Community colleges become first in Missouri to offer Bachelor’s Degree

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Students can earn a Bachelor’s Degree at Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) for the first time ever.

Missouri’s coordinating board for higher education approved OTC and St. Louis Community College to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy.

Most respiratory therapists work in acute care hospitals. After the pandemic started, it highlighted the need for more people who can operate things like ventilators.

“To start a new program in central Missouri, we had to have that bachelor’s degree capabilities,” said Doctor Aaron Light, a respiratory therapy program doctor at OTC.

Dr. Light wanted the department to offer Bachelor’s Degrees for almost two decades.

“This is tremendous. This is something that, for me, I’ve been here 18 years, I’ve been talking about wanting this,” said Light.

This is the first time any community college in Missouri has been approved to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in any subject.

“This is historic,” said Doctor Tracy McGrady, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at OTC. “We went for this approval, because we couldn’t adequately serve our community without it.”

Both schools still have to go through a few more rounds of approval before it’s official. However, if all goes well, both colleges will welcome their first round of cohorts in the Fall of 2022.

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