Making the Most of the Hot Job Market

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An article published in the New York Times last spring named “respiratory therapist” as one of five health care careers on the rise, along with nurse practitioner, home health and personal care aide, mental health specialist, and massage therapist.

But if you’ve been working throughout this long pandemic, you don’t need to read an article in a newspaper to tell you that therapists are in big demand. Hospitals across the country are struggling to fill vacancies, and that means job seekers are at a decided advantage in the employment marketplace.

How can you make the most of the hot job market while it lasts? Here are three tips to consider –

Salary increases: The biggest reason to change jobs right now might be the pay increase you can get by switching. But experts warn job seekers to look closely at these increases – or sign on bonuses or any other monetary incentive that is dangled in front of them to get them to come on board. First, they say changing jobs for less than a 10-20% increase may not be worth it, and second, it is important to factor in other benefits, such as health insurance and vacation time. Understand the whole picture before you make a move.

Job fulfillment: With so many openings for RTs right now, this is a great time to look for a position that will either allow you to realize a long-term goal (such as working in neonatal-pediatrics) or offer a solid career ladder with clearly defined steps that you can complete to eventually acquire that dream job you’ve always wanted. Let the hiring manager know what you hope to achieve in your career and inquire about opportunities to reach your goals so that you’ll have a clear idea of whether or not this job is right for you over the long-term.

Career advancement: The respiratory therapist of the future will likely need more than an associate’s degree to reach the highest levels in the profession, and for many therapists that means going back to school to earn a BS degree or higher. Employers that offer tuition reimbursement provide a big leg up when it comes to enrolling in school, and RT departments that visibly value higher education for their therapists let you know that the degree you earn will translate into more opportunities down the road.

RTs who are seeking new jobs today will find many enticements aimed at getting them to come on board as quickly as possible. Don’t be overly swayed by the shiny objects placed in your path. Thoroughly investigate the hospital and department you are thinking about joining to make sure they have you and your long-term career objectives at heart.

Find more job search advice from the AARC here.