If you are looking for a career that is in high-demand, you may want to look into respiratory therapy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 – 2022, and more respiratory departments across South Florida and the country are looking for respiratory therapists for hire.
What Is a Respiratory Therapist?
A Respiratory Therapist (RT) specializes in helping patients in the health of their respiratory systems, which is the system that controls all human breathing. Since nurses and doctors do not have the training or understanding of respiratory care like an RT does, they are valuable members of any medical team.
Students interested in how to become an RT might be interested in the many career paths that are available with this degree. Since the field of an RT is becoming more specialized, there is a demand growing for those who have earned the National Certification-Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), which allows them to earn other certifications like acute care, neonatology, and Pulmonary Functions Specialist.
The Need for Respiratory Therapists Increases
The high demand for employers in the field of respiratory care is increasing because of the growth of the aging baby boomer population. Retiring baby boomers are causing more vacancies in the workplace.
How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Florida
While the minimum requirements to become an RT in Florida only requires an associate’s degree, this will not always be the case. The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) plan to make a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (RSRT) the entry-level for the RT profession by 2020. We advise all of our students to take this change into account, and we encourage them to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
At FNU, we offer two degrees in RT, the Associates of Science in Respiratory Therapy (ASRT) and the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT). To complete either of FNU’s RT degree programs, you must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you are unable to maintain the GPA requirements, we have the right to terminate your admission to the program. However, if you wish to retake a course, you have only one chance to retake a course. Clinical hours are required and attendance throughout the program is vital to a student’s success. However, FNU has a makeup policy for students who miss some clinical hours due to reasonable circumstances.
The Associates of Science in Respiratory Therapy
The Associates of Science in Respiratory Therapy (ASRT) program at FNU is a two-year program that requires a minimum of 80 credits. FNU awards an Associate Degree upon graduation. The ASRT program specializes in both lung and breathing health, and students throughout the program will learn knowledge that will prepare them to enter the RT field at an entry-level position. The program teaches students the skills that are necessary for a position as an active member of a healthcare team ranging from healthcare settings like a hospital, anesthesiology or pulmonary rehab, respiratory care departments, nursing homes, home health agencies and pulmonary diagnostics. Students enrolled in the ASRT program are also required to take a number of general education and liberal arts classes. The ASRT program also prepares students to pass the Entry and Advanced Level Exam National Board for Respiratory Care. Upon passing these exams, and meeting graduation requirements, they will become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).
The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy
Students interested in furthering their career as a respiratory therapist beyond the ASRT program can enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT). The purpose of the BSRT program is to enhance the education of an RRT graduate with a current NBRC credential. It is also to provide students with both professional growth and skills in areas such as management, supervisory skills, and cultural diversity across different healthcare settings.
General education requirements for the BSRT program consist of English, Spanish, and Ethics. It also requires six credit hours worth of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and seven credit hours in the area of Mathematics, that include Statistics, College Algebra, and College Study Skills. The core area of study is Natural Sciences, with the most credits beginning with intermediate courses in Chemistry and Anatomy & Physiology. Other classes include Medical Terminology and Microbiology. The BSRT program is a four-year program that requires 120 credit hours to graduate. The program is designed to be taken entirely online, or it can be taken partly online and partly on campus.
Licensing and Certification to Become an RT
Once a student has graduated with a degree in RT, they are eligible to take the entry-level exam, the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist in Florida. Once a student passes the certification, they can move on to take the advanced written and simulation exams of the NBRC.
FNU: The Best Choice to Become an RT
If you are interested in becoming a Respiratory Therapist (RT) in Florida, look no further than Florida National University. With two campus locations, in Miami and Hialeah, FNU is a regionally accredited higher learning institution that was founded in 1982 offering both associates and bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Therapy to those students interested in the field.
FNU provides both international students and local students the same tuition, and we offer our students many scholarship opportunities. If you are thinking about becoming an RT, or if you have any questions about either of our RT programs, you contact an FNU advisor or schedule an appointment to tour the either one of our campuses in Miami or Hialeah. Apply to FNU now to get started towards your career as an RT!