According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the outlook for jobs for respiratory therapists are very positive. As of 2008, there were 105,900 people working as respiratory therapists, and that number is expected to increase by 21 percent over the next decade. Therefore, it is expected that by the year 2018, there will be approximately 128,100 jobs in this field.
These jobs are both challenging and rewarding. People in this industry are rewarded by the fact that they get to help everyone from premature babies who need help breathing to elderly patients with lung problems who need therapy that will help them live longer. It is challenging because they have to analyze patient test results and create strategies to help their patients breathe better. In emergency situations, it is challenging because they have to make life-saving decisions quickly and independently.
In addition to a rewarding and challenging position, people who plan to pursue one of the jobs for respiratory therapist can look forward to a good salary. In 2008, the median salary for a respiratory therapist was approximately $52,000 per year. At the top end of the wage scale, these professionals enjoyed yearly salaries in excessive of $70,000 per year, and at the bottom end of the wage scale, they earned just less than $37,900. The average range, however, was between $44,000 and $61,000.
The growth in this industry is affected by several factors. One factor that is causing growth in this field is the increase in the number of elderly people in the population. Elderly people are the most likely to suffer from cardiopulmonary diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema. Technological advances are also creating growth in this field. For instance, new inhalable medicines and advances in ventilators will make these treatment options more viable for premature infants, lung transplant recipients and others. As the number of patients and the number of treatment options increase so too does the need for respiratory therapists.
The most common jobs for respiratory therapist are in hospitals under the advisement of a physician or a team of physicians. However, as the industry grows, that will change too. An increasing number of these professionals will work in home settings helping patients who may have recently been released from the hospital. Some of them will work in private physicians’ offices, and other ones will work as temps who fill-in at various locations as needed. Regardless of their exact salary or where they work, their job is to help their patients breathe better, and when that task has been completed successfully, these professionals will receive incredible satisfaction.