Cardiorespiratory Therapist: Job Duties & Career Info
Cardiorespiratory therapists assess patients with breathing disorders, conduct diagnostic tests and supervise therapeutic treatments. There are 2- and 3-year associate's degree programs in respiratory care, and many colleges offer a more comprehensive 4-year bachelor's degree in cardiorespiratory therapy.
Career Definition: Cardiorespiratory Therapist
Cardiorespiratory therapists work with patients to improve lung function, training and supervising them in the use of oxygen, chest physiotherapy and aerosol inhalants. Cardiorespiratory therapists must be familiar with ventilators, life-support and other diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. Most cardiorespiratory therapists are part of a hospital staff, some work for skilled nursing, rehabilitation and continued care facilities, and a growing segment are engaged in home health care.
How to Become a Cardiorespiratory Therapist
Education Information for Cardiorespiratory Therapy Careers
Community colleges and health science institutes may award an associate's degree after 2-3 years of study, but a bachelor's or master's degree in cardiorespiratory care will offer a graduate a broader choice of possible jobs. Nearly all U.S. states require cardiorespiratory therapists to be licensed, and rely upon the tiered certification exams offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), www.nbrc.org.
Skills Required for Success as a Cardiorespiratory Therapist
It is good for cardiorespiratory therapists to have an interest in helping others, as well as considerable physical and emotional strength. Patience, persistence and the heart to work with people in distress would also be important.
Cardiorespiratory Therapy Career and Economic Outlook
In 2012, the median annual salary for respiratory therapists, which includes cardiorespiratory therapists, was $55,870. The growth of respiratory therapist positions is predicted to be faster than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), due in part to growing middle-aged and elderly populations, who are the likeliest to need cardiorespiratory therapy.
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