Though critical to keeping us alive, the average person doesn’t often think of his or her own breathing from one minute to the next. As a result of their job requirements, the Respiratory Therapist spends way more time studying this very common activity. Respiratory Therapists, also known as Respiratory Care Practitioners, evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. To evaluate their patients, these therapists test the capacity of the lungs and analyze the acidity or alkalinity level of the blood. The work setting is usually in a hospital, though an increasing number of respiratory care practitioners have branched out into nursing homes, home health agencies, medical supply companies, and even physician offices.
The standard level of education for a respiratory therapist is a two-year associate degree, although programs range from one to four years in length. Graduates who pass the entry-level examination administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care earn the Certified Respiratory Therapist credential: CRT. (These professionals were formerly known as respiratory therapy technicians.) Therapists with the appropriate level of education or two years of clinical experience as a CRT can then take the separate examination that leads to the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential: RRT.
- Shelton State Community College
- University of Alabama at Birmingham – Department of Diagnostic & Therapeutic Sciences
- University of South Alabama – College of Allied Health Professions
- Wallace State Community College
- Wallace State Community College – Hanceville