Gulf Coast State College sees uptick in respiratory therapy enrollment

Bay County

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Gulf Coast State College said despite the pandemic, more students are enrolling in their respiratory therapy program.

Interim Program Director, Jennifer Barber, said job security is one reason why enrollment is up in the respiratory care program.

“People want jobs that they can get in case the shut downs happen again,” Barber said. “Respiratory therapists were there working, healthcare providers were working and that’s something that’s important to people in the community.”

Barber said respiratory therapists’ role in fighting COVID-19 has resulted in people learning more about their field.

“We train the students to go into the hospital locally and work,” Barber said. “Since the pandemic, I think everyone has had the opportunity to understand what respiratory therapy is and that’s really caused our numbers to go up.”

One student enrolled in the program back in March and said the pandemic is part of the reason why she wanted to become a respiratory therapist.

Alyssa Brooks is a freshman in the respiratory program and said when she enrolled she wanted to learn as much as she could to protect herself and others.

“I’m a prior veteran so to be on the frontlines is not really anything different than what I’ve experienced for 20 years,” Brooks said. “However, I think it’s great. I’m excited to get back in the community and to give back.”

Enrollment for the respiratory therapy program for the Fall 2021 semester is now open. The deadline to apply is June 1st.

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