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Respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with heart and lung problems. A respiratory therapist performs assessment, therapeutic, and diagnostic procedures such as oxygen and medication administration, blood gas analysis, lung function, or cardiac function tests. Respiratory therapists also provide life support to patients by providing mechanical ventilation, physiologic monitoring of blood, airway control, and CPR if necessary.
Respiratory therapists work in many areas of hospitals, including ICU, ER, laboratory, pulmonary/cardiac rehabilitation, and sleep studies. Respiratory therapists generally work between 35 and 40 hours a week. Because hospitals operate around the clock, therapists may work daytime, evenings, nights, or weekends.
Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These respiratory disorders can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function.
Respiratory therapists must complete a minimum of a 2-year associate degree to take an entry-level exam required by the State of Connecticut.
Training is offered at the postsecondary level by community college, colleges and universities, and trade schools. Programs prepare graduates for jobs as registered respiratory therapists (RRT) or certified respiratory therapists (CRT).
Licensure is required by the state of Connecticut. Prerequisites: An approved Respiratory Therapy program; National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc.’s (NBRC); Entry level or advanced practitioner credential as a certified Respiratory Therapy Technician or Registered Respiratory Therapist.
American Association for Respiratory Care
9425 MacArthur Boulevard
Irving, TX 75063-4706