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How to become a respiratory therapist

Have you ever thought of becoming a respiratory therapist? If you have an interest in how the body works, or you enjoy helping people or work well under pressure, then this may be the career for you. Many opportunities are available with a high starting salary and plenty of chances for career development is offered. This may be worth a closer look.

What does respiratory therapy involve?

What is respiratory therapy? Respiratory therapy involves managing and implementing care to those who are having breathing difficulties such as pulmonary and lung problems. These include emphysema, lung cancer, pneumonia, those on life support and infants that have been born with breathing difficulties. Where do respiratory therapists work? Currently, the profession is only officially recognised in the U.S.A and Canada. Other countries, including Europe, have physiotherapists who carry out similar tasks, but they have no specific training in the field. Respiratory jobs are mostly found in hospitals, especially in intensive care and elderly wards. Opportunities also include nursing homes, the private sector and working in the community.

Becoming a registered respiratory therapist and beyond

What do I need to do to become a respiratory therapist? To suceed in your chosen career, it is best to start thinking about it in High School. Concentrate your efforts on the sciences, maths and health care. You will need a High School Diploma in order to be accepted on an accredited respiratory therapy course. These courses last for two years and at the end of your course, you will be expected to sit in two mandatory exams that will qualify you to be a certified respiratory therapist (CRT). You will come out of it with an Associates Degree and a certificate to practise. What is involved in the course? The course includes classes in advanced physiology, anatomy, psychology, microbiology and pulmonary disease. You will also be expected to take on an internship in order that you get some practical experience. Though the 2 year course enables you to become qualified, if you go on to complete a masters degree your salary and chances of managing your own team are greatly increased. You must also complete a short course in CPR before you are employable. How much will i get paid? A respiratory therapist salary will vary depending on which state you are in. On average, however, the pay is excellent at an average of $50,400. Job opportunities are rapidly on the increase too. The more experience you gain will also increase your employability, as will continuing your professional development through education modules. Final word Helping people to keep breathing must be one of the most satisfying, and vital, things you can do. Job satisfaction is therefore very high in this field.

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