Associate’s degree in Respiratory therapy – An Overview
Respiratory therapy is a healthcare profession in which specialists work with patients suffering from cardiopulmonary and respiratory difficulties. Respiratory therapists work to identify, suggest treatment and monitor the progress of these patients.
Respiratory therapists work with respiratory technicians and other healthcare professionals such as physicians, pharmacists and nurses to help provide relief to patients of all ages, right from infants to the elderly. The field of respiratory therapy involves testing a patient’s lung capacity; determining the concentration of oxygen and other gasses in the blood, measuring the patient’s pH level in the blood, etc.
Education & qualifications
An associate degree of science in respiratory therapy is the minimum educational requirement (and in most cases the first step) towards becoming a respiratory therapist. However, those looking to advance their careers with higher paying and administrative jobs can always opt for a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in respiratory therapy.
Successful completion of the associate degree program enables the student to take the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) entry level Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and advanced level Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credentialing exams.
The NBRC offers the Certified Respiratory Therapy credential to those students who have completed an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) of the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Students looking for respiratory therapy programs should be careful to choose one that has been accredited by either one of these accrediting agencies.
Independence University is an example of a college that offers online degree programs in respiratory therapy at the associate and bachelor levels. If you look at an Independence University review, you will find that the college has been accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and their respiratory therapy program has been accredited by the CoARC.
Other reviews of Independence University shed light upon the college’s financial aid assistance programs, career services and FAFSA help. One of the biggest attractions to the college is the fact that students are asked to select an instructor (a Registered Respiratory Therapist) before the program begins, who serves as their clinical instructor throughout the tenure of the program. They are also asked to choose a local sponsoring facility where they can complete their clinical instruction.
Career Prospects over the next few years
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for respiratory therapists are expected to grow by 21 percent between 2008 and 2018. Respiratory therapists can earn salaries ranging from anywhere between $37,920 and $69,800. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos321.htm
Respiratory therapy is a field that deals with intricacies of cardiopulmonary and breathing disorders. If you love to help sick people, have a keen eye for detail and are able to work as a team to diagnose these problems, respiratory therapy might make a great career choice for you.