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Respiratory Therapy: Student Resources

At Armstrong, we train respiratory therapists to work with gases stored under pressure, and adhere to safety precautions and testing of life support and diagnostic equipment to minimize the risk of injury. As in many other health occupations, respiratory therapists are exposed to infectious diseases, but by carefully following proper procedures they can minimize the risks. Growth in demand will result from the expanding role of respiratory therapists in case management, disease prevention, emergency care, and the early detection of pulmonary disorders. Eighty percent of jobs are in hospitals, but therapists work in anesthesiology, pulmonary medicine, or in offices of physicians, hospice care, nursing care facilities, long-term acute-care facilities, and home healthcare services. In some hospitals, therapists perform tasks that fall outside their traditional role, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, smoking cessation counseling, asthma and cystic fibrosis education, disease prevention, case management, and polysomnography – the diagnosis of breathing disorders during sleep, such as apnea. Respiratory therapists also increasingly treat critical-care patients, either as part of a surface and air transport team, or as part of medical emergency teams and rapid response teams inside acute-care hospitals. Respiratory therapists employed in home healthcare must travel frequently to patient's homes.

Traits

A respiratory therapist must be able to work independently under minimal supervision, have strong mechanical aptitudes, be a firm decision-maker and creative problem-solver, work well with diverse people of all ages, and have good verbal and written communication skills.

Academics: Respiratory therapists complete four years of education leading to a bachelor's degree. Graduation from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care is required for certification and registry.

Professional Organizations

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
1248 Harwood Road
Bedford, TX  76021-4244
Phone: 817.283.2835

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