Respiratory therapists play a vital role in helping people breathe. They work with patients with breathing problems due to various conditions, such as asthma, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Respiratory therapists can also help patients who have been hospitalized because of a heart attack, surgery, or other illness. They may also work with people receiving care in a long-term care facility or hospice.
How Do I Become a Respiratory Therapist?
The first step toward becoming a respiratory therapist is to obtain a degree in respiratory care. Consider completing the coursework required in a bachelor’s degree program in respiratory care to provide the best career opportunities. The bachelor’s degree curriculum covers clinical respiratory care, pharmacology, pathophysiology, mechanical ventilation, and advanced respiratory theory.
Is Respiratory Therapy a Stressful Job?
Respiratory Therapists assist in diagnosing and treating heart and lung disease that interferes with breathing. It is never easy to bear the stress and responsibility of treating people in desperate need. Because they work in hospitals and doctor’s offices, they have a work environment stress rating of 60/100 and a stress level of 20 out of 100. They have a good job outlook, but the stress can build up because they are paid less than some other professions.
What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?
Becoming a respiratory therapist allows you to make a positive difference in the lives of people who have breathing problems while also enjoying the benefits of a high-demand career in the medical field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a respiratory therapist, you will provide the following services to patients who have breathing problems:
• Determine a patient’s condition by measuring their lung capacity.
• Educate patients about their conditions and how to use therapeutic equipment properly.
• Basic treatments for asthma, emphysema, and COPD are available.
• Take notes and keep records on the treatments and prognoses of your patients.
• Perform basic and advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation as a member of the Core Team.
• Start mechanical ventilation and keep life support going.
• Assist doctors in developing and implementing new procedures.
How Much Do Respiratory Therapists Make?
According to the BLS, the national average annual wage for a respiratory therapist is $62,500, slightly more than $10,000 higher than the national average annual wage for all occupations, which is $51,960. The average respiratory therapist salary varies greatly depending on the state in which you work. The top ten highest-paying states for respiratory therapists are listed below.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in California is $79,640.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in Alaska is $76,610.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in New York is $74,890.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in Massachusetts is $73,660.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in Nevada is $73,530.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in New Jersey is $73,390.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in Hawaii is $71,460.
- The average respiratory therapist salary in Connecticut is $70,410.
- The average respiratory therapist salary in Washington is $69,540.
- The average salary for a respiratory therapist in Oregon is $69,000.
Where Do Respiratory Therapists Work?
According to the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), the following are typical work environments for respiratory therapists:
- Doctor’s offices
- Educational establishments
- Nursing Homes
- Patients’ Residences
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Sleep Disorder Testing Centers
What Abilities Should a Respiratory Therapist Have?
According to the BLS, respiratory therapists must possess several important characteristics. These are some examples:
Interpersonal skills: Because they are constantly interacting with patients and working in a team environment, respiratory therapists must follow instructions from a physician supervisor.
Problem-solving abilities: Respiratory therapists must evaluate patients’ symptoms, consult with other healthcare professionals, and recommend and administer appropriate treatments.
Science and math skills: Respiratory therapists must calculate the correct dosage of a patient’s medication, and they must understand physiology, anatomy, and other sciences to do so.
Patience: Respiratory Therapists frequently see patients who require special attention and care. Respiratory therapists may spend extended periods with a single patient to meet those needs.
Compassion: Patients undergoing treatments may require emotional support, and respiratory therapists should be sensitive to their needs.
Detail-oriented: Respiratory therapists monitor and record a wide range of information related to a patient’s care. Being detail-oriented will ensure that patients receive the appropriate treatments and medications on time.
Are Respiratory Therapists in High Demand?
Respiratory therapy is a growing profession expected to grow over the next decade. “Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations,” according to the BLS. As the middle-aged and elderly population grows, the prevalence of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other disorders that can permanently damage the lungs or limit lung function will rise. As a result of the aging population, there will be greater demand for respiratory therapy services and treatments, particularly in hospitals.”
What Are the Best Colleges for Respiratory Therapists?
The colleges listed below are some of the best;
Duke University is a private university that was established in 1838. It has a total of 6,717 undergraduate students. It is divided into ten schools and colleges, with many of them serving both undergraduate and graduate students. Duke is ranked ninth in the list of National Universities.
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan—Ann Arbor is a public university. It has ranked #23 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition. Its in-state tuition and fees are $16,178; out-of-state tuition and fees are $53,232. The University of Michigan—Ann Arbor admissions process is the most selective, with a 26% acceptance rate.
Yale University is a private university and one of the original Ivy League schools. It offers degrees in various undergraduate programs and advanced studies at the master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral levels. The current acceptance rate is around 6%. In the current academic year, 13,500 students are enrolled, with approximately 2,700 international students.
Cornell University is a private college that was established in 1865. It has 14,743 undergraduate students, and the academic calendar is semester-based. Cornell University has ranked #17 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public university, and it is ranked #28 in the list of National Universities. Schools are ranked based on their performance across a set of widely accepted excellence indicators.
Northwestern University is a private university that was established in 1851. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 8,194 students (fall 2020), with a gender distribution of 48% male students and 52% female students. At this school, 60% of students live in college.
Georgetown University is a for-profit institution. Georgetown University admissions are the most selective, with a 17 % acceptance rate and an 11.2% early acceptance rate. Georgetown University has a total undergraduate enrollment of 7,357 students (fall 2020), with 44% male students and 56% female students.
Vanderbilt University is a private college. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 7,057 students (fall 2020), an urban setting, and a campus size of 333 acres. The academic calendar is semester-based. Vanderbilt University has ranked 14th in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition. The total cost of tuition and fees is $56,966.
University of Florida
The University of Florida is the fifth-largest school in the United States. The university has over 52,000 students, with 35,247 enrolled in undergraduate programs, and the remaining 13,000 are in graduate and doctoral programs.
Tufts University is a private university that was established in 1852. It has 6,114 undergraduate students, and the academic calendar is semester-based. Tufts University has ranked #28 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition.
What Are the Best Online Courses for Respiratory Therapists?
If you want to be a respiratory therapist, these courses will help you improve your skills;
Trauma Emergencies and Care by Coursera-
This course will teach you about the mechanics and physics of trauma on the human body and how it can cause injury. You will continue to broaden your new vocabulary with medical terminology and learn how to describe the various injuries you may encounter. You will also learn about the trauma system as a whole and when it is necessary to transport patients to a trauma center.
Symptom Management in Palliative Care by Coursera-
You will learn how to screen for, assess, and manage physical and psychological symptoms. You will learn specific treatments for common symptoms such as pain, nausea, fatigue, and distress. You will continue to follow Sarah and Tim’s journey and gain cultural competencies essential for symptom management.
Essentials of Palliative Care by Coursera-
You will learn about palliative care, how to communicate with patients, demonstrate empathy, and practice difficult conversations. You will learn how to screen for and provide psychosocial support to distressed people. You will also learn about goals of care and advance care planning and how to have more successful conversations with patients. Finally, you will investigate critical cultural considerations and enhance your cultural competency in covered topics.
Medical Emergencies: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation by Coursera-
In this course, you will learn how to assess and stabilize certain patients for transport. You will be able to assess an essential medical patient by the end of this course explain airway physiology, the assessment of the airway, and available interventions for airway management, identity, assess, and formulate a plan to stabilize a patient with a respiratory emergency for transport, and identify, assess, and formulate a plan to stabilize a patient with a cardiovascular emergency for transport.
Transitions in Care from Survivorship to Hospice by Coursera-
This course follows the Symptom Management course and continues to develop your primary palliative care skills – communication, psychosocial support, goals of care, and symptom management. You will investigate care transitions such as survivorship and hospice. You’ll learn how to make a survivorship care plan and support a patient. The course will also teach you how to screen for spiritual distress and provide spiritual care. Finally, you will learn about hospice care requirements and practice difficult conversations about end-of-life care.
Providing Trauma-Informed Care by Udemy-
This introductory course will look at emotional and psychological trauma and provide trauma-informed caring, compassionate, and empathetic services. Trauma does not discriminate; it affects people of all races, ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
What Is the Difference Between a Nurse and a Respiratory Therapist?
There are a few distinctions between a Respiratory Therapist and a Nurse. They are two distinct fields of study and application. The main similarity is that both are respected professions that place a premium on providing the best possible care for their patients.
Nurses, on the other hand, have a broader scope of practice. They must consider the entire patient, which includes multiple body systems. Respiratory Therapists, on the other hand, focus on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. This means that they are solely concerned with patients suffering from heart and lung diseases.
Nurses are given a general education about the human body. Respiratory Therapists are given a more in-depth understanding of the cardiopulmonary system.
Respiratory therapy is a promising career for those who enjoy helping people. It may be challenging at times, but it is also gratifying. If you consider this as your profession, be sure to research the different areas in which you can work. There are many different settings in which respiratory therapists can find employment. The most important thing is to find a job that you will enjoy and be passionate about.