BS in Respiratory Therapy: Careers

A stethoscope and pen lying on a medical chart

Career Outlook

Graduating from an advanced respiratory therapy program can prepare you for increased career satisfaction and opportunity. Growth within the respiratory therapy field is primarily due to our aging baby boomer generation and poor air quality in communities around the world.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to increase 12% between 2014 and 2024. The median annual wage for RTs is $57,790 (based on May 2015 data), with the top 10% earning more than $80,440.

A Changing Industry

An article in RT Magazine points to a movement toward home care for patients with chronic lung conditions. This will require more highly skilled RTs who understand the science and business of home-based respiratory care, including disease management, documentation, patient education and caregiver training. These respiratory therapists must also have the technical knowledge to set up, maintain and troubleshoot equipment in the patient’s home.

A Growing Need

It is not just an elderly or home-bound population that is seeing an increased need for respiratory care. In fact, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute estimates that there are 12 million U.S. patients suffering with undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Today, an estimated 12 million are currently living with COPD.

Considering these trends and statistics, investing in your future with a bachelor’s in Respiratory Therapy can help enhance your ability to compete in an industry that is evolving to meet changing demands.

The Future of Respiratory Therapy

Treatment of COPD, emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and other disorders — including the annual flu epidemic — will continue to demand the services of respiratory therapists in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies. Respiratory therapists held about 120,700 jobs in 2014. Some of the settings where RTs work include:

  • Hospital intensive care units

  • Emergency transport vehicles

  • Pulmonary function labs

  • Patient education venues

  • Community outreach agencies

Is a Respiratory Therapy Career Right for You?

The best and most successful respiratory therapists are empathetic individuals who truly care about others. If you are patient-centric, have excellent communication and technology skills, think creatively and can multi-task, a bachelor’s in Respiratory Therapy from the University of Cincinnati can help position you for success.

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