5 Great Jobs for a Respiratory Therapist

5 In-Demand Respiratory Therapist Careers

  • Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Homes
  • Hospitals
  • Sleep Centers
  • Medical Sales
  • Education

Respiratory therapy involves the treatment of breathing diseases and breathing disorders. These breathing disorders can derive from numerous causes including serious illnesses such as cancer or heart disease to traumatic injuries such as car accidents that inhibit a person’s ability to breathe or breathe easily on their own. Of all of the health professions, respiratory therapists provide one of the most vital health services in the entire industry, keeping patients breathing. Because the profession of respiratory therapy overlaps numerous healthcare settings you can gain employment in several settings, from high-adrenaline to managed care. Here are five great jobs for respiratory therapists.

1. Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Homes

The elderly are some of the most susceptible to upper and lower respiratory diseases including pneumonia, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Because of this fact, many nursing and rehabilitative care homes will hire respiratory therapists on staff to see to the health, treatment, and prevention of respiratory illnesses among their residents.

2. Hospitals

Many respiratory therapists will find employment in a hospital setting at some point or another during their careers. In this setting, you will be expected to act fast and may need to respond to emergency codes, set up ventilators, assist with intubations, and run arterial blood gas tests as part of your daily duties. Because hospitals are opened 24/7, they will typically hire respiratory therapists to be on staff 24/7, making it no surprise that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hospitals are the largest employer of respiratory therapists.

3. Sleep Centers

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, individuals with obstructive sleep apnea — commonly known as snoring — are more likey to have a heart attack, two to three times more likely to have a stroke, and have more than three times the risk of premature death than those who do not suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Respiratory therapists can help to combat this dangerous condition by conducting a sleep study that monitors your overnight sleep activity, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels in your body.

4. Medical Sales

From Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines to ventilators, there are several specialized tools used by respiratory therapists every day. As a trained and licensed respiratory therapist yourself, you’re in a perfect position to work with the manufacturers of these tools to develop sales plans that can creatively and effectively sell their equipment to the practitioners who need it.

5. Education

As the respiratory therapy profession grows and evolves, there will start to become a greater demand for practitioners, which in turn means that additional faculty will need to be hired on to train these incoming practitioners. As a professor of respiratory therapy, you will get to advance the mission of your profession while empower new students who have the same passion and desire to help others that you do.

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Respiratory therapy is an exciting career with a vibrant future. There are currently 130,200 respiratory therapy positions available in the U.S. today and the BLS expects that by the year 2026, an additional 30,400 jobs will be available. While many of these practitioners will be employed in hospitals and clinics, there are numerous opportunities abound for anyone interested in this direly needed profession.