Online Colleges for Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapists work in the health care field, which is an industry that is expanding as the U.S. population ages and experiences an increase in its health care needs. Because the ever-changing pace often found in a health care job means that you need to be flexible as far as responding to patient needs, respiratory therapists can find careers that offer them work in different types of settings. Take, for example, a hospital, where the majority of respiratory therapists are employed. As a respiratory therapist employed there, you could find yourself on a day shift, but also working evenings, nights or weekends. Additionally, if you work for an organization providing home health care or the like, your job could require you to travel back and forth to client homes instead of doing the frequent standing and walking that might be found in a hospital. It's really up to you. However, whatever type of facility you ultimately see yourself working for, the education that you need to help you make a start in the field can be found at many schools, including those that are available online.

Respiratory Therapy Online Programs

Many respiratory therapists begin their careers with an associate degree, but a bachelor's degree or above could be helpful in advancement, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students can find online respiratory therapy programs that lead to an Associate of Science or Bachelor's of Science degree with classwork in subjects such as chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, mathematics and more. Additionally, in these online programs, students will have the opportunity to learn about basic respiratory care and research. A license to work as a respiratory therapist is needed in all states, except for in Alaska and Hawaii, according to the BLS. If you already have a respiratory therapy degree, you could be interested in other online health programs such as an MBA in health services administration.

Job Outlook for Respiratory Therapy Careers

More than 80 percent of respiratory therapists worked in hospitals in 2008, according to BLS data. Those jobs were found in departments such as anesthesiology, respiratory care and pulmonary medicine. However, respiratory therapists are not limited to working in hospitals by any means. They could find opportunities in doctor's offices, home health service companies, nursing homes and even businesses renting out respiratory therapy equipment. In all, job opportunities are considered to be very good for respiratory therapists who have a bachelor's degree and the requisite certification. This is primarily due to the rapid growth of the middle-aged and elderly population. Similar to the health care industry as a whole, the field of respiratory therapy is expected to grow 21 percent during the 2008-2018 decade, the BLS indicated. This growth is considered faster than average and could result in the creation of more than 22,000 new jobs during this time. The mean wages earned by respiratory therapists working in the U.S. were $55,220, according to the BLS. Other related fields of interest could be physical therapy, radiation therapy, or registered nursing. These all allow you to have hands-on care with patients, but in slightly different ways.

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