Respiratory Therapists

People are living longer and more active with chronic disease, which is increasing the demand for respiratory therapists.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) disorders like asthmabronchitis, and emphysema are also on the rise, and are now the 4th leading cause of death among adults. Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat, and provide ongoing care for patients with these types of breathing or cardiopulmonary (lung and heart) disorders.

Respiratory therapists:

  • Help people live healthier and longer lives by treating conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
  • Work with a care team under the supervision of a physician
  • Develop and implement care plans based on assessments, diagnostic evaluations and critical thinking

 Employment opportunities can be found in:

Education and training requirements

Respiratory therapists must hold a two-year associate’s degree or a bachelor of science degree. Many respiratory therapists take a voluntary certification exam to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT).

Respiratory therapists are also expected to have:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • A high comfort level working with the elderly, as most growing job opportunities will be related to or include geriatric care

Western MA Fast Facts

  • Workers in Pioneer Valley: 150
  • Education Requirements: Associates degree
  • Entry Level Wage: $27/hour
  • Experienced Wage:  $36/hour
  • Learn more at VCN.org