Today, more respiratory departments in South Florida and nationwide are looking for respiratory therapists for hire. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of Respiratory Therapists (RT) is projected to grow 19% from the year 2012 to 2022.
The demand for workers in the field of respiratory care is increasing due to two critical factors: Aging baby boomers who are retiring are causing more vacancies in the workplace, and the growth of the elderly and middle-aged population increasing the job demand to treat health conditions that are common among the older age.
If you are interested in learning how to become an RT, look no further than Florida National University (FNU). With two campus locations in Miami and Hialeah, FNU is a regionally accredited higher learning institution that offers both associates and bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Therapy.
What Respiratory Therapist Do and Where They Work
A Respiratory Therapist specializes in assisting patients of all ages in the health of the respiratory system. This system controls human breathing which is essential to the life and health of a person.
The Different Work Environments for Respiratory Therapists
When it comes to RTs in the work environment, they need to be detailed-oriented to ensure each patient gets the right treatment. They need to keep and collect well-organized records, work well with doctors and have strong interpersonal skills. Since it is common for RTs to work long hours, they need to have the capability to work well under pressure and have the compassion to act as a support system for patients.
An RT’s work environment varies considerably, and they are involved in almost every area of respiratory care, but the majority of them work in hospitals. At a hospital, an RT can work in the newborn unit, emergency rooms, diagnostics, and chronic rehabilitative therapy. Other work environments for RTs include nursing care facilities, critical care, home care, long-term mechanical ventilation units, Durable Medical Equipment companies (DMEs), pulmonary rehabilitation facilities, sleep studies units and Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs).
How to Become a Respiratory Therapist
To become a Respiratory Therapist a minimum of an associate’s degree is required, but not for much longer. The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) aim at making the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy the entry level into the profession degree by 2020. At FNU, we advise our students to aim at achieving the highest level of education possible, and we encourage our RT students to obtain a bachelor’s degree. To meet that AARC goal and to have our students excel, FNU has the BSRT Degree Advance option for all ASRTs who have graduated from a Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) accredited program, and has recently begun the proceedings to offer an entry-level Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care (BSRC). Completion of the latter will take approximately 3 1/2 years.
Florida National University (FNU) offers two degrees in Respiratory Therapy:
The Associates of Science in Respiratory Therapy (ASRT)
- 2-year degree program
- 80 credits
The ASRT program specializes in lung and breathing health. Students will gain the knowledge to enter the RT field at an entry-level position and are required to take courses such as Respiratory Anatomy and Physiology, Respiratory Care Equipment, Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics and Pediatrics/Neonatal Respiratory Care. FNU awards an Associate of Science Degree upon graduation.
This program prepares students to pass the Entry and Advanced Level Exam National Board for Respiratory Care. Upon passing these exams, they will achieve the prestigious national title of a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).
The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT)
- 4-year degree program
- 120 credit hours
Students interested in furthering their career as a Respiratory Therapist can do so by enrolling in FNU’s Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT). In the BSRT program, the general education requirements consist of English, Speech, Ethics, 6 credit hours’ worth of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and 7 credit hours in the area of Mathematics that includes College Algebra, Statistics, and College Study Skills. The core area of Natural Sciences has the most credit requirements beginning with intermediate courses in Anatomy & Physiology and Chemistry. Other classes include Microbiology and Medical Terminology.
Earn Your BSRT Online
FNU awards a Bachelor of Science degree upon completion of the program. At FNU, we know that our students have busy schedules. That is why students enrolled in FNU’s Bachelor of Science Respiratory Therapy program have the flexibility to take every course on campus or 100% online.
Graduation and Beyond
To complete FNU’s RT degree program, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. If students are unable to support the required GPA, FNU can terminate their admission to the degree program. If students wish to retake a course, they only have one chance to retake it. Attendance is also vital, especially when it comes to clinical hours. Students are allowed to miss at least 23 clinical hours each session. However, there is a make-up policy for students who miss clinical hours due to reasonable circumstances.
Licensing and Certification
Upon graduating as a Respiratory Therapist, students are eligible to take the entry-level exam of the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist. Following the certification, students may take the advanced written and simulation exams of the NBRC to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist.
FNU: Your Choice for an Exemplary RT Program
Founded in 1982, FNU provides both international students and local students the same tuition and offer numerous scholarship opportunities to our students. If you are considering becoming an RT, or have questions about our RT programs, contact an FNU advisor today to schedule an appointment with one of our guidance counselors. They will set you up for any prerequisite courses that you need to take before starting the program. For a full list of FNU’s RT curriculum, you can view our entire academic catalog here.