Respiratory Care Career Outlook

Respiratory Therapist Job Outlook and Career Path

Updated By Staff Writer on October 30, 2020

Respiratory therapy is a rewarding career that allows you to work in a dynamic healthcare setting and help people improve their health while using the latest medical technology. If you’re interested in taking care of a wide range of patients in the emergency department or in a critical care setting, respiratory therapy may be right for you.

What is the job outlook for respiratory therapists? Once you know the answer to this question, you can determine if this job path is a good fit for your personality and lifestyle.

Respiratory Therapist Career Outlook

Healthcare jobs will always be essential to the workforce of our country. These jobs are considered more recession-proof than jobs in non-essential industries, meaning that job opportunities are fairly consistent and plentiful. Respiratory therapy jobs are in particularly high demand, and the field will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

What Is Respiratory Therapy?

What does a respiratory therapist do? Here’s a quick respiratory therapist job description: These medical professionals take care of patients who are having trouble breathing, either because of asthma, COPD, injury, or chronic disease. They spend their days assessing the needs of patients who are on ventilators, documenting ventilator settings, listening to patients’ lungs, and supporting patients on their journey to normal breathing.

Because respiratory therapists work very closely with patients who often have acute health issues, it’s important for them to have fine-tuned interpersonal skills and a natural compassion for those they are treating. Most respiratory therapists work full-time, either in a hospital, doctor’s office, or nursing care facility.

What Training Do I Get with a Bachelor’s Degree in Respiratory Care from Independence University?

If you already have an Associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy, and a CRT or RRT certification, and want to take your career further by completing your Bachelor’s degree in less than two years, the online program at Independence University may be the ideal solution.

In as few as 20 months, you’ll advance your career by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Care with a concentration in Respiratory Care Management or Advanced Clinical Practice. These degree programs will fine-tune your understanding of management, cardiopulmonary sciences, acute and critical care, and all other areas of respiratory care. You’ll be trained in topics such as:

  • Healthcare trends and research
  • Patient education
  • Case management
  • Leadership
  • Information systems
  • Disease management
  • Cardiopulmonary pathology and diagnostics

The program at Independence University offers unparalleled support in your journey toward an even more successful career. You’ll have an admissions consultant, student planner, and numerous instructors on your side as you advance through the program.

Job Industry Outlook for Respiratory Therapy

The respiratory therapist job outlook is promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts the field will grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029.1 This growth rate is much faster than average and will result in thousands of new job opportunities for those with the proper credentials.

As the baby boomer generation ages, a higher number of the population may struggle with respiratory conditions that could damage or limit lung functionality. This will likely further increase the need for respiratory therapists in the U.S.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Respiratory Therapy Degree?

Those with a degree in respiratory therapy usually go on to get jobs as respiratory care supervisors or managers. But even with the most stable career path, it’s always smart to diversify your skillset and research other ways to earn a living within the field. So where do respiratory therapists work? And what other jobs can a respiratory therapist do?

Someone with a respiratory therapy background might also get a job as a supervisor or manager at a sleep disorder treatment center or land a job in case management or patient education. Respiratory therapists may serve patient populations including newborns, children with asthma, adults with breathing difficulty, or elderly people.

Highest-Paying Jobs for Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists who work in hospitals often earn a higher income than those who work in physician offices or nursing care facilities, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2

According to data from May 2019,3 the states or areas with the highest salaries for respiratory therapists include:

  • California
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Hawaii

Career Advancement for Respiratory Therapists after Further Education

Once you’ve worked in the field of respiratory therapy for several years, you may be looking for new ways to advance your career. Fortunately, there are other paths your degree may take if you’re looking for a job outside of respiratory care. Some examples include:

  • Start your own respiratory therapy business
  • Work for a respiratory therapy equipment manufacturer
  • Become an educator

Learn More about Respiratory Therapy from Independence University

Interested in learning more about Independence University’s respiratory care programs? Request information about our Bachelor’s degrees today. Because our programs are focused on preparing you for a real work environment, you’ll be able to efficiently finish your degree and dive into the career of your dreams. Our programs are flexible and convenient and help you find more fulfillment in the workplace.

Whether you’re interested in respiratory care with an advanced clinical practice concentration or respiratory care with a care management concentration, you’ll get answers to all of your questions from our helpful staff. Get in touch with Independence University today.