Respiratory therapist essential information:
- 2012 median pay: $55,870
- 2012, number of jobs: 116,960
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 28 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
Respiratory therapists; what they do:
A respiratory therapist career attracts compassionate people who seek to help patients suffering from breathing problems and cardiopulmonary disorders.
Respiratory therapists provide emergency services to people who experience sudden health problems such as heart attacks or shock. Respiratory therapist careers may include working with babies with undeveloped lungs as well as with patients with lung diseases, such as emphysema.
A typical day for a licensed or certified respiratory therapist includes working with doctors and other health care staff to develop treatment plans, educating patients on how to use these treatments and evaluating patients with various tests that measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
A respiratory therapist career involves connecting patients who can not breathe on their own to ventilators. A respiratory therapist career also includes providing educational programs to the public on issues such as the dangers of smoking.
Respiratory therapists record progress of treatment and makes house calls to educate family members on different respiratory devices.
Respiratory therapists job titles:
- Staff Respiratory Therapist
- Registered Respiratory Therapist
- Respiratory Care Practitioner
- Certified Respiratory Therapist
- Traveling Respiratory Therapist
- Clinical Coordinator of Respiratory Therapy
- Respiratory Therapy Director
Respiratory Therapists Education, Certification and License Requirements
Respiratory therapists typically need at least an associate’s degree, but some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree.
Colleges and universities, technical institutes, and the Armed Forces offer training in respiratory therapy and many have supervised clinical programs that help students gain experience in real life situations.
Some schools provide an Associate in Respiratory Care degree or a Bachelor in Respiratory Care degree or a Bachelor in Respiratory Therapy degree.
Respiratory therapists need a license in all states except Alaska. Most employers hire therapists with national certification. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers two levels of certification: the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). Contact a state health board for more information about requirements for respiratory therapist certification.
Respiratory therapists programs cover subjects such as:
- Human anatomy
- Neonatal and pediatric respiratory care
- Respiratory pathophysiology
- Principals of mechanical ventilation
- Pulmonary function testing
Respiratory Therapists Job Outlook
Forecast: 28 percent employment growth for respiratory therapists from 2010 to 2020.
Improved medications as well as technological and scientific advances in detecting and preventing diseases, increases the demand for respiratory therapists.
Geriatric population growth leads to an increase in respiratory conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Other environmental and health issues such as smoking, air pollution, and respiratory emergencies create an increased need for respiratory therapists.
Respiratory Therapists Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $55,870
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $66,350
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $47,520
- Nursing care facilities