written by: Finn Orfano•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 8/8/2013
If you have dreamed about being in patient care and becoming a part of the healthcare field, but just never knew what career path to pursue; you'll now be able to "breathe" a little easier with an online respiratory therapy program.
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A Little Bit About the Career
Respiratory therapy is a field within the world of healthcare that involves saving lives through respiratory care. This field is continuously growing with the world’s population. Respiratory therapists assist patients with breathing disorders. These therapists are also responsible for controlling blood-oxygen levels of patients, setting up and properly using cardiopulmonary equipment, and performing diagnostic tests. These job duties can help to monitor and assist patients with breathing difficulties.
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Education and Training for Respiratory Therapy
An associate or bachelor degree in the field is required to work as a respiratory therapist. There are a vareity of these programs available online, but make sure the program is accredited before applying. Due to clinical needs, many bachelor degree programs are requiring that students be credentialed as Registered Respiratory Therapists, hold an associate’s degree in the field already, and have completed at least one year of work in the field.
Other programs just require you to take the clinical portion of the program in a local hospital or medical facility. More advanced jobs in the field may require a (CRTT) certification. It is necessary to complete additional training to gain access to getting those higher paying jobs. You are in high demand if you have experience working with the elderly and/or infants in this field.
Students pursuing degrees in respiratory therapy sometimes have options to specialize within certain areas of the field. The degree may be in respiratory therapy and the concentration could be neonatal respiratory care, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, or mechanical ventilation services, to list a few examples. In many cases, students start by learning about the field in general, and then eventually choose a specialization.
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The average salary range for respiratory therapists is currently between $46,000 and $53,000 per year. It is very possible to make over $60,000 a year with experience and gaining additional training. Job seekers in this field can find employment opportunities that include a complete benefits package. Your specializations, location, experience level, level of educational training, and certifications are all considered factors when it comes down to how much you will get paid.
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Get a Start on Your Career
Find the online school that will best provide you with your education in the field that you want to be a part of in the near future. Weigh your options and decide on whether or not you will be attending an associate degree program or a bachelor degree program. Make sure the school is accredited and then get started applying.