Respiratory Therapists help people breathe more easily. Their patients, newborn through elderly, have cardio-pulmonary (heart-lung) problems brought on by asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and other conditions. Respiratory therapists test patients for breathing capacity and analyze oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations. To improve breathing, they treat patients with exercises and physiotherapy, by administering inhaled medications and, if necessary, by hooking up ventilators for patients who cannot breathe for themselves. Respiratory therapists are also educators, making sure patients and their families know how to maintain cardiopulmonary function and health.
Salary Range: $42,490 – $81,550
Salary Notes: The mean salary in Vermont is $62,800.
Where you can study:
Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA
Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, RI
Goodwin College, East Hartford, CT
Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield, ME
Manchester (CT) Community College, Manchester, CT
Massasoit Community College, Brockton, MA
Naugatuck Valley Community College, Waterbury, CT
New England Institute of Technology, East Greenfield, RI
North Shore Community College, Danvers, MA
Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA
Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, MA
River Valley Community College, Claremont, NH
Rhode Island College, Providence, RI
Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT
Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, ME
Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA
University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT
Vermont Technical College – Williston and Newport, VT
Where you might work:
– Diagnostic Laboratories – Home Health Care Agencies – Hospitals – Industry – Long-term Care Facilities – Outpatient Clinics – Patient Transport Services – Physician Offices – Private Homes – Rehabilitation Centers – Sleep Centers
Job Outlook: Job opportunities are expected to increase faster than average through 2024 because of the substantial growth in middle-aged and elderly populations. Employment opportunities are most favorable for respiratory therapists with cardiopulmonary care skills and experience working with newborns and infants.
Education, Licensing and Certification: Prospective respiratory therapists should emphasize math and science course work in high school. After high school, it normally takes two years to complete an associate degree and prepare for the national registry exam, which is required. It is possible to work as a Registered Respiratory Therapist while completing a bachelor’s degree. More education can lead to higher levels of responsibility and higher salaries in the field.
American Association for Respiratory Care 972-243-2272
National Board for Respiratory Care 888-341-4811
Vermont and New Hampshire Society for Respiratory Care