Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing—for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema. Their patients range from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients who have diseased lungs. They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks, drowning, or shock.
Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and older population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other disorders that can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function. The aging population will in turn lead to an increased demand for respiratory therapy services and treatments.
Advances in preventing and detecting disease, improved medications, and more sophisticated treatments will also increase the demand for respiratory therapists. Other conditions affecting the general population, such as respiratory problems due to smoking and air pollution, along with respiratory emergencies, will continue to create demand for respiratory therapists. The median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $58,670 in May 2016.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Respiratory Therapists,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm (visited January 30, 2018).
DSU Respiratory Therapy program graduates are eligible to take credentialing examinations administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), whose mission is promoting excellence in respiratory care by awarding credentials based on high competency standards.
Please visit their website for information regarding levels of credentials, eligibility and fees for various examinations, and links to licensing statutes for respiratory therapists nationwide.
Learn More: Links to the Profession
The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is the leading national and international professional association for respiratory care. The AARC encourages and promotes professional excellence, advances the science and practice of respiratory care, and serves as an advocate for patients and their families, the public, the profession and the respiratory therapist. Student membership information is available here.
The National Honor Society for the Profession of Respiratory Care, The Lambda Beta Society, was formed in 1986 to promote, recognize and honor scholarship, scholarly achievement, service, and character of students, graduates, and faculty members of the profession. The name of the society is based on the goals of the Respiratory Care profession: sustaining “life and breath” for all mankind. Lambda (Λ) is the Greek letter “L”, and beta (Β) is the Greek letter “B”. Lambda Beta Society currently has over 100 Chapters established at Respiratory Care programs across the United States. Student membership information is available here.