Many people who want to help others often think about working in the healthcare industry. And if you are someone who is compassionate, motivated, and looking to breathe new life into your career, a career in respiratory therapy may just be for you. Respiratory therapy is a growing field that offers a rewarding and exciting job description for anyone looking to make a difference caring for others. Not to mention, you can land this hands-on career without spending several years in medical school.
As you consider the path towards becoming a Respiratory Therapist (RT), you may be wondering what exactly this role entails. What does the Respiratory Job description demand? Below, Goodwin College explores Respiratory Therapist careers in Connecticut, as well as what it means to fill (and fulfill) this important position.
What does a Respiratory Therapist do?
Simply put: Respiratory Therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing. Patients can range in all ages, and suffer with a variety of health concerns. Those with asthma, emphysema, chronic respiratory disease, and heart disease, for example, need the help of a Respiratory Therapist.
Overall, some basic duties for an RT include:
- Administration of oxygen
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Management of mechanical ventilators
- Administering drugs to the lungs
- Monitoring cardiopulmonary systems
- Measuring lung function
In addition the clinical tasks listed above, the Respiratory Therapist job description can also involve:
- Examining and interviewing patients
- Consulting with physicians to determine treatment plans
- Performing diagnostic tests, such as measuring lung capacity
- Treating patients using a variety of methods, such as aerosol medications and chest physiotherapy
- Monitoring and recording patients’ progress
- Teaching patients how to use equipment and take medications
Respiratory Therapists perform chest physiotherapy and help make breathing easier for patients. It is a crucial role for anyone suffering from lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. To that end, Respiratory Therapists also work with advanced equipment and medical supplies, such as ventilators, on a daily basis to help treat patients. They also set up and monitor these devises, to ensure the patient is receiving the proper amount of air at the right pace.
And much like nurses and phlebotomists, RTs may take blood samples and help calm the nerves of nervous patients. This is, without a doubt, a career choice for someone who wants to work in an interactive field while seeing the difference they make in people’s lives on a daily basis.
Location, Location, Location
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 centers
- Long term care facilities
In some hospitals, RTs are involved in related areas of the field – such as diagnosing breathing problems for those with sleep apnea and even offer counseling patients on how to stop smoking.
Landing a Job
Respiratory Therapist careers in 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 expects this field to grow 23 percent over the next several years – much faster than the average for all occupations!
But before you can even think about becoming a Respiratory Therapist, you must get a great education. This is a standard requirement that you’ll find on any Respiratory Therapist job description – an associate degree from an accredited Respiratory Therapist school. Goodwin College, a leader in healthcare education, offers an associate degree in Respiratory Care that combines classroom and clinical learning. Our school has very close, clinical partnerships with hospitals, health centers, and physicians throughout the state of Connecticut. Students are expected to carry out clinical rotations while getting exposed to hands-on experiences with real patients in need of care. Our classes and clinical rotations are offered at night and can be tailored to accommodate your busy life.
Respiratory Therapist job descriptions will also ask applicants to hold an active RT license. This is currently required in every state except Alaska. You can earn licensure after completing a college degree and taking the national board exam.
Once the education and certifications are in the bag, you will want to stand out against the competition.
5 Tips for Fulfilling the Respiratory Therapist Job Description
- Network, Network, Network
During your clinical rotations, you should get friendly with the professionals you come into contact with. Get to know other Respiratory Therapists, and make great connections so you are remembered by the staff. References and contacts can make a big difference in landing the job of your dreams – particularly when they come from fellow RTs.
- Use the Resources at Goodwin College
The Career Services team at Goodwin College offers graduates a lifetime of career placement and counseling support — for free! We’ll help polish up your resume and cover letter, and assist with networking, workshops, mock interviewing, individual counseling, career fairs, and more. We’re not done working with you until you are in a great Respiratory Therapist career that you love.
- Be Prepared
If you want to become a Respiratory Therapist, you want to become an expert in the field. Bone up on your studies from that great education you just received, and get ready to answer an array of questions about the job. Prepare to tackle scenario questions in interviews, and really put those problem-solving skills to work here. It is also helpful to stay up-to-date with news regarding the healthcare industry. Bringing up a “recent study” during an interview is sure to impress the (potential) boss.
- Get Out There
Much of our world revolves around the Internet. But you don’t have to rely on those online applications to land a job, nor should you. Oftentimes, online applications are sent to overfilled inboxes that are barely skimmed. If you know you want to work in a particular hospital or healthcare facility – don’t be shy! Pick up the phone and make an inquiry.
- Follow Up
Once you’ve gotten an interview, be sure to check back in with your potential future employer. One tip that will really help you stand out amongst the competition: Send a hand-written thank you note. Very few people bother to send snail mail after an interview. This is sure to impress and help you land the job!
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.