Hyperventilating about your future? Maybe we can help by giving you some insight into our Respiratory Care program.
What Does a Respiratory Care Practitioner Do?
Let’s start at the beginning: what does respiratory care entail, exactly? First and foremost, respiratory therapists work with physicians to create and facilitate treatment plans. Specifically, they focus on patients who have trouble breathing. Their patients might range from people with a chronic respiratory disease (like asthma or emphysema), premature infants with undeveloped lungs, emergency care involving drowning or heart attacks, and more.
Therapists might work in a number of different settings, all of which involve different individual skill sets. For example, they may work in an outpatient doctor’s office or perform diagnostic testing. It could also involve working with a patient in the ICU, doing home care or even research.
Respiratory Therapist Education Requirements in Texas
You can become a respiratory care therapist with an associate degree or, more specifically, in about five semesters as a full-time student in the Respiratory Care program at El Centro. Graduates of this two-year program will then be eligible to sit for the entry-level certified respiratory therapist credentialing exam and the advanced practitioners’ exam offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care.
The National Board for Respiratory Care is the main certifying body for respiratory therapists, and you will need to pass the exam in order to get your certified respiratory therapist credential and start practicing. If you score high enough on the CRT or as you continue to gain experience and advance, you may become eligible to take the test for the registered respirator.y therapist credential. In the state of Texas, you will also need to apply for your respiratory care practitioner license.
Respiratory care therapists can start working in the field with an associate degree, though it is recommended to complete a bachelor’s degree as well.
Respiratory Care Therapy is a Good Career Because…
- “I like it because it’s more specialized than nursing. You feel like you can actually make a difference with a patient when they have lung problems. You have the flexibility of working with patients of different ages and diseases. You get to teach them how to manage their disease and improve their quality of life. We are the first ones called when someone stops breathing. Knowing we play such a vital role in saving a life is a reward in and of itself. Watching someone walk out of the hospital after you have been on their care team is a wonderful feeling.” — Laurie Blundell
- “This program has given me the tools to be a vital member of any health care team. There is satisfaction in knowing you are making a positive difference. The field of respiratory care is one in which the learning process never stops, and this program prepared me well for all the challenges I have encountered.” — Dean Holland
- “I knew I wanted to take care of people.” — Vanessa Nguyen
- “If you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything else. I want to be there first; I like to be there on the line. […] The best part of my job is saving lives and being able to help people.” — Andrew Green
- “I go to work every day excited knowing that I will help someone. My knowledge is constantly revolving, and every day is a new adventure. I honestly cannot think of anything I’d rather be doing.” — Brittany Petruska
Another Reason for a Sigh of Relief: Job Growth
The employment level for these jobs is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024 — faster than the average for all occupations. The salary for these positions is also appealing, with an annual mean wage of $58,070 in Texas.
- So you think you’re interested in health care, but you’re not sure on the specifics? Check out our other nursing and health care programs on our website, or read some of our other blog posts about our nursing and health care programs.
- Our class schedules are flexible, with start dates throughout the year for things like flexible terms, fast track, distance learning and more — so it’s never too late to apply and register at the colleges of DCCCD.