Formal training is necessary for entry into this field. Training is offered at the post-secondary level by colleges and universities, medical schools, vocational-technical institutes, and the Armed Forces.
An_associate’s degree is required for entry into the field. Most programs award associate’s or bachelor’s degrees and prepare graduates for jobs as advanced respiratory therapists. A limited number of associate’s degree programs lead to jobs as entry-level respiratory therapists. There are 51 entry-level and 329 advanced respiratory therapy programs were accredited in the United States.
Among the areas of study in respiratory therapy are human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, pharmacology, and mathematics. Other courses deal with therapeutic and diagnostic procedures and tests, equipment, patient assessment, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the application of clinical practice guidelines, patient care outside of hospitals, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, respiratory health promotion and disease prevention, and medical record keeping and reimbursement.
Therapists should be sensitive to patients’ physical and psychological needs. Respiratory care practitioners must pay attention to detail, follow instructions, and work as part of a team. In addition, operating advanced equipment requires proficiency with computers. High school students interested in a career in respiratory care should take courses in health, biology, mathematics, chemistry, and physics.