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Find Your Path

One of the many great things about being an RT is that the profession is dedicated to patients of all ages and circumstances. Maybe you’re interested in working with newborns or children. Or perhaps you’re interested in the fast-paced world of transport. Wherever you want to take your career, respiratory care is there.


Here’s where you can take your respiratory therapy career:

Critical Care

The fast-paced environment of the ICU may be what drew you to RT in the first place. Working in this setting takes special skills; our Adult Critical Care Specialist Course can help you acquire them AND give you the momentum you need to pass the NBRC’s exam for the ACCS credential — putting you on a level playing field with the critical care nurses. And that’s just the beginning of the educational courses geared toward critical care you’ll find in AARC University!


Do you have a special place in your heart for our youngest patients? Then, specializing in neo-peds might be the way to go. But kids are not just little adults, and caring for their respiratory needs demands a specialized skill set. Our Neonatal-Pediatric Specialist Course delivers it, and it will also put you on the path to achieving the highly respected Neonatal-Pediatric Specialist credential that’s now required to work in many children’s hospitals across the country.


Whether you’re a new RT whose sights are set on a management position in the future, have been promoted into a supervisory role from a staff therapist position, or are a seasoned department director, AARC has educational courses and tools available online and in the AARC store that will help you get up to speed and stay up to speed. The Management Track in our Leadership Institute covers the ins and outs of RT management for newcomers to the area, and our Safe and Effective Staffing Guide and Clinical Practice Guidelines are invaluable to department heads who want to ensure their departments are on the cutting edge.


If you picture yourself in front of a classroom teaching the next generation of RTs, the Education Track in our Leadership Institute has everything you need to get started on a great career. Seasoned and new clinical educators can also improve their comfort levels for precepting students or new hires with the Accidental Preceptor webcast that provides the latest best practices, strategies, and techniques. If you’re an educator, you may be seeking ways to position your program for the future. In that case, you’ll want to take advantage of AARC’s powerful tools that can guide your plans and curriculum, such as our white paper on Transitioning from an Associate Degree Program to a Baccalaureate Degree Program, RESPIRATORY CARE JournalCasts, and more.


The first step in any care plan for a patient with respiratory issues is to diagnose the condition accurately. Pulmonary function technologists perform the tests necessary to determine that diagnosis and then monitor it over time, and precision is paramount. Our PFT courses on spirometry, advanced concepts, and pediatrics can give you a solid foundation to build a practice in diagnostics.

Ambulatory & Post-Acute Care

The U.S. health care system may be entering another state of flux, but one thing is certain: more and more care will be provided in the significantly less costly post-acute care setting. Home care, long-term care, and outpatient programs like pulmonary rehabilitation and sleep testing all need RTs, and therapists are increasingly finding positions in physicians’ offices as well. We have a range of educational programs and tools to help you get your foot in these doors and keep it there.

Disease Management

Cost containment has forced hospitals and other facilities to invest more resources into the management of chronic diseases over time, and there is no better clinician to manage people with chronic respiratory diseases than the respiratory therapist. The additional training you need to become a disease manager is available through AARC. We also have some great tools you can use to support your disease management programs once you’re in a position to help patients live well with lung disease.


The respiratory care profession relies on RT researchers to conduct and publish studies relevant to the field. The Research Track in our Leadership Institute can provide you with the basic skills you’ll need to take part in your first investigations. The Open Forum that takes place every year at the AARC Congress provides a venue for you to present your work, and Respiratory Care is the place to publish your full papers.

Still Looking?

We’ve listed some great areas to target for your future. But your profession offers a wealth of other specialization opportunities, from the adrenaline rush of respiratory care transport to the high-touch care of geriatric patients or the complex world of sleep disorders. AARC University has courses related to all of them, and AARConnect features additional Specialty Sections and Roundtables where you can network about them with like-minded peers.