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Respiratory Care as a Career
Do you have what it takes to be a respiratory therapist (RT)?
- Do you want to help people in their time of need?
- Do you like working with technology? Are you good in math and science?
- Would you prefer working in a profession where there’s a lot of variety in the job?
- Do you want to be able to choose the type of place you work in and the type of patients you work with?
- Are you looking for a career with multiple opportunities for advancement—not just one?
If this sounds like you, our profession could be a great fit. Check out the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) website. While you’re there, be sure to watch the video clip called “Life and Breath” to take a good look at RTs on the job!
What do RTs do?
- Diagnose breathing disorders and recommend therapy
- Interview patients and do physical exams
- Consult with physicians to recommend therapy changes
- Analyze breath, tissue, and blood specimens
- Manage ventilators and artificial airway devices
- Respond to Code Blue, disasters or urgent calls
- Transport patients
- Educate patients and families
Where RTs work?
- In hospitals right at the bedside, along with doctors and nurses in the ICU, ED, OR, NICU, and PICU
- Long-term care
- Home care
- Sleep medicine
- Nursing homes
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Doctors offices and clinics
- Case management, smoking cessation, disaster management, asthma management, education and more…
How do respiratory therapists enter the field and earn a license to practice?
- An associate’s degree from a community college
- A bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university
- A master’s degree from a post-graduate program
The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) evaluates the competence of respiratory therapists.
CRT and RRT Exams
- After graduation RT students may take the Therapist Multiple Choice exam which, upon achieving the appropriate cut score, leads to the credential Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT).
- Subsequently they may take the Clinical Simulation exam that lead to the advanced Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.
- Specialty exams may also be taken in PFTs, neo-peds and sleep medicine
Respiratory therapy employment and financial outlook
- According to a study from the AARC, the average new graduate earns $41,438 in their first year on the job.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median pay for a Respiratory Therapist in 2010 was $54,280 per year or $26.10 per hour.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for RTs will grow, faster than average, up to 28% over the next decade!
- With demand rising, so are salaries!
Respiratory therapists have an opportunity to make a substantial difference in the outcome and education of patients with pulmonary problems.
American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF)
The American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF) offers several programs to students who are currently enrolled in accredited respiratory care programs. The Education Recognition Awards provides scholarships to second and fourth year students enrolled in respiratory care education programs. Scholarships include a cash award ($1,000-2,500), certificate of recognition, airfare, one night lodging and registration to the AARC International Respiratory Congress. Information is available on their web site www.arcfoundation.org.
Lambda Beta Honor Society
The Lambda Beta Honor Society is the national honor society for the profession of respiratory care. The purpose of this Society is to promote, recognize, and honor scholarship, scholarly achievement, service, and character of students, graduates, and faculty members of the respiratory care profession. The Society provides scholarships to any student enrolled in respiratory care education program. Scholarships include a cash award ($500-$2000) and certificate of recognition. Further information is available through the Lambda Beta national office P.O. Box 15945-292, Lenexa, KS 66285; (913) 541-9077; http://www.lambdabeta.org/Pages/default.aspx.
South Dayton AMBUCs Scholarship
AMBUCS is a national service organization composed of a diverse group of men and women dedicated to creating independence and opportunities for people with disabilities. Their mission is accomplished by performing community service, providing Am Trykes to children with disabilities, and providing scholarships for therapists. The South Dayton chapter of AMBUCs provides scholarships to students enrolled in Kettering College respiratory care program. Scholarships include a cash award ($1,000-2,500) and a certificate of recognition.
Ohio Society for Respiratory Care (OSRC) Student Scholarship
The OSRC the state professional organization for respiratory care, awards up to three student scholarships, to students enrolled in an Ohio CoARC accredited Respiratory Care Program. Students must be a resident of the state of Ohio and be a student member of the AARC. The awards also include a certificate of recognition and free registration for the OSRC Annual Meeting held in Columbus, OH. Up to three scholarships are available one $1,000 and two $500 scholarships. Contact the Program Director for details.
Coalition for Baccalaureate and Graduate Respiratory Therapy Education (CoBGRTE)
The Coalition for Baccalaureate and Graduate Respiratory Therapy Education (CoBGRTE) is organized to help students, faculty members, and the general public learn about baccalaureate and graduate respiratory therapy education in the United States. The CoBGRTE offers two scholarships each year to students enrolled in CoARC accredited baccalaureate and graduate respiratory therapy programs. Contact Program Director for details.
Respiratory Care Links
Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) – for program accreditation and outcome information
Ohio Respiratory Care Board – for licensing information
Links for job opportunities and more information about the profession: