Respiratory therapy technicians evaluate, monitor, treat and care for patients with breathing disorders, and provide specific respiratory procedures under the supervision of a doctor or health care professional. Based primarily on test results, a breathing treatment program could be created for a patient, for which a respiratory therapy technician may help by monitoring, overseeing and providing feedback during particular sessions.
Respiratory Therapy Technician Schools
Students interested in respiratory therapy technician schools can look for programs at vo-tech schools, community colleges, and universities and learn how to provide technical care to patients with acute and chronic respiratory illnesses. An associate degree is typically necessary to gain entry-level skills while a bachelor's degree can help students to gain more advanced abilities. Respiratory therapy training programs are available at schools across the country, including:
- St. Paul College: Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, this community and technical college in St. Paul, Minn., offers an associate of applied science degree in respiratory therapy and first-hand learning experiences from skilled professionals.
- University of Cincinnati: This school, in Ohio, makes available a bachelor's of science degree in respiratory therapy that can be completed entirely online and with no need for student visits to campus at all. The program also can be completed in as little as 20 months.
- Stevens-Henager College: With campus locations in Salt Lake City, Utah and Boise, Idaho, the respiratory therapy program at this school leads to an associate degree. It can be completed in as little as 20 months, includes two clinical experiences and offers students the opportunity to go to school during the day, the evening or even online.
- Gulf Coast State College: The program at this school, in Panama City, Fla., is aimed at helping students prepare to work toward their Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. Education leads to an associate degree, and includes five clinical experiences, four seminars in selected topics and five respiratory care labs.
- Community College of Philadelphia: The respiratory therapy program at this community college, in Pennsylvania, includes classroom learning, lab experiences, and supervised training in a healthcare setting. It leads to an associate of applied science degree and prepares students to seek Certified Registered Therapist (CRTP) credentialing.
Whether you are working toward an associate or bachelor's degree in one of the respiratory therapy technician training programs, you should gain knowledge and skills in anatomy and physiology, mechanical ventilation, pulmonary, pharmacology and more. Completing a program that is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care also may be helpful to seeking licensure or certification.
Respiratory Therapy Courses
An associate degree is usually needed to enter the field, although some employers do prefer to hire individuals with a bachelor's degree, reports the BLS. Most programs include subject matters such as:
- Courses in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Various types of diagnostic testing and equipment
- Clinical experiences guided by a supervisor.
Certification and Licensing for Respiratory Therapy
Certification can be earned through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). This organization offers two levels of certification:
- The Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT)
- The Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) -- This requires applicants to already be CRT certified.
Licensure is required for respiratory therapy technicians in all states except for Alaska, according to the BLS. Typically, a professional certification exam is necessary to get a license, although applicants may need to take a state exam as an alternative. A state board of health will have more information about the requirements for state licensure.
Resources for Respiratory Therapy Technicians
- American Association for Respiratory Care
- Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs
- National Board for Respiratory Care
- International Association of Respiratory Therapists (IART)
- About Us. International Association of Respiratory Therapists, no date. http://iaresp.com/aboutus.php
- Respiratory Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm#tab-6
- Respiratory Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292054.htm
- Respiratory Therapy Technicians, CareerOneStop, 2015. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=000110111&soccode=292054
- Projections Central, Long-Term Occupational Projections, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Respiratory Therapy, St. Paul College. http://www.saintpaul.edu/programs/healthscience/Pages/Respiratory-Therapist.aspx
- Online Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy, University of Cincinnati. http://respiratorytherapy.uc.edu/lpppc-rt/?Access_Code=UC-BSHSRC-GOOGLEMOBILE&kwd=respiratory%20therapist%20degree%20programs&gclid=CIHmlsb4scoCFVJhfgodApsP9w
- Associate of Applied Science Respiratory Therapy. Stevens-Henager College. http://www.stevenshenager.edu/respiratory-therapy-as-aas
- Respiratory Therapy, Gulf Coast State College. https://www.gulfcoast.edu/health_sciences/respiratory/aas_degree_plan.htm
- Respiratory Care Technology, Community College of Philadelphia. http://www.ccp.edu/academic-offerings/all-offerings/health-care/degree-programs/respiratory-care-technology