becoming a respiratory therapist in connecticut

How Long Does It Take to Become a Respiratory Therapist?

If you want a hands-on career that involves helping others, you be considering a career in the healthcare industry. Like many aspiring healers, however, you may not want to (or be able to) spend years in medical school. Fortunately, there are flexible, fast-track healthcare degrees that can get you into an incredibly rewarding field, helping others in need, in just a matter of months. Ranked among the best healthcare jobs in the nation, Respiratory Therapy is one of those fields that tops the list.

If you are someone who is compassionate, motivated, and looking to breathe new life into your career, you may be perfect for the role of the Respiratory Therapist (RT). This growing field offers a rewarding and exciting life for anyone looking to make a difference, while jumping into a hands-on career without sinking several years (and not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars) into your education.

Just what do Respiratory Therapists do? To put it simply, RTs care for patients who have trouble breathing. Patients range in all ages, and suffer with a variety of health concerns. Those with asthma, emphysema, chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, need the help of a Respiratory Therapist. With the number of patients in those departments, you can imagine the great need for this line of work.

How long does it take to become a Respiratory Therapist today? The short answer is, at least two years – or, the amount of time it takes to meet the standard requirements set for modern RTs, including an associate degree and licensure. However, there are flexible and faster-pace programs available. There are also bachelor’s degree options for aspiring Respiratory Therapists who can commit to more school.

Read on to learn about the career path for Respiratory Therapists in Connecticut, what it takes to get there, and why it’s a great career choice for those hoping to start helping people fast.

Respiratory Therapist Career Paths 

Respiratory Therapist careers nationwide, and across the state of Connecticut, are booming. In fact, the Connecticut Department of Labor finds that RT careers are growing “faster than average.” Nationally, the Labor of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects this field to grow 23 percent over the next several years – also much faster than the average for all occupations.

Since patients of Respiratory Therapists are so diverse, working as an RT means you can take your pick from a variety of work settings, such as:

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Homecare settings
  • Life Star air ambulance
  • Rehabilitation and long term care facilities

But just how do you get there? To become a Respiratory Therapist today, you will need at least an associate degree in the field. Generally, this takes about two years to complete. At Goodwin College, students must complete 70 credits in the RT program to graduate, which is standard school to school. However, with three academic sessions offered each year (Fall, Spring, Summer), Goodwin’s full-time students have the option to complete their Respiratory Care degree in less than the standard time.

According to the BLS, some employers do prefer applicants who have a bachelor’s degree, which can take four years to complete. If you would like to start working in the field fast, you may consider earning an associate degree (what’s required), and going back for your bachelor’s after gaining some experience in the field. Many RT graduates at Goodwin come back to earn their bachelor’s in Health Science.

In addition to having a postsecondary degree, Respiratory Therapists are also required to be licensed in every state. You can earn your licensure by successfully completing the entry-level exam and the advanced practitioner level exam for Respiratory Care Practitioners, administered by the National Board of Respiratory Care. This will demonstrate your proficiency as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). A Respiratory Therapist school will help prepare you for this licensing examination.

Once you’ve completed your program and attained licensure, you will have acquired the skills and knowledge needed to land a job as a Respiratory Care Practitioner. Should you later decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Health Science, you can apply the majority of your credits towards these degrees.

If you’re interested in the Respiratory Therapist program at Goodwin College, call us at 800-889-3282. You may also request more information online about our flexible and competitive program.