Change of course leads student to dream job

How many college grads get their first job at a world-renowned industry leader?
Morgan Asher did.

Weeks after graduating with her degree in respiratory therapy, Asher had multiple
job offers, but one stood out above the rest: Mayo Clinic.

Soon after accepting the job, she packed her belongings in her car and moved to
Rochester, MN to start her career.

Like many respiratory care students, Asher said she stumbled into the program.

“I was initially planning on nursing school, but things happened in my personal life
that changed my path,” she shared. “I spoke with my advisor and discovered respiratory care.”

While attending SCC, Asher worked at Keosauqua Health Care and the Southeast
Iowa Regional Medical Center where she noticed respiratory therapists in action. She witnessed firsthand how respiratory therapists help patients when things go bad.

“I realized how important they are, even though the departments are small in most

Two years later, with seven clinicals and an externship under her belt, Asher is a
practicing respiratory therapist at one of the premier hospitals in the world.

“It was kind of hard to believe and still is at times,” she said as she recounted finding out about the job. “I just applied, not expecting to hear back.”

Respiratory Care Program Coordinator Stacy Sells wasn’t surprised.

SCC Respiratory Program Class of 2022

“Respiratory therapists are in high demand,” said Sells. “I regularly receive calls from hospitals and clinics that are looking for graduates to hire.”

Since the onset of COVID-19 nearly two years ago, the demand for respiratory
therapists has grown exponentially.

“It’s common for our students to receive multiple offers before graduation,” Sells
shared. “Right now, hospitals in Iowa offer up to $35 per hour and $5,000 to $10,000 sign on bonuses.”

Sells said that SCC graduates are coveted in large part due to the amount of quality
clinical experiences they acquire throughout the program.

Students prepare for their clinical experiences by participating in true-to-life
scenarios in SCC’s state-of-the-art patient simulation lab.

Asher says the design of the program prepared her for her career with its required
clinical experiences.

“I did my externship at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics,” she explained. “It was one of the greatest experiences I could ask for. I got real-world experience working with patients before I graduated.”

Only months into her job, Asher has already accepted a new position at Mayo. She
started out working in various Intensive Care Units (ICU) throughout the hospital. Now she works in the cardiac ICU, helping both pediatric and adult patients.

“I have met so many wonderful people at Mayo and have learned so much more already,” she said. “Things are going great.”

Contact Sells to learn details about SCC’s respiratory care program at or (319) 208-5204.

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