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QCC First College in MA to Receive Respiratory Care Credentialing Award

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at]

Release Date: 

WORCESTER, MA— June 21, 2023 — Quinsigamond Community College became the first respiratory care program in Massachusetts to receive the President’s Award for Excellence in Credentialing Success from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). CoARC accredits Entry into Professional Practice respiratory care programs throughout the United States.

QCC achieved this award by having three consecutive years in which 100% of students earned the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential, as well as meeting or exceeding CoARC program thresholds. In 2021, there were only 26 of 404 programs in the country that received this award.

Many employers either require the RRT prior to an employee beginning employment or require the RRT credential within a certain time frame to remain employed.

“This achievement would not be possible without the hard work that all programmatic and clinical faculty have put in but more importantly, our graduates who have to take the two exams to earn the RRT credential,” said Dean of the School of Healthcare Pat Schmohl.

Former QCC student Melissa Hirons experienced the exams firsthand in 2022.

“They were very challenging exams because they encompass so many different aspects of cardiopulmonary care, but I felt prepared going in because we used multiple modes of learning and our instructors were phenomenal,” said Hirons.

After receiving her RRT, graduating from QCC, and later passing the board exam, Hirons gained employment as a respiratory therapist at Boston Medical Center and said she loves the job.

“I got an incredible return on my investment. All of my peers also had multiple job offerings coming right out of school. It’s a hard program but it’s so worth it,” Hirons commented.

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Respiratory Care program Keith Hirst stressed the importance of respiratory therapists in healthcare.

“Respiratory care therapists are there from a patient’s first breath to their last breath and all the breaths in between,” Hirst said. “Rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, adult and pediatric asthma and lung cancer are all on the rise and the RRT are the only allied healthcare specialist trained in the cardiopulmonary system and the treatment and management of these diseases.”

QCC’s Respiratory Care program was established in 1967 and is the oldest respiratory program in Massachusetts.

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.