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  • Writer's pictureAllison Styffe

Spotlights: Respiratory Therapy, PNCA, & Opportunity Scholarships

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

CAREER: Respiratory Therapy

Median salary: $60K Education needed: Associate's degree Job growth*: 21% (much faster than average)

*estimated in the next 10 years

Breath: it's something we often take for granted, and it's a gift that respiratory therapists give their patients. From infants to geriatrics, emergency situations to ongoing care, respiratory therapy is a career that offers great variety in its day-to-day work. This a growing field with plenty of anticipated job openings in the next 10 years, in part due to an increase in the elderly population who benefit from respiratory therapy. Respiratory therapy might be a good fit for compassionate, patient, and skilled problem-solvers who can remain calm under pressure — after all, the responsibility to keep people breathing is a high-pressure job, especially for those working in the hospital setting. Imagine giving CPR to a newly born baby or tending to a car accident victim in the emergency room and you’ll quickly realize that a job like this is not for the faint of heart.

This career path might especially interest those who would like to work as a specialized medical professional but would prefer to invest no more than 2-3 years in college. Respiratory therapists work alongside nurses, doctors, and even surgeons, and need only earn an associate's degree and licensure to do so. Mt. Hood Community College offers an associate's program in respiratory therapy, while Oregon Institute of Technology provides a bachelor's program for students who would prefer a higher level of education and a more robust resume before starting their career. Not sure which education path is right for you? Contact your Baker College & Career Counselor who can help you navigate the decision.


COLLEGE: Pacific Northwest College of Art

Location: Portland, OR Tuition: $35K* Size: Very small (400 students)

*Average cost after financial aid

For those hoping to pursue a career in art, PNCA might be an excellent springboard from which to launch. From animated arts to photography, print making to creative writing, the school offers twelve undergraduate majors, and a first year experience that allows students to explore each area of study. This private fine arts school focuses not only on learning opportunities but job opportunities."It's our goal that you will leave PNCA as a capable, self-reliant, professional with professional experience in the form of internships," their website states. In addition to internships, students have access to one-on-one career advising and ongoing networking opportunities to support their professional development.

While tuition is quite high, so is the caliber of their state-of-the-art resources and facilities. And keep in mind that PNCA's financial aid opportunities are generous. The school awards over $18 million in scholarships every year, with 98% of students receiving institutional scholarships. Central Oregon Community College students in particular who transfer to PNCA are now able to receive a scholarship of $20,000 per year, guaranteed for up to three years, for a total of $60,000!

For admissions, students need not submit SAT/ACT scores, write essays, obtain letters of rec, etc. Instead, students hoping to apply will need to prepare a portfolio of 10-15 pieces of work to show the school who you are as an artist or designer. Need some help with what to include? PNCA admissions counselor Anna Miltenberger has graciously offered to give Baker students feedback on their portfolios before submitting their applications; you can get in touch with her at

Take a virtual tour of the impressive campus here:


SCHOLARSHIP: College Board Opportunity Scholarships

Amount: $500 - $40,000 Type: Action-completion Due: February 29, 2020 (seniors) or February 28, 2021 (juniors)

These scholarships are based on completing action-steps that will help you along the college application journey. The more steps you complete, the more opportunities you have to earn a scholarship. Complete all six, and you’re eligible to earn $40,000! The best part is you're likely checking these boxes as you work through the college application process. Scholarships are available to current juniors & seniors and will be awarded through monthly drawings to students who complete each action-step:

1. Build Your College List: $500

Get started by exploring colleges you're interested in. Learn More

2. Practice for the SAT: $1,000

3. Improve Your Score: $2,000

Show how practice pays off by improving your SAT score. Learn More

4. Strengthen Your College List: $500

Make sure your college list has a mix of academic safety, match, and reach schools. Learn More

5. Complete the FAFSA: $1,000

Fill out the free government form to apply for financial aid. Learn More

6. Apply to Colleges: $1,000

Apply to the schools you want to attend. Learn More

Complete Your Journey: $40,000

Complete all six scholarship steps to be eligible for a $40,000 scholarship. Learn More

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