Along with the vast improvements and modern developments brought about by technology, negative effects also arise which often includes health problems to human beings. Nowadays, there is an obvious increase in the number of patients suffering from lung diseases due to air pollution. This might be the reason why there is an increase in job opportunities and demand for respiratory therapists.
How to become a respiratory therapist
These professionals are responsible for rendering respiratory treatments and therapeutic care for patients having cardiopulmonary disorders and breathing difficulties. If you are considering yourself to take a step towards this career, read this article and learn the basics on how to become a respiratory therapist.1 Start early. While you are still in high school take courses that would enhance your skills and abilities such as: health science, biology, physics, chemistry and math. All of which would be beneficial to your future job.2 Obtain a degree. You can choose to take a two year Associate Degree offered by medical schools, colleges or vocational schools. However, it is advised by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) that aspirants for this profession take a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Care. This course prepares students to become advanced and excellent level clinicians in order to provide quality patient care, provide foundation in leadership and management, maintain optimum health, conduct research and choose a clinical specialty area.
There are over 375 accredited programs in the country. Before you choose and apply for a school, make sure that it has been accredited and approved by the Committee of Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). During the duration of your course emphasis on anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and microbiology are done in order for you to familiarize and understand well the body system you are going to deal with. Students would also be taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation and rehabilitation which are very useful for your hospital and actual exposures. By the end of the coursework, you would be expected to perform proper assessment, diagnosis, handling reimbursements, record keeping and other necessary procedures.3 Earn your license by passing the licensure examination conducted by the National Board for Respiratory Care. But if you wish to work in Hawaii or Alaska, this is no longer needed since these states do not require a license for respiratory therapists to practice. Once you pass the test, you will then be considered as a Certified Respiratory Therapist.
Below is a list of requirements in order for you to be qualified for the licensure examination:
- At least 18 years old.
- An education level of at least an associate degree obtained from a respiratory therapist education program. This must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) and acknowledged by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). On the other hand, those who have gone through respiratory therapy programs in colleges or universities offering a baccalaureate degree may be granted a “special certificate of completion” care of the educational institution. This is allowed once the institutions are authorized by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) upon completion of accreditation requirements.
In choosing your employer, it is important that you also consider chances for development and professional growth. Find a work setting where you can be comfortable and learn a lot of things at the same time. Of course, salary and benefits offered are also put into consideration.6 Aspire for advancement in your career by earning your title as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. This can be achieved by passing the credentialing examination conducted by the National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. (NBRC).
Below is a list of the requirements to be qualified for the examination.
- At least 18 years of age.
- Should have one of the following educational requirements:
- A Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) with a minimum of an associate degree in a respiratory therapist educational program.
- A CRT with a “special certificate of completion” from an accredited institution which offers baccalaureate degree in respiratory therapist education.
- A CRT with four years clinical experience under supervision of a licensed practitioner. Should have at least 62 semester hours from an accredited educational institution.
- A CRT with an associated degree and at least two years of full time clinical experience under supervision of a licensed medical practitioner.
- A CRT in another area which is not respiratory care. Should have two years of full time clinical experience and at least 62 semester hours of college credit.
According TO labor surveys and statistics, job opportunities and employment for respiratory therapists are expected to increase by 21% until the year 2018. Their annual salaries range from $52,000 to $70,000. In this profession, it is important that you can work independently in making clinical judgments for the care of patients having respiratory problems. Therefore, you must meet the qualifications and educational requirements in order to be equipped with the adequate knowledge and skills.
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