Courtney Webb, a 2013 graduate of Woburn High School, had thought about becoming a teacher, a dental hygienist, or maybe a nurse.
The 23-year old knew an office job wasn’t the right fit for her and that she liked science, but narrowing her choices wasn’t easy.
While working as a unit secretary at Winchester Hospital, she had the opportunity to observe the respiratory therapists, and she was intrigued.
Most health care providers stick to one area of the hospital, pediatrics, surgery, or the ICU, for example, but respiratory therapists have full range, treating all kinds of patients with heart and lung problems from infants to the elderly.
“Respiratory therapists play such a universal role,” says Webb. “Before I worked in a hospital, I only knew about nursing.”
Respiratory therapists make a median salary of $58,670, and demand is strong. Most students in the program get student jobs after less than a year, and Webb is no exception. She’s currently working 16 to 24 hours a week at Lawrence General Hospital while finishing her second year in the program.
Webb will take her licensing boards soon after she graduates this May, and her goal is to land a job at a Boston hospital. She plans to continue her education and is looking at the bachelor’s in health science, which Regis College offers in a hybrid format on Northern Essex’s Lawrence Campus.
An average student in high school, Webb is now taking her education seriously. “When you’re doing something you love, you push yourself to be the best you can.”
Opportunities for employment in the health care industry are at an all-time high. Northern Essex offers two dozen certificates and associate degrees in health care.