Approximately 135,800 respiratory therapists 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 therapists 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. Otherwise, they may apply directly to the individual local health care facilities.
Many respiratory therapists start out as assistants or technicians. With appropriate training courses and experience, they advance to the therapist level. Respiratory therapists with sufficient experience may be promoted to 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
Visit the American Association for Respiratory Care's Web site for career development information and resources, https://www.aarc.org/careers/career-advice.
Search for respiratory therapy job listings at https://www.aarc.org/students/job-info.
Keep up with respiratory therapy developments and issues by reading publications such as AARC Times, https://www.aarc.org/resources/publications/aarc-times.