The field of respiratory therapy is growing. Between elevated health concerns and the rise of chronic respiratory illnesses, respiratory therapists are in high demand across the country—especially in South Florida. Why the demand? There are a lot of factors that should be taken into consideration.
Florida National University (FNU) takes a closer look at the reason behind the demand, determining career opportunities and their related benefits or salaries.
Why is there a Greater Need?
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Respiratory therapy is one of the nation’s most in-demand health care fields due to the prevalence and seriousness of pulmonary disease, and because respiratory problems are common with organ failure and cardiopulmonary disorders.” Due to these increased risks, there is a growing demand for trained, professional respiratory therapists. It is important to have healthy lungs as they often affect the rest of a person’s health.
Another health concern is the growing number of people with asthma, a chronic breathing disorder. This “has driven demand for respiratory care. Asthma affects more than 26 million people in the United States, up from about 20 million in 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control.” Not surprisingly, the need for respiratory therapists has grown in tandem with an increase in patients diagnosed.
A Look at the Asthma Increase
There is much speculation regarding the rise of asthma. According to the Center for Disease Control, “People diagnosed with asthma in the United States grew by 4.3 million between 2001 and 2009 . . . The report highlights the benefits of essential asthma education and services that reduce the impact of these triggers, but most often these benefits are not covered by health insurers” (CDC).
As asthma and other respiratory concerns continue to rise, it’s critical for trained professionals to obtain education from an accredited university. Doing so can save lives.
Why Should South Florida Take Note?
Those diagnosed with asthma must live daily with the symptoms—difficulty breathing, wheezing, and chest tightness—which often need to be treated with urgency. This is especially critical in certain states, including Florida. The following factors relate to the increased need for respiratory therapists in South Florida:
- The Condition of the Climate. In South Florida, the climate is considered sub-tropical. Therefore, this region experiences a lot of heat and humidity. These elements can make breathing tough for anyone who is not used to it—but especially those who suffer from chronic breathing illnesses.While heat and humidity are normal for those living in South Florida, it can be a concern for visitors who are not acclimated to this climate.
- Because South Florida is a prominent tourist attraction, there are visitors from all over the place coming to enjoy the weather. Those who are used to milder, drier air and temperatures might suffer breathing difficulties on very hot or humid days. Anyone who has difficulty breathing when visiting a new place should seek immediate medical attention.
- A Growing Elderly Population. Most people are aware that a growing number of U.S. residents relocate to Florida post-retirement. The mild weather and lack of snow/ice make it a great place for them to spend the later portion of their lives—but the humidity and pollen can be problematic for these retirees. Plus, along with age comes an increase in health difficulties along with less physical ability. Therefore, pulmonary health is a growing concern for the aging Florida population.
- Underwater Activities and Sports. Respiratory therapists are needed on (or nearby) the scene of water activities, which South Florida residents and tourists are prone to take part in. With popular activities such as swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, there is an increased need for respiratory therapists with solid skills and training.
Get the Training You Need
South Florida respiratory students—along with those across the globe—will need great training and education in order to understand the skills needed to serve as a professional respiratory therapist.
About the Programs
Florida National University offers two programs in this field—an associate’s program and a bachelor’s program. Here’s a closer look at the two:
- Associates: This program prepares the students to pass the Entry and Advance 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 departments, anesthesiology or pulmonary rehab, pulmonary diagnostics, nursing homes, and home health agencies. The program also includes credit-hour components of general education/liberal arts courses. FNU awards an Associate of Science Degree upon graduation.
- Bachelors: The purpose of this program is to enhance the education of RRT graduates with a current NBRC credential to provide them with professional growth and skills in areas of management, cultural diversity, and supervisory skills across various healthcare settings. FNU awards a Bachelor of Science degree upon completion. The program is designed to be taken online in its entirety, and or to be taken partly online and partly on campus.
Students who are considering entering this field should review the student handbook and read the six things to know before becoming a respiratory therapist.
FNU: Getting You Started
If you are considering a career in respiratory therapy, now is the time to get started. FNU offers an accredited program that will train students to obtain the needed skills in order to be successful in this field. Apply to FNU now to get started!