Respiratory Therapy professional

Blue Ridge Community College Partners with Southwestern Community College to Offer Respiratory Therapy Program in Transylvania County

Featured photo: New full- and part-time faculty positions available for respiratory therapist professionals. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

A message from Blue Ridge Community College and Southwestern Community College

Officials from Blue Ridge Community College and Southwestern Community College announced this week that they are launching the Western North Carolina Respiratory Care Consortium, which expands access to respiratory therapy education in the region. Blue Ridge’s Transylvania County Campus in Brevard will serve as a satellite location for Southwestern Community College’s respiratory therapy program, which aims to address the nationwide shortage of healthcare workers.

“We are excited to partner with Southwestern Community College as we remain dedicated to our commitment to developing workforce solutions that benefit the community now and in the years to come,” said Leigh Angel, Blue Ridge Community College’s dean of health sciences. “With access to the state-of-the-art simulation lab, students will have a hands-on learning experience and a chance to learn from the region’s most experienced professionals.” 

The consortium is currently seeking two qualified faculty members for this program. A full-time faculty position will lead the new Respiratory Therapy program, teach courses and serve as a liaison between the two institutions. A part-time clinical coordinator will oversee students’ experiences in the field. More information about these openings is available at

The role of a respiratory therapist is to establish an airway and help patients breathe. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, respiratory therapist employment is projected to grow 14% through 2031 – much faster than the average for all occupations.

“This collaboration is greatly needed for Western North Carolina, and hopefully it will save residents of Henderson, Transylvania and surrounding counties a lot of travel time,” said Dr. Thom Brooks, executive vice president for instruction and student services at Southwestern Community College. “The nearest community college that offers this program is in Hickory, and there’s a tremendous need for Respiratory Therapists throughout the western region of our state.”

Through this program, students will master skills in patient assessment and treatment for patients with breathing disorders. These skills include life support, monitoring, drug administration, and treatment of patients of all ages in a variety of settings.

To give students an affordable path to their career goals, Blue Ridge is offering Free College scholarships to new and returning students through 2023. Through the extended Brighter Futures ‘Free College’ scholarship program, Blue Ridge will waive all tuition, fees and books costs to college-eligible students. More information about Free College at Blue Ridge Community College is available at

To learn more about the respiratory therapy program, visit, or contact the Blue Ridge’s One Stop Center at or 828.694.1800.

About Blue Ridge Community College 

Blue Ridge Community College is a two-year, post-secondary institution that elevates the educational experience to prepare students for 21st-century success in the workplace or at four-year colleges and universities. Providing real-life, affordable, and accessible education, the College offers more than 200 degrees, diplomas, and certificates; more than 200 online courses; and fast-tracked job training.

About Southwestern Community College 

For almost 60 years, Southwestern Community College has served Jackson, Macon, Swain Counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina by providing a wide range of educational options for residents in all stages of life. SCC has been ranked among the nation’s Top 10 community colleges six times in the last 15 years – including a No. 1 ranking in’s listing of the “Best Community Colleges & Trade Schools of 2020.” Through a supportive learning environment, Southwestern offers more than 40 degree programs (including more than 90 credentialing options, 28 of which are offered online) in Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences/College Transfer and Career Technologies. A variety of community resources – including the Small Business Center, Workforce Continuing Education and Career Services – are also available.