”

Anyone wanting to learn more about respiratory care as a career is encouraged to visit The deadline to apply for spring 2019 is December 1.

For questions about the respiratory care program or for questions about the information sessions, contact Cathy Garner at or 731-424-3520 ext. 50372.

Jackson State Community College provides accessible learning opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals, strengthen the workforce and empower the diverse communities of West Tennessee. The institution offers traditional and contemporary associate degrees, certificates, continuing education and enrichment, and college-readiness programs. For more information, visit