Respiratory therapists held about 112,000 jobs in 2002. More than 4 out of 5 jobs were in hospital departments of respiratory care, anesthesiology, or pulmonary medicine. Most of the remaining jobs were found in offices of physicians or other health practitioners, consumer goods rental firms that supply respiratory equipment for home use, nursing care facilities, and home healthcare services. Holding a second job is relatively common for respiratory therapists. About 17 percent held another job, compared with 5 percent of workers in all occupations. Respiratory therapists perform chest physiotherapy on patients to remove mucus from their lungs and make it easier for them to breathe. Specific training is required for entry into the field of respiratory therapist. High school students interested in a career in respiratory care should take courses in health, biology, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Respiratory care involves basic mathematical problem solving and an understanding of chemical and physical principles.
Colleges and universities, medical schools, vocational-technical institutes, and the Armed Forces all offer training in the postsecondary level. An associate degree has become the general requirement for entry into the field also. Most employers require applicants for entry-level or generalist positions to hold the CRT or at least be eligible to take the certification examination. Respiratory therapy is used in the diagnosis, treatment, management, and care of patients cardiopulmonary problems. Increasing numbers of persons
suffering from respiratory diseases need complex treatment and
rehabilitation, creating a need for specialists to assist doctors and
nurses. As a result, RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS (also known as respiratory care
practitioners), have become an essential part of the health team.
Respiratory therapists treat all types of patients, ranging from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people whose lungs are diseased. Respiratory therapists provide temporary relief to patients with chronic asthma or...