Home > Blog > Is Respiratory Therapy a Good Career for You?
by Raja Tahir on January 25, 2018 · 9:00 am
Are you interested in training to work as a Respiratory Therapist? Then you’re in the right place – this post is all about a career in Respiratory Care.
Five things to consider when deciding to train as a respiratory therapist:
Let’s get started!
Respiratory therapists play an important role in the healthcare industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), respiratory therapists take care of patients who have breathing problems, such as asthma or chronic respiratory disease. These patients can range from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to elderly with diseased lungs. Respiratory therapists also can provide emergency care to patients experiencing heart attacks, shock or drowning.
Respiratory therapist job responsibilities include (according to the BLS):
As you keep reading, you will learn that respiratory therapy is a dynamic and fast-growing healthcare career.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, respiratory therapy is ranked as the 21st best job in the United States, which is based on factors such as median salary, future job prospects and more. Respiratory therapy is also ranked as the 16th best healthcare job in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
Respiratory therapy is an in-demand career that’s expected to grow over the next decade. According to the BLS, “employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and older population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other disorders that can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function. The aging population will, in turn, lead to an increased demand for respiratory therapy services and treatments, mostly in hospitals.”
Respiratory Therapists earn a decent wage. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for respiratory therapists in the U.S. was $58,670 in May 2016. In addition, the BLS report for respiratory therapists in the state of California is promising. California has the highest employment level for respiratory therapists in the entire U.S., and the annual mean wage was $78,820 for California respiratory therapists in May 2016.
The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) lists the following common work environments for respiratory therapists :
There are several important qualities that respiratory therapists must possess, says the BLS. These include:
Interpersonal skills: Respiratory therapists need to be able to follow instructions from a physician supervisor because they are constantly interacting with patients and working in a team environment.
Problem-solving skills: Respiratory therapists evaluate patients’ symptoms, consult with other healthcare professionals, and recommend and administer the appropriate treatments so they must have strong problem-solving skills.
Science and math skills: Respiratory therapists must be able to calculate the correct dosage of a patient’s medicine. In order to do so, they need to be able to understand physiology, anatomy and other sciences.
Patience: Respiratory Therapists often see patients who need special attention and care. To meet those needs, respiratory therapists might be working with a specific patient for long periods of time.
Compassion: Patients that are undergoing treatments may need emotional support, and respiratory therapists should be sympathetic to their needs.
Detail-oriented: Respiratory therapists monitor and record a variety of information related to a patient’s care. Being detail-oriented will ensure that patients are getting the correct treatments and their medications on time.
The California Business and Professions Code states that “no person may practice respiratory care or represent himself or herself to be a respiratory care practitioner in this state, without a valid license.”
To become a respiratory therapist, you must obtain licensure from the Respiratory Care Board of California. Respiratory therapists must comply with the following requirements:
To get the CRT and RRT certifications from the NBRC, candidates need to meet the following criteria:
The first step is to enroll in a program accredited by CoARC. View a list of accredited programs here.
SJVC’s Respiratory Therapist program is CoARC-accredited and students can earn an Associate of Science degree in approximately 18 months.
Upon graduation from SJVC, students will have the following certificates: Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Provider (NRP).
Graduates of the SJVC Respiratory Therapy program are eligible to apply to the National Board for Respiratory Care to sit for the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) exam. Once a minimum threshold is earned, the graduate is then eligible to sit for the Clinical Simulation (CS) exam. Upon successfully passing the CS exam the graduate earns the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credential. The fees for the exam, background check and application are paid for by the College.
Graduates from SJVC’s Respiratory Therapy Associate’s degree program can then consider SJVC’s online Bachelor Degree completion program. It is designed for working Registered Respiratory Therapists who have graduated from a CoARC- or CAAHEP-accredited program and are looking for career advancement opportunities in leadership, education, research and critical care in the field of Respiratory Care.
Request more information to start your RT training, or call 866-544-7898 to learn more about SJVC’s Respiratory Therapy program.
Posted in Respiratory Therapy / Respiratory Therapy Bachelor's Degree