Are you looking to pursue a career in respiratory therapy? Smart choice!
The BLS forecasts a 21 percent employment increase for respiratory therapists, from now through 2028. With such a big increase, you’re sure of getting a job.
But what does it take to become a respiratory therapist?
Continue reading to learn about respiratory therapist education, occupational skills, and licensing requirements.
But first off:
What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?
As a respiratory therapist, you’ll be wearing nurses uniforms and you’ll be taking care of people who’re ailing from respiratory conditions, such as asthma, pneumonia, and lung cancer. You’ll interview patients to gather more information about their conditions.
Other duties include:
- Developing treatment plans in consultation with physicians
- Taking blood samples and performing diagnostic tests in the laboratory
- Educating patients about their conditions and how to use various drugs and equipment
- Setting up respiratory therapy equipment in hospitals, nursing homes, and patients’ homes
- Monitoring the progress of patients.
Now that you know the duties that await you, let’s focus on the steps you’ll take in order to join this profession.
Getting Respiratory Therapist Education
The first step to becoming a respiratory therapist is to pursue at least an associate degree in respiratory therapy. A bachelor’s degree is more preferable, though.
When choosing a program, ensure it’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.
You’ll take courses in human anatomy, microbiology, chemistry, physics, and pharmacology. Most programs also have a clinical component. Here, you’ll learn therapeutic and diagnostics procedures and patient assessment in healthcare facilities.
In addition to classroom and clinical instruction, there are lots of study material you can access online. Respiratory Therapy Zone, for instance, offers study guides with practice questions – for free!
To become a well-rounded respiratory therapist, you need to possess the right occupational skills.
For instance, you need to be a compassionate and empathetic person. The job involves interacting with patients who might be in extreme pain and worry. Therefore, you must be able to effortlessly provide emotional support and show sympathy.
You need strong analytical and problem-solving skills. You must be able to assess a patient’s condition and devise a suitable treatment plan.
Other important skills or qualities include:
- Keen attention to detail
- Ability to work well in a collaborative environment
- Science and math skills.
All states except Alaska require respiratory therapists to secure a professional license.
Licensing requirements vary from state to state. In most cases, though, the process involves sitting a licensing exam. You must also provide proof that you completed an accredited program in college.
If you’re in Alaska, you’re ready to look for employment after graduating from college. However, therapists who’re certified by the National Board of Respiratory Care are more attractive to employers.
A Respiratory Therapist Education Unlocks Your Path to Employment
A career in respiratory therapy is rewarding. Salaries are competitive and you get to help people who’re in need. To get hired, though, you must get respiratory therapist education and secure a license to practice in your state.
All the best and keep reading our blog for more career tips.