If you have decided to pursue a career as an RRT or a CRT, you will need to start looking into respiratory therapist programs. These programs are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). They have accredited several hundred programs throughout the nation. Several of these programs are even available as distance or online programs.
Respiratory therapist programs range from two year associates degrees to bachelors and masters degrees. Most people, however, enter the field with only their associates’ degree. This means that if you attend school full-time, you may be ready to start a job within two years, and if you attend school part-time, you may be able to start your new job within four years.
The programs primarily cover scientific topics as well as providing students with information about their daily life as a technician. You will study biology, anatomy and physiology and intro-level pharmacy classes. You also will take classes on how to interact with patients and how to think about medical ethics. If you study online, you will complete these classes on your own time. You may be required to attend an online seminar, but for the most part, your schedule will be fairly flexible. In order to get hands on experience, you will have to find a clinic or hospital in your local area. They should allow you to do an internship with them, and they may even allow you to work under the tutelage of a real respiratory therapist.
Once you have completed your degree, it is time to become professionally certified. Your certification will consist of one exam if you want to become a CRT or two exams if you would like to become an RRT. Once all of that is in order, it is time to start job hunting. You can expect to find a job fairly easily. Between the years 2008 and 2018, there will be approximately 21,000 new jobs in this field added to the job market. These jobs are rewarding and challenging, and they offer a competitive salary. The salary can range form $37,000 a year to $70,000 per year. As most of these people work in hospitals, they also enjoy great benefits like health insurance and paid vacation.
To find respiratory therapist programs, you can visit the CoARC website, or you can talk to a career counselor at your school. If you do not already have a degree, you may qualify for government grants or assistance for these programs. These programs accept people with all sorts of backgrounds, and they give them the ticket to enter a great new career.