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Career Outlook for a Respiratory Therapy Technician

Apr 08, 2010

You are thinking about becoming a respiratory therapy technician, and you want to find out whether this job has a good career outlook before you start. Becoming a respiratory therapy technician involves a lot of learning and one to two years of training, so it’s a good idea to make sure that this job has a good future, or whether you should try another career path. It is also a good idea to inquire about what the average day as a respiratory therapy technician is like, so you can see if you like the work itself.

For the most part, careers in the health care industry are expanding at a phenomenal rate, mostly due to the fact that the bulk of the population is aging. This means that more people need help with their health issues – including respiratory therapy. Many older people are having respiratory issues including emphysema, pneumonia, and asthma. At the same time many health care workers are also retiring, so there is a gap in the need for health care workers, and the available supply of newly trained workers.

However, in the field of respiratory medicine there is a slight difference. Due to the changing nature of the health care industry many of the tasks normally assigned to a respiratory therapy technician are now being performed by the respiratory therapist themselves. Even though there is a need for health care workers, hospitals are trying to cut back by combining jobs when possible, including respiratory therapy technicians.

Growth of jobs for respiratory therapy technicians from 2008 to 2018 is expected to be -1%. This doesn’t mean that there are no jobs available in this industry, especially since many people will be retiring over the next few years, but it does mean that you will have to work extremely hard to obtain a position in this field. Only those who train hard and get good grades will have no difficulty finding jobs, so you have to be ready to commit from day one to this career.

To become a respiratory therapy technician you need a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree, and the average wage for this position in 2008 was $42,430 per year. However, to become a respiratory therapist you need an associate’s degree (preferably a bachelor’s degree) and in 2008 the average annual salary was $52,200. For the reasons outlined above it may be better to take the extra year or two of training and have better job options.

As a respiratory therapist you will have more autonomy on the job and you will be able to make treatment choices and give patients options. You can help people who have been in accidents, or been diagnosed with respiratory diseases, help recover their ability to breathe comfortably. You can help put together plans for physiotherapy so patient’s can strengthen their lungs and improve their ability to breathe.

The career outlook for respiratory therapists is excellent – growth in this career is expected to be 21% between 2008 and 2018. Those with a bachelor’s degree can expect to have even better job prospects, as well as those who have specialized training working with infants or those with cardio pulmonary diseases.

As the population ages, the need for respiratory therapists is going to increase. While job prospects for respiratory therapy technicians may not be excellent, with just a bit more training you can become a respiratory therapist and be responsible for making a huge difference in a person’s life. Get started today, and in two to four years you can be ready for a great job.

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