A career in respiratory therapy can be very rewarding. Respiratory therapists treat patients who have problems related to breathing. This can include performing lung capacity tests, monitoring blood oxygen levels and even providing emergency care. The following are a few things to consider before pursuing a career in respiratory therapy.
Where will you work?
Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals, where the hours can be long and can include evenings, overnights and weekends. After all, hospitals are open 24/7! But it’s possible you may work in patients’ homes (for example, visiting them after a hospital discharge to provide therapy or instruction on using respiratory equipment).
What education should you have?
Bachelor’s degrees are often necessary to become a respiratory therapist. However, some states allow you to work as one with only an associate’s degree. There are also usually license and certification requirements to consider, which often must be renewed periodically.
What’s your temperament?
Respiratory therapists must be patient, caring and adept at working with others. They should be resourceful problem-solvers and skilled at thinking on their feet. Finally, if you work well under pressure and are a detailed record-keeper, respiratory therapy may be for you!