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Online Respiratory Therapy Degrees and Careers

Respiratory care practitioners work in hospitals and other medical settings. Work in respiratory therapy jobs consists of evaluating and treating patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. A respiratory therapist works under the supervision of a physician to provide direct care to patients for therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures. These responsibilities typically involve the use of oxygen or oxygen mixtures, aerosol medications, and chest physiotherapy. Maintaining and cleaning the necessary respiratory equipment is required.

Education & Career Opportunities in Respiratory Therapy

The minimum required education for respiratory therapy jobs is an associate's degree. Many students pursue a bachelor's degree to increase employment and advancement opportunities.

Licensure is required in every state except Alaska and Hawaii. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) establishes the primary certification requirements for respiratory therapists. The board offers the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) certificate to qualifying applicants graduating from entry-level or advanced programs accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). The Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) is earned by CRTs who graduate from advanced programs. The successful passing of examinations is required at both levels.

Employment prospects for respiratory therapists are expected to increase by 21 percent from 2008 to 2018. The average annual wage according to BLS in May 2009 for respiratory therapists was $54,200.

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