Job overviewAs a respiratory therapist, you will be helping people with breathing problems or who have suffered from heart attacks. You will help extend their lives with the help of advanced treatments. Respiratory therapists work with people who suffer from diseases such as chronic bronchitis, pneumonia or heart disease.
Respiratory therapists perform tests on patients in order to determine if they have breathing problems, and they also try to determine their breathing capabilities while also trying to administer the appropriate respiratory treatments. A respiratory therapist would typically perform activities such as measuring oxygen and other gas concentrations in the blood or measure the alkalinity or acidity of the blood. After obtaining the test results, a respiratory therapist will work with a doctor in order to interpret the results and to find the appropriate treatment for the patient.
Working in this field will involve the use of ventilators, oxygen devices and various other devices and tools that help the patient’s breathing, or they may even serve as life support systems. A respiratory therapist would also be responsible for administering aerosol-form medications directly into the lungs. A respiratory therapist may workin emergency rooms or in intensive care units of hospitals. Although a respiratory therapist is required to work under a physician, they are responsible for everything related to therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures.
With over 107,270 individuals employed as respiratory therapists, there is also a high growth rate prediction and it is estimated that 41,400 jobs will be available by 2020.
SalaryA respiratory therapist can expect a median annual salary of $55,250, with highest wages reaching an a salary of $71,920, and the lowest ones being around $40,660 per year. The highest wages are paid by hospitals, although colleges, universities and the government also pay good wages. The highest salaries are reported to be in the state of California.
A person aspiring for a career as a respiratory therapist is required to obtain an associate’s degree in this field, and also take a certification test administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care. Also, in order to qualify for advancement in the field of respiratory therapy, individuals should obtain a bachelor’s degree and also pass two exams which are administered by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, which will make them registered respiratory therapists.
Respiratory therapists may become specialists in a certain area if desired, and there are many options such as working in neonatal intensive care units or work in the field of sleep disorder testing.
Reviews & AdviceSuch a career is a promising path to take, and according to statistics, the demand for these specialists will see a significant increase in the next 10 years. Individuals interested in working in the field of respiratory therapy will have to take on a lot of responsibility as they will be working with life-threatening situations.
People wishing to work as respiratory therapists will have to prepare written reports for physicians in which they will detail the test results of the patient. Preparing for a career in respiratory therapy should imply exercising verbal and written communication skills as they will be the most used for talking to the patients and communicating the results to the doctor. Also, a proficiency in English is recommended, and the ability to work in a team in order to complete tasks.