Approximately 135,800 respiratory therapy workers are employed in the United States. About 82 percent of respiratory therapy jobs are in hospital departments of respiratory care, anesthesiology, or pulmonary medicine. The rest are employed by oxygen equipment rental companies, ambulance services, nursing homes, home health agencies, and physicians' offices. Many respiratory technicians hold a second job.
Graduates of Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care- and Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs-accredited respiratory therapy training programs may use their school's career services offices to help them find jobs. They may apply directly to the individual local health care facilities.
High school graduates may apply directly to local hospitals for jobs as respiratory therapy assistants. If your goal is to become a respiratory technician, however, you will need to enroll in a formal respiratory therapy educational program.
Respiratory technicians with years of experience may become senior technicians. With appropriate training courses and experience they may advance to the therapist level and then be promoted or advance to become assistant chief or chief therapist. With graduate education, they may be qualified to teach respiratory therapy at the college level or move into administrative positions such as director.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as AARC Times (https://www.aarc.org/resources/publications/aarc-times) to keep up with industry issues and developments.
The American Association for Respiratory Care offers a wealth of articles on career development at its Web site, https://www.aarc.org/careers/career-advice.
Visit https://www.aarc.org/students/job-info for respiratory technician job listings.