Respiratory therapists evaluate and treat a range of respiratory diseases. Such specialization requires a highly concentrated education path. Students enrolled in a respiratory care program will study human anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, pharmacology, and mathematics. Students will also learn how to diagnose and treat respiratory diseases. Respiratory therapists must meet state licensing requirements, which typically require at least an associate’s degree and passing a certification exam.
The daily tasks of respiratory therapists cover a range of procedures, many of which include equipment such as bronchodilators and nebulizers. Additionally, respiratory therapists work in pulmonary labs; help doctors monitor and diagnose lung conditions; and aid patients with ailments such as COPD, Pneumonia, Asthma. Respiratory therapists learn to execute these hands-on treatments through clinical rotations. Students who are hoping to earn an online degree in respiratory therapy will coordinate with local medical facilities in order to gain experience and mentorship.
Though professional certification is not required for licensure in some states, certification is so widely respected within the profession that it is a staple prerequisite for employment. The National Board for Respiratory care offers two levels of certification that correspond to different levels of experience and education. The first level of certification is the certified respiratory therapist (CRT) certification, and the second is that of registered respiratory therapist (RRT). There are also many professional certificates available for respiratory therapists who specialize in a specific area of care.