Respiratory Therapist

A respiratory therapist assists patients who find it difficult to breathe. They are mostly responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of different ailments and disabilities of the respiratory system, including cardiopulmonary diseases. Respiratory therapists come up with ways to provide care for those who suffer such diseases and disabilities.

Respiratory Therapist Education Requirements

To become a respiratory therapist, one will first have to earn all of the required respiratory therapist certification and certificates. In order to do so, certain respiratory therapist education requirements must be fulfilled and completed.

The minimum respiratory therapist required education for an entry level job as a certified respiratory therapist is an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. This will take just a few years to complete in an accredited university. However, most hospitals and other institutions prefer that you pursue a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy as well. This is because although it may take more time to complete, the study done in this degree program is more in-depth and comprehensive as compared to that of an associate’s degree program.

Should you choose to deepen your knowledge in the field and pursue a bachelor’s (or, eventually, a master’s degree), it may take around 6 to 8 years all in all.

After the student has earned a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy, they may opt to pursue a master’s degree, which may take an additional 3 to 4 years.

But once the minimum respiratory therapist requirements have been met, the student may begin taking the different examinations needed in order to earn certification. This may prove to be the more difficult part, as they will need to take exams from the CAAHEP and the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (or CoARC) in order to earn the credential Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). In order to advance their careers and become RRT’s (or Registered Respiratory Therapists), CRT’s will have to take 2 more separate exams. This credential is often required for positions such as supervisor or positions in intensive-care.

But respiratory therapy required education is more than just completing the requirements in order to earn certification. Once certification has been earned, it has to be maintained through continuing education annually.

What courses count towards respiratory therapist education requirements?

Earning the minimum required respiratory therapist degree will not take very long. The courses taken up whether you choose to pursue an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree are quite similar, as well. The courses that are taken during the first few years of education as a respiratory therapist often include subjects such as pulmonary and respiratory care, critical care, cardiopulmonary diagnosis, and even pediatric care.

What levels of degrees are available for respiratory therapists?

Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy:

This degree program can serve as an entry point for those who are interested in working in this field. Earning this degree fulfills the minimum educational requirements needed by a respiratory therapist. It will adequately prepare the student for entry-level jobs and tasks, such as measuring the pH level or breathing capacity of their patients.

Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy:

This degree program gives the necessary training in order for the student to be able to perform more complex methods of treatment and medication. After graduating from this program, they may be able to come up with their own treatment plans, alongside other doctors and clinicians.

Master’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy:

Earning a master’s degree in respiratory therapy prepares the student for the management and research aspects of the job. It focuses on subjects such as mechanical ventilation, advanced respiratory care, health management, research design, and even clinical leadership. This degree program also allows students to choose an area of specialization.

What are the financial requirements to become an respiratory therapist?

An appropriate bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy will normally cost a student around $21,000 to $28,000 per year. However, this price is still dependent on the institution that you have chosen to enroll in. Some institutions offer the course for as much as $60,000 a year!

The cost of postgraduate studies will also vary, should you choose to pursue it. Certification examinations will also require you to pay a fee before you will be able to take them.

What are the continuing education requirements for respiratory therapists?

Respiratory therapist continuing education requirements are quite simple, but they must be fulfilled diligently. All certified respiratory therapists are simply required to complete several credit hours worth of continuing education every two years in order to maintain their certification. It is also essential for them to stay updated on any developments made in the field of their work.

What are the skills necessary to become a respiratory therapist?

  • Compassion and empathy for patients
  • Excellent analytical and decision-making skills are some of the most important respiratory therapist qualifications
  • Should be able to work well as an individual and as part of a team
  • Working with medical equipment may require proficiency with computers
  • should be able to follow instructions well

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