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Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists teach patients how to use treatments such as inhalers to help improve their breathing.

Respiratory therapists teach patients how to use treatments such as inhalers to help improve their breathing.

 

Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing; for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema. They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks, stroke, drowning, or shock.

 

Fast Facts

Minimum Education Required: Associate’s degree

Top 3 Skills: Physical Fitness, Personality, Leadership

Average Starting Salary: $45,000/year

 

Job Description

Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals. Others may work in nursing care facilities or travel to patients’ homes.

Education

Respiratory therapists need at least an associate’s degree, although both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are common. Respiratory therapists are licensed in all states except Alaska; requirements vary by state.

Licensing/Certification

Respiratory therapists are licensed in all states except Alaska; requirements vary by state.

Job Outlook: Good

Employment is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to greater demand for respiratory therapy services and treatments, mostly in hospitals and nursing homes.

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