Respiratory care is a rapidly growing health specialty concerned with the diagnosis and care of persons with cardiopulmonary diseases. An individual choosing this career will be involved in a rapidly expanding medical specialty with vast opportunities in future years. The respiratory therapist works as a member of several health care teams, since a therapist is instrumental in the diagnosis, treatment, management, and control of patients with cardiopulmonary problems, as well as is involved in preventive care. Respiratory therapists provide assessment, diagnostic evaluation, treatment and care of patients with breathing disorders. Respiratory therapists have special expertise in artificial ventilation, resuscitation, and airway management. They care for patients in a variety of settings, such as the emergency room, nursery and intensive care units. Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes, and physician offices.
TCC programs that are right for you:
Respiratory therapists work in clean, well-lit hospitals and healthcare facilities. They are required to stand and walk between patients rooms’ for long periods of time. Because patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities need 24-hour care, respiratory therapists may work unusual hours, including nights, weekends and holidays.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2010 to 2020, 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 emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia, respiratory disorders that permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function. These factors will lead to an increased demand for respiratory therapy services and treatments, mostly in hospitals and nursing homes.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.