Are you considering pursuing a career as a respiratory therapist?
You’ve made a smart career choice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an impressive 21 percent job growth for respiratory therapists through the next decade. This means you can rest assured that you’ll find a job soon after securing the necessary qualifications.
But what does it take to qualify for employment as a respiratory therapist? What kind of education do you need? Which essential occupational skills do you need to develop?
In this article, we’re telling you the steps you need to take in order to become a respiratory therapist.
Get an Education in Respiratory Therapy
Like most healthcare professions, you need some form of professional training to get started as a respiratory therapist.
As such, the first step is to go to college and pursue a degree in professional therapy. You do have the freedom to choose between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy.
An associate’s degree takes just two years to complete, but it’s a bachelor’s program that will give you the best preparation for this job. What’s more, the vast majority of employers prefer hiring respiratory therapists with a bachelor’s degree.
Whatever program you choose, you’ll receive intensive instruction in several areas of respiratory care, including critical care techniques, pulmonary anatomy, cardiac anatomy, mechanical ventilation, and emergency care.
Nurture the Skills You Need to Excel on the Job
Obtaining good respiratory education is essential, but it’s not all you need to become a competent respiratory therapist. There are certain occupational skills and personal attributes you need to have.
For instance, you really need to be a compassionate person to thrive in this role. Much of your job will involve interacting with patients and their families, some of who might be in a lot of pain and emotional distress. You must be able to provide emotional support to your patients and their loved ones.
Naturally, you should be a person who’s detail-oriented. Respiratory care treatments have processes that must be followed accordingly; failure to which a fatal mistake can occur.
You must be a problem-solver. Every day, there’ll be new challenges on the job. You must evaluate changing patient symptoms, perform diagnostic tests, and determine correct treatment procedures.
You also need strong communication and interpersonal skills, and a great deal of patience.
Get Licensed as a Respiratory Therapist
All states, except Alaska, require respiratory therapists to obtain an occupational license before they can get hired. Licensing requirements vary depending on the state, but in many cases, you’ll need to pass a licensing exam.
In Alaska, you’re free to start finding a job as soon as you graduate, but many employers will want you to obtain a professional certification.
You’ll find employment in hospitals, nursing care facilities, physician’s offices, and other healthcare facilities.
Go Forth and Become a Respiratory Therapist
If you’re looking for a career that’s challenging as its rewarding and enables you to care for other people, look no further than respiratory therapy. With this guide on how to become a respiratory therapist, what’s there to stop you?
Continue reading our blog for more career tips.