Defining the Work of Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory care is considered a special field in health care and offers a broad array of curative and diagnostic services to patients afflicted with heart and lung sicknesses.
The respiratory therapist or respiratory care practitioner has a difficult job which is to attend to patients suffering from difficulty in breathing or cardio-respiratory ailments. Respiratory therapists are supervised by doctors and tasked with providing cures and diagnostic measures as well as supervision of other technicians. These medical experts confer with physicians and health care staff in developing and modifying care plans for a particular patient. An additional responsibility is to take care of patients who have been placed under life support equipment in hospital intensive-care units.
This therapist ministers to various patients ranging from premature babies infants whose lungs have not developed completely to senior citizens suffering from lung problems. A respiratory therapist can provide momentary relief to a patient suffering from recurring asthma or lung enlargement. He or she can also provide emergency treatment for people who suffer from an unexpected heart attack, stroke arising from blood clots or rupture artery, shock and drowning.
Respiratory therapists conduct physical tests and monitoring of patients to observe their progress. Respiratory care can be part of health care services in the home especially if these individuals use life-support systems and ventilators. It is part of the responsibility of this specialist to take care of equipment to makes sure that it always works well. This practitioner is given training in chest physiotherapy to help patients breathe without difficulty.
Respiratory Therapist Salary
Demand for respiratory therapists continues to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics disclosed in its recent report that the ratio of job increase is forecasted to go beyond 20% within the next few years. However, the program for respiratory therapy is relatively difficult and discourages many students from acquiring a degree in respiratory therapy.
On the contrary, the arduous degree may even motivate you to enroll in this course despite complicated subjects such as mathematics, physics, anatomy, chemistry, physiology and medical terminologies. It is also imperative for the graduate to earn a license and eligibility prerequisites prescribed by state boards. Only a certified respiratory therapist can go on with this practice.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also announced before that the average respiratory therapist salary was more or less $52,200 in 2008. The median 50 percent is said to have earned from $45,000 to $62,000 while the bottom 10 percent was paid below $38,000. This could have gone up to $58,000 annually or even higher because of the shortage of supply of respiratory therapists. The basic compensation does not include signing bonuses and shift differential pay. The bonuses are usually a low of $2,500 to a maximum of $4,000. The job is very challenging. Complete knowledge and development of talents entail extensive education and rigorous schoolwork. If you are not deterred by the demands of the grueling academic requirements, this can be one of the most lucrative careers in the domain of health care.
Respiratory Therapist Schools
It will be encouraging to know that if you look forward to becoming a successful respiratory therapist, the high demand for capable professionals will likely not diminish. 40 of the country’s 50 states offer licensing for respiratory therapists. A good number of colleges, universities, colleges and medical schools have formulated relevant coursework that can lead to associate or bachelor’s degrees.
There are devoted respiratory therapy institutions that conduct full-time training for the position. You will be given a certificate which will qualify you for assistant or entry-level position. Aside from obtaining training in the use of respiratory equipment, the curriculum will concentrate on the field of anatomy, mathematics, physiology, chemistry and microbiology. Respiratory therapist certification is important. When you start looking for possible schools, it is important to opt for colleges and universities that have been granted accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. You can check respiratory therapist accreditation for schools, states and programs that may be of interest to you so you can verify their accreditation.
Popular online respiratory therapist institutions include University of Phoenix, Walden University, Kaplan College, Capella University, and Loyola University. These schools provide distance learning education according to state legislation and regulations. At present, Alaska and Hawaii are the only states that do not require licensure after you undergo training in this discipline.
Kaplan College, Independence University, Keiser University Campus, Fortis Institute, Kaplan Career Institute and Career Colleges of America are only some of the schools that offer campus or distance learning programs.
Respiratory Therapist Jobs
Majority of medical or clinical professions prescribe that candidates for respiratory therapist jobs should possess intense interpersonal skills. The work requires the capacity to cope with patients from different age groups. If you are a respiratory therapist, it is essential to communicate with the medical care staff members that consist of physicians, nurses and other respiratory therapists.
Technical proficiency will also play a vital role in the life of this technician. More than 80 percent of respiratory therapists work for big hospitals. Other practitioners find employment in health care homes, nursing clinics and offices of doctors. The normal work schedule is between 35 to 40 hours. It has been recorded that more than 25,000 positions need to be filled up every year in the country.
You will find career opportunities to abound. The employment of respiratory therapists is expected to escalate more than the average of other occupations until 2018. This will be brought about by the increase in numbers of middle-aged and elderly folks. More than three years ago, there were more than 100,000 respiratory therapist jobs. Most of these professionals were assigned in respiratory care, pulmonary medicine or anesthesiology. The others found work in companies that provide respiratory equipment rentals for the home, nursing facilities and home care services. You can still expect opportunities to be plentiful especially for cardiopulmonary and infant care. The respiratory therapist remains a vital cog in the medical service. Considering this career may be a good decision particularly for students who prefer to be in the health care profession.