Respiratory Care

A Respiratory Therapist (RT) is a credentialed medical professional who specializes in cardiopulmonary issues. They work primarily in hospitals and assist in the evaluation, diagnosis, and care of patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary problems.

RT’s are responsible for life support systems such as operating noninvasive and traditional mechanical ventilators, administering oxygen therapy, assessing cardiopulmonary health, performing pulmonary function and cardiovascular diagnostic testing, and administering pulmonary medications.

Respiratory Therapists are an integral part of today’s multidisciplinary health teams. They must enjoy working with people and providing direct patient care of all ages from neonatal to geriatric.

Program Application (pdf)
Male student at respiratory machine

Respiratory Care at Jackson College

 

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Jackson College offers an associate degree in respiratory care, which prepares students to sit for board exams in the field. An associate degree and licensure are required for entry into the profession. Respiratory care is a second-admit program, meaning students must take certain general studies and prerequisite classes and then apply for admission to the program. All respiratory therapists will participate in clinical experiences at various hospitals as part of their program. Upon successful completion, students are eligible to write the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) exams. Satisfactory completion of the NBRC board certifying exams allow the respiratory care practitioner to use the initials of RRT, Registered Respiratory Therapist.

Pay

Beginning salaries are around $50.000.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the mean annual wage is $61,820 and is ranked in the top 30 fastest growing occupations.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment growth of about 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, and 22,700 positions will need to be filled. Job prospects will be best for those willing to travel to look for opportunities.