Respiratory care student balances coursework and clinical training for in-demand career

Photo of NDSU Respiratory Care Sophia

They’ll help you breathe easier. Respiratory therapists are an in-demand career and have shown how key they are to the healthcare team and patient care, especially during the pandemic.

The Respiratory Care program includes two or more years of academic coursework through NDSU Allied Sciences and a 15-month full-time professional-level internship at Sanford Medical Center Fargo. Sophia is completing her internship, balancing clinical hours and school.

“During the RT program, it wasn’t always easy balancing school and clinicals with a social life. I learned a couple things along the way, including the importance in taking time to enjoy life and spending time with friends and family when I get the chance,” said Sophia.

“I definitely was lucky enough to have a group of supportive people around me who motivated me to get schoolwork done before taking time to have fun and forget about the stress for a while. When trying to hang out with friends during school, time management is key, in order to get work done on time.

“I used time with friends as a reward for finishing my homework or a long week of clinical hours. I also believe being friends with people who make you laugh a lot can make life so much easier, especially during school. My friends often remind me to live life day by day and to enjoy the little things, like movie nights and painting together,” said Sophia.

“Taking time to rest when you can definitely helps to recharge the social and school/work battery. Although school is very important to focus on, it is just as important to check up on yourself and make sure to keep up with mental and physical health,” she said.

“Stress can be managed with the right resources and people to help, such as good friends and my four wonderful teachers!” said Sophia.

Respiratory therapy is an in-demand field, with the job outlook expected to jump 23 percent from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Learn more at

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