School of Respiratory Care
  • Respiratory Care ... A Career for You!

    At 9:32 a.m., Wendy assisted in bringing back to life a newborn baby who was struggling to breathe. Wendy is a respiratory care practitioner (also known as a respiratory therapist). What have you accomplished today?

    With all the health care professions out there, how can you know which one is right for you?  It’s not an easy decision, but if you agree with the following statements, you might discover respiratory therapy is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

    1. I really enjoy helping people out in their time of need
    2. I like working with technology, and I’m good in math and science.
    3. I would rather work in a profession where there’s a lot of variety on the job.
    4. I want to be able to choose what type of place I work in, and the type of patients I work with.
    5. I’m looking for a career with multiple opportunities for advancement—not just one.

    If this sounds like you, our profession could be a great fit.

    Respiratory therapists…

    . . . provide the hands-on care that helps people recover from a wide range of medical conditions.  Therapists get to know their patients and their patients’ families, and have the opportunity to help them through trying times.  Whenever breathing is an issue, they are there.

    You'll find RTs . . .

    • In hospitals giving breathing treatments to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
    • In intensive care units managing ventilators that keep the critically ill alive.
    • In emergency departments delivering life-saving treatments.
    • In newborn and pediatric units helping kids with conditions ranging from premature birth to cystic fibrosis.
    • In operating rooms working with anesthesiologists to monitor patients’ breathing during surgery.
    • In patient’s homes providing regular check-ups and making sure people have what they need to stay out of the hospital.
    • In sleep laboratories helping to diagnose disorders like sleep apnea.
    • In skilled nursing facilities and pulmonary rehabilitation programs helping older people breathe easier and get more out of life.
    • In doctor’s offices conducting pulmonary function tests and providing patient education.
    • In asthma education programs helping kids and adults alike learn how to cope with the condition.
    • In smoking cessation programs assisting those who want to kick the habit for good.
    • In air transport and ambulance programs rushing to rescue people in need of immediate medical attention.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is expected to increase faster than average over the next decade, primarily because the aging baby boom generation will increase the number of older adults, who tend to suffer the most from respiratory conditions like pneumonia and COPD and who often have respiratory complications due to heart disease and other common diseases of aging.

    The American Association for Respiratory Care has all the tools you need to discover the rewarding world of respiratory care.  Video clips depicting the various aspects of an exciting career in respiratory care may be found at www.aarc.org/career.