In this profession, there are plenty of ways to move up!
Respiratory therapists who enjoy management responsibilities find great career ladders in most settings—particularly in the hospital, which still employs the majority of therapists. RTs who excel on the job often easily rise up the ranks from staff therapists to shift supervisors to department managers. There are even therapists who have ascended to the highest levels of hospital administration!
RTs who specialize in home care often branch out even further, establishing their own respiratory home care companies to provide equipment and clinical services. Others have started successful businesses providing respiratory diagnostic services, patient care education, and other services related to the field.
Some therapists eventually venture into the corporate world as well, taking positions with equipment manufacturers as product or marketing specialists. With the knowledge gained through years of experience as an RT, their technical and patient care know-how is considered invaluable to these firms.
If teaching is your thing, you can also parlay a successful career as an RT into a faculty position at a school of respiratory therapy or as a clinical education coordinator for a hospital or other respiratory therapy department.
These therapists often get involved in respiratory care research as well, conducting clinical studies that form the scientific basis for the profession.