The field of a respiratory therapist will be growing over the next few years. Also known as respiratory care practitioners, the respiratory therapist evaluates, treats, and cares for those people who have breathing trouble, as well as cardiopulmonary disorders. They treat everyone from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to the elderly whose lungs have become diseased. They attempt, too, to provide relief to those patients with chronic ailments such as asthma or emphysema, and provide emergency care to those who are victims of shock, drowning, strokes or heart attacks.
The salary of a respiratory therapist will vary from state to state, but doesn’t differ too much. Let’s take, for example, the state of Virginia, where you’ll find J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, which offers an AAS Degree online for Respiratory Therapy, one of the few colleges that make this offer in their distance education program. In Richmond, Virginia, the annual earnings of Respiratory Therapists, as of three years ago, was somewhere between 48,343 dollars to 55,229 dollars. The lowest percentage earned by respiratory therapists is about 45,542 thousand dollars, while the upper percentage may earn as much as 58,686 thousand dollars a year.
Currently, the job outlook for respiratory therapists appears to be good, especially for those therapists who have also obtained cardiopulmonary care skills, or for those therapists who have experience working with infants.
Job opportunities for respiratory therapists are expanding faster than average when taken into consideration with all other occupations, continuing to grow for the next five years, to 2014. This prediction is based on the growing numbers of the elderly and middle-aged in the population, a fact that will also increase the number of cases of cardiopulmonary disease. In addition, as the need for respiratory therapists expand and their roles increase, there should be earlier detection of pulmonary disorders, and a need for greater case management, emergency care, and disease prevention.