Do you feel the medical field calling your name? Are you not sure which career path you should pursue? Have you omitted the basic degrees such as becoming a nurse or a doctor? Then, maybe you should consider trying your hand at being a respiratory therapist. As a respiratory therapist you will evaluate and care for individuals who have breathing disorders, such as asthma, or who have a cardiopulmonary disorder. Look below and research any of the respiratory therapy schools so they can help you with your career goals.
Within your career as a respiratory therapist, you will be responsible for interviewing your patients to begin developing a plan of action, performing an examination of your patient, and conduct diagnostic testing as needed. It is important for you to realize that you will always work alongside the patient's primary physician to determine appropriate methods of treatment. It is critical that you are comfortable working with a broad age range of patients; you may have a small child who has under developed lungs, a middle age person who is attempting to quit smoking, or an elderly patient who has emphysema.
In your role as a respiratory therapist, you may work within a hospital setting where you could primarily treat critical care patients, or be a part of a rapid response team. If a hospital environment is not where you would like to work, feel free to pursue a position with a home health organization. However, you should be aware that working with a home health care organization will require you to spend lots of time traveling from one patient's home to another. As a respiratory therapist, your typical work week will involve between 35 and 40 hours of work.
In order to become a respiratory therapist you will at least need an associate's degree. However, if you expect to advance in your career you will probably want to obtain your bachelor's degree or master's degree. In addition, unless you reside in Alaska or Hawaii you will also be expected to obtain licensure. As a result of you earning a passing score on the state examination and also graduating from an accredited respiratory therapy program, you will be considered a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and will have the appropriate credentials to show your accomplishments. Furthermore, while it will depend on your employer, you will probably be required to also become certified in CPR. In order to obtain your degree you can decide to attend a medical school, a college, a university, the Armed Forces, or a vocational institute.
Within your studies to become a respiratory therapist you will have courses in chemistry, physics, mathematics, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. As you begin learning more respiratory therapist specific information you will be required to study cardiopulmonary resuscitation, respiratory therapy equipment, patient assessments, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, medical recordkeeping, therapeutic and diagnostic tests and procedures, and respiratory health promotion and disease prevention. Don't forget that you can also take single respiratory therapy courses from schools to at least begin your training. Take things one course at a time.
If you obtain your degree in respiratory therapy you will have the option of advancement in your career after gaining some experience. You could choose to pursue becoming a supervisor or manager within a respiratory therapy department. If you are employed by a home health organization, then you may decide to become a branch manager. Of course, teaching your profession to prospective respiratory therapists would also be another advancement option.
When you finish your Associates Degree in Respiratory Therapy you’ll have a good working knowledge of the industry as well as be able to perform the tasks needed to find an entry level job. The below are additional student outcomes that most school want you to fully understand when you are completed with the program.
- Provided and manage life support systems
- Administer gasses including assessments and monitor
- Understanding of disease management
- Caring of patients including adults and newborns
- Legal as well as ethical practice regarding respiratory therapy
- Understanding of respiratory disease management and treatment
- Receive the interpersonal skills to work part of a team.
- Be able to how patience and problem solve skills
Adult Critical Care Specialty Exam (RRT-ACCS) – This exam is specifically design for those who are working in a critical care facility for adults. The certification is perfect for those who already have the RRT credential.
Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist – For the CPFT Credential is recommended to earn it for any new respiratory therapist as it is shows you knows the entry level requirements.
When researching any of the Associates degrees in respiratory therapy shown you’ll commonly see the below courses. These are core courses that most degree programs will cover.
- Cardiac Anatomy
- Cardiopulmonary Disease
- Critical Care Laboratory
- Ventilation Therapy
- Respiratory Health
- Pulmonary Testing
Respiratory therapists are expected to have a median salary of $56,730. The highest salary in areas of the country that have a big need for these positions earn $78,230. The industry is expected to grow a little over 12% over the next 6 years. Currently there are 120,000 plus respiratory therapists. As the nation continues to grow and the baby boomers are living longer the industry seems to be very stable. Also others counties that don’t have as many environmental regulations like the US are seeing a big increase in respiratory infection diseases so the need for higher trained therapists would appear to only get strong over time.
American Association for Respiratory Care - http://www.aarc.org/
BLS - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm
The National Board for Respiratory Care - https://www.nbrc.org