WHAT DO RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS DO?
When it comes to finding a good job, just breathe. Respiratory therapists (RT) help take care of people with breathing problems, like asthma, emphysema or other respiratory illnesses, as well as helping in emergency situations such as heart attacks or drowning. Respiratory therapists work with all age ranges, from infants to the elderly.
Respiratory therapists meet with patients and ask questions about their condition and concerns, run tests to determine the severity of their illness, and consult with doctors to determine the correct course of action. They treat patients with different methods from chest physiotherapy to putting people on ventilators, and track their progress with therapy. Often, respiratory therapists work with patients to teach them methods of therapy they can do on their own.
Respiratory therapists work in hospitals and sometimes visit patient's homes to teach them and their caregivers how to manage any breathing equipment used in the house.
HOW MUCH DO RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that in 2010, the median income for respiratory therapists was $26.10 an hour, or $54,280 a year.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
You can start with an associate's degree in respiratory therapy, but bachelor's degrees are highly sought after by employers. The programs blend classwork with practical experience. Additionally, respiratory therapists need licensure in all states except Alaska. Certification is also available, but not required.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Compassion: People and families dealing with breathing issues need emotional support and understanding.
- Attention to Detail: Respiratory therapists must make sure they closely monitor their patients, so that the proper care and medication is given.
- Interpersonal Skills: Respiratory therapists work with a team of peers, and work closely with patients. The ability to speak clearly when giving instructions and listen to concerns is very useful.
- Patience: Clients often need a lot of attention, or will have trouble learning the techniques they are being taught. Patience is key.
- Problem-Solving: Evaluating a patient's needs and determining the best course of action is very important to the job.
- Science and Math Skills: Knowing sciences like anatomy and physiology, and using math to figure out medical dosage is necessary.
THE FUTURE OF RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS
Jobs will grow quickly between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. As the baby boom generation ages, more will need the intervention of respiratory therapists, and jobs are expected to grow by 28%.