What is Respiratory Therapy?
Respiratory therapy is the practice of examining patients who are experiencing issues with their breathing. Respiratory therapists are responsible for the evaluation and treatment of a patient’s lungs and airways. They perform chest exams and create a treatment plan to resolve problems and illnesses within the lungs. The main priority is to diagnose lung disease and breathing disorders, along with managing breathing equipment and evaluating blood oxygen levels.
Florida National University offers a Bachelor of Science Respiratory Therapy (BS-RRT) (Advanced) program and an Associate of Science Respiratory Therapy program to teach you everything you need to know to become a successful respiratory therapist.
Duties of a Respiratory Therapist
Becoming a respiratory therapist can be extremely rewarding. It provides the opportunity to make a positive difference in patients who live with breathing problems. Common services respiratory therapists provide for patients with include:
- Educating patients about their conditions and properly using therapeutic equipment
- Measuring lung capacity to determine the patient’s condition
- Taking notes and keeping records of patients’ treatments and prognoses
- Providing basic treatments for diseases such as emphysema, COPD and asthma
- Initiating mechanical ventilation and maintaining life support
- Assisting doctors in creating and monitoring treatment plans
Conditions Treated by Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory therapists help patients who experience issues with breathing. Some conditions they treat include:
- Cardiac Failure
- Premature Babies
- Sleep Apnea
- Lung Cancer
Respiratory Therapist Salary and Job Outlook
Becoming a respiratory therapist means you will be working in a high-demand career. Respiratory therapists typically need an associate degree, but some have bachelor’s degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for respiratory therapists in 2019 was $61,330. The lowest 10% earned less than $44,850 and the highest 10% earned more than $86,980.
Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19% from 2019 to 2029, this is much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as COPD and pneumonia.
Where Do Respiratory Therapists Work?
While hospitals are the primary place for respiratory therapists, they can also be found working in other locations including:
- Patient Homes
- Nursing Homes
- Sleep Disorder Testing Centers
- Rehabilitation Facilities
- Doctor’s Offices
- Educational Institutions
Respiratory Therapy at Florida National University
Florida National University’s Respiratory Therapy program prepares students to pass the Entry and Advanced Level Exam National Board for Respiratory Care. The program offers the knowledge and skills necessary for a position as a member of a health care team in a hospital, respiratory care department, anesthesiology or pulmonary rehab, pulmonary diagnostics, nursing homes and home health agencies.
Within the program, here are a few courses you will take:
- Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2
- Respiratory Biophysical Science
- Medical Terminology for Respiratory Care
- Mechanical Ventilation 1 & 2
- Respiratory Therapy Pharmacology
- Pediatrics/Neonatal Respiratory Care
- Management of the Intensive Care Patient
- Respiratory Therapy Clinical 1 & 2
- Respiratory Therapy Practicum 3-5
Are you ready to enter this rewarding, in-demand career as a respiratory therapist? Contact Florida National University at 305-821-3333 for more information on our Respiratory Therapy programs.