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Respiratory Care (0366)

Choosing a Career That Makes a Difference.

Image of a Respiratory TherapistAre you a caring person who likes to help people? Do you like to work with high tech equipment? Do you enjoy a job where every day you will have different challenges and opportunities? Would you like a job where there are opportunities for specialization or advancement to management or education? If you answered yes to these questions then Respiratory Therapy may be the career for you.

Respiratory Therapists are the health care professionals who care for people with breathing problems. You can live without food for a few weeks, you can live without water for a few days, but if you are deprived of air you will die within minutes. Most people take breathing for granted until there is a problem then breathing becomes a desperate struggle. Unfortunately many people either already have or will develop breathing disorders in the years ahead.

Under the direction of physicians Respiratory Therapists assist in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with cardiopulmonary problems. Respiratory Therapists must understand the functioning of the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems and are a vital part of hospitals emergency response teams. Respiratory Therapists use a great deal of independent judgment to make recommendations to the health care team regarding patients’ respiratory care. A career in Respiratory Therapy allows you the opportunity to work with people of all age groups from premature infants, to children, to adults, to the elderly. You can choose to specialize in areas such as critical care, home care, pulmonary diagnostics, neonatal intensive care, and more. Respiratory Therapists are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, home care companies, doctors’ offices, diagnostic and rehabilitation clinics, sleep clinics, educational institutions and more.

With the aging of the American population the need for health care and especially respiratory care is expected to increase significantly in the years ahead. Currently there is a shortage of Respiratory Therapists in the United States and this shortage is expected to worsen in the coming years. Because of this Respiratory Therapy is expected to be one of the fastest growing career fields in the years ahead. Respiratory Therapy is also a good paying career. The median salary for Respiratory Therapists in the United States in 2009 was $62,000. Starting salaries for new graduate Registered Respiratory Therapists in this area are in the $45,000 per year range.

View the Life and Breath Presentation

Responsible Department: Health Sciences - Respiratory Care
Program Contact: Bill Thomas
Content Contact: Anthony Williams (web representative)
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