One of the growing occupations in healthcare in the COVID era is respiratory therapy. This healthcare professional works with patients of all ages to regain lung function due to an illness or health condition, such as flu, pneumonia, asthma, and emphysema.
If you’re considering a career as a respiratory therapist (RT), the information below about the benefits of this career should interest you!
And if you’re already an RT, great! You can get the CEUs you need online to maintain your license.
Experienced RTs say that one of the most significant benefits of their career is job satisfaction. They say that it’s rewarding to help patients with health conditions live better and healthier lives. RTs have specialized skills to save people’s lives, including those who have had heart attacks or car accidents.
Working to save these people’s lives and bring them back from the brink is gratifying work, especially when you see the relief and joy of their loved ones.
For example, one respiratory therapist reported that she is glad to be an RT because it allows her to save the lives of ill children. She works with premature babies in the NICU, and many of them go on to live healthy, everyday lives, in part of the critical work that RTs do every day.
Opportunities For Advancement
Becoming an RT also is an attractive path if you want to move higher in the field and possibly into management eventually. Graduates of most respiratory training colleges are allowed to sit for an exam to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist or CRT. Once they have gained one or two years of work experience, they can become a Registered Respiratory Therapist or RRT, which has a higher compensation level.
Also, specialty credentials can be earned for RTs who want to work with specific patient populations. Some of the specialties that you can choose according to the National Board for Respiratory Care are:
- Certified pulmonary function technologist
- Sleep disorders specialist
- Neonatal specialist
- Pediatric specialist
The Mayo Clinic reports that RTs with several years of experience may earn promotions to charge therapists or even hospital administrators.
Excellent Future Job Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that RTs will have their pick of jobs in the future. It’s anticipated that job demand in this healthcare profession will rise 19% by 2029, much faster than other occupations.
It’s expected that the more significant numbers of older Americans will lead to more cases of pneumonia, COPD, and other disorders that affect the lungs. RTs will be needed to care for these patients.
There also is anticipated to be a focus on eliminating readmissions into healthcare facilities to cut costs. So, there could be more respiratory therapists being hired in doctors’ offices and nursing homes.
Respiratory therapists have great demand for their services, so their pay reflects that. BLS reports that the median salary for RTs was $61,300 in 2019, with the top 10% earning $86,900.
On the other hand, the median salary for all United States occupations in 2019 was about $40,100, so this is a career where you can do well if you work hard.
Possible Step Into Another Healthcare Career
As with nurses, many respiratory therapists leverage their experience to move into other healthcare roles eventually. For example, respiratory therapists usually have a bachelor’s degree in the field. They can choose to earn a master’s degree in nursing or physician assistant studies to become a nurse practitioner or physician assistant with those background courses.
Having a background in respiratory therapy will serve you well in other healthcare fields, as people look to you for expertise in how to treat challenging lung conditions.
These advantages clarify why some people are entering this exciting and fulfilling career.