Respiratory Care: A Great Profession for a
For Immediate Release
IRVING , TX (October 10,
2006) – Ask most people what they want out of a career and the answer
is pretty simple: good pay, interesting work, flexible preparation,
a chance to make a difference in the world.
The respiratory care profession
has all that and more, say respiratory therapists (RTs) from the American
Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). The profession has been around
since the late 1940s and has increasingly grown in prominence and importance
in the nation's health care system, even though the field isn't as well
known as other medical professions like nursing and physical therapy.
“ Respiratory therapists
work with physicians to evaluate and treat people with breathing difficulties,”
explains Frank Freihaut, RRT, AE-C, adult critical care team leader
at The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha . “A respiratory therapist may
deliver medications, do hands on therapy and/or maintain mechanical
ventilation life support in a hospital or for home bound patients.”
Patients treated by RTs run the
gamut. “Whether it's a baby born with underdeveloped lungs needing life
support, or child with asthma needing training on proper use of their
medications, or an older adult suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease and congestive heart failure needing airway pressure therapy
and medications, you will find a respiratory therapist caring for that
patient,” says Freihaut.
Most RTs work in hospitals, but
a growing number also work in home care, long-term care facilities,
pulmonary function laboratories, doctor's offices, and sleep laboratories.
“A few therapists even utilize their airway management and life support
skills on specialized ground and air transport teams, in ambulances
and helicopters,” adds the registered respiratory therapist.
Like nursing, preparation for the
respiratory care profession is flexible. “Respiratory care programs
are found at community colleges and universities through out the United
States ,” says Freihaut. “There are two-year Associate's and four-year
Bachelor's degrees.” The two-year degree provides a relatively quick
route into the profession, while the four-year degree positions graduates
to move up into management and research positions.
Beginning RTs can expect to make
about $35,000 a year, with experienced therapists bringing in $50,000
or more, depending on location. Thanks to ongoing workforce shortages,
most graduates have their pick of jobs.
“A recent article mentioned that
in 2005 there were 10,000 vacant full time positions available for respiratory
therapists, but the educational programs were only graduating about
4,500 new respiratory therapists,” says Freihaut. “Finding a respiratory
position where you want is very possible.”
Freihaut says a career in respiratory
care is a wonderful way to contribute to the nation's health. “Being
part of the health care team is great. I know I am not out there
alone -- there are physicians and other therapists I work with and get
advice from. But I also enjoy knowing that what I do individually
makes a difference in the lives of the patients I care for.”
Respiratory Therapists (RTs) are specially trained
and licensed respiratory health care professionals assisting physicians
in diagnosis, treatment, and management of respiratory diseases. RTs
provide care in hospitals, outpatient centers, physicians' offices,
skilled nursing facilities, and patients' homes.
The American Association for
Respiratory Care (AARC) is a not-for-profit, professional organization,
consisting of 40,000 respiratory therapists, physicians, and other health
care professionals. AARC is dedicated to assisting persons with respiratory
diseases receive safe and effective respiratory care.
American Association For Respiratory Care
9425 N MacArthur Blvd, Suite 100 , Irving , TX 75063
What's a “Respiratory Therapist”?
According to the American Association for Respiratory
Care (AARC), respiratory therapists:
Are educated in two- and four-year programs at community
colleges and universities across the nation.
Licensed in the majority of states.
Work with patients of all ages suffering from acute
and chronic breathing disorders.
Conduct diagnostic tests, assess patients for breathing
difficulties, provide breathing treatments, help manage ventilators
in the ICU, and educate patients and families about lung disease.
Work in a wide variety of health care settings,
from the hospital to the home to the doctor's office.
Are valued members of the health care team.
For more information on the respiratory care
profession, visit the AARC's career web site, Be an RT, at http://www.aarc.org/career/be_an_rt/