Albemarle, NC – It’s no secret that the country is facing a shortage of registered respiratory therapists (RRTs), but it’s what Stanly Community College (SCC) is doing to help bring more into the workforce that has people talking. When classes begin on May 24th, students can take advantage of a part-time track to complete their Associate of Applied Science degree in three years (or nine semesters). Until now, students studying to obtain this degree in Respiratory Therapy at community colleges had to complete the coursework in just two years.

This new part-time track allows the student who works full-time or has family obligations the flexibility of taking a lighter course load to juggle their busy lifestyle and still enter the respiratory therapy career field. It also allows for shorter clinic days.

SCC is the first community college in North Carolina to offer a part-time track to help alleviate the shortage of RRTs.

“We’re excited to offer a part-time option to students who would not otherwise be able to pursue a degree in respiratory therapy,” said Tina Lewman, M.A.Ed., RRT, RRT-NPS, RCP, Program Director. “We know there are individuals out there who would be excellent and dedicated RRTs, but are putting those aspirations on hold because of their busy lifestyles. So, while it may take an extra year to get these students ready to enter the workforce, it’s a great way for us to help lessen the critical shortage of respiratory therapists our country is experiencing.”

“We’re seeing 100% job placement among our graduates and the pay rates continue to rise,” added Lewman.

According to occupation employment data from Emsi, the median yearly earnings for an RRT is $62,849 and they can work in a number of settings, including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home care agencies and rehabilitation centers.

Both full-time and part-time tracks of the Respiratory Therapy program are taught at SCC’s Crutchfield Education Center in Locust. Students interested in the part-time track must have completed their general education requirements prior to starting the program.

Financial aid is available for qualifying students as well as tuition assistance programs for employees of area health care systems.

For more information about the respiratory therapy program, contact Tina Lewman, Program Director at (704) 991-0268 or