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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Little Rock, Arkansas

Respiratory therapist career and educational opportunities abound in Little Rock, Arkansas. There are currently 1,090 jobs for respiratory therapists in Arkansas and this is projected to grow 33% to 1,450 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for respiratory therapists are expected to grow by about 20.9%. Respiratory therapists generally assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

A person working as a respiratory therapist can expect to earn about $22 hourly or $46,460 yearly on average in Arkansas and about $25 per hour or $52,200 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized, people working as respiratory therapists in Arkansas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized nationally. People working as respiratory therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: staff respiratory therapist, registered respiratory therapist , and oxygen therapist.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Little Rock where you can study to be a respiratory therapist, among twenty-five schools of higher education total in the Little Rock area. The most common level of education for respiratory therapists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years studying to be a respiratory therapist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory Therapist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. They also assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians.

Respiratory therapists read prescriptions, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient data to gauge patient condition. They also prepare and operate devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, and aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment. Equally important, respiratory therapists have to inspect, clean, test and maintain respiratory therapy apparatus to insure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when needed. They are often called upon to work as part of a team of physicians and other health care professionals to manage patient care by assisting with medical procedures and related duties. They are expected to monitor patients' physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, and blood chemistry changes, and confer with physicians if adverse reactions occur. Finally, respiratory therapists conduct tests, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), stress testing, and lung capacity tests, to review patients' cardiopulmonary functions.

Every day, respiratory therapists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for respiratory therapists to make emergency visits to deal with apparatus problems. They are often called upon to teach and utilize the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, and assistants. They also perform pulmonary function and adjust apparatus to obtain optimum results in therapy. Somewhat less frequently, respiratory therapists are also expected to read prescriptions, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient data to gauge patient condition.

And finally, they sometimes have to explain treatment procedures to patients to get cooperation and allay fears.

Like many other jobs, respiratory therapists must have a strong concern for others and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Little Rock include:

  • Audiologist. Assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders. May fit hearing aids and provide auditory training. May perform research related to hearing problems.
  • Cardiac Technician. Conduct tests on pulmonary or cardiovascular systems of patients for diagnostic purposes. May conduct or assist in electrocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, pulmonary-functions, lung capacity, and similar tests.
  • Dental Hygienist. Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Pharmacist. Compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists, or other authorized medical practitioners.
  • Physical Therapist. Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.
  • Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
  • Radiology Technologist. Take x-rays and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance.
  • Speech and Language Teacher. Assess and treat persons with speech, language, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.
  • Sports Trainer. Evaluate, advise, and treat athletes to assist recovery from injury, avoid injury, or maintain peak physical fitness.
  • Surgical Technician. Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Respiratory Therapist Training

Pulaski Technical College - North Little Rock, AR

Pulaski Technical College, 3000 W Scenic Dr, North Little Rock, AR 72118-3347. Pulaski Technical College is a medium sized college located in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,092 students. Pulaski Technical College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated ten students in 2008.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences - Little Rock, AR

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is a small university located in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,652 students. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist.

LICENSES

Respiratory Therapist

Licensing agency: Arkansas State Medical Board
Address: 2100 Riverfront Drive, Little Rock, AR 72202-1793

Phone: (501) 296-1802
Website: Arkansas State Medical Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas photo by Broooooooce

Little Rock is located in Pulaski County, Arkansas. It has a population of over 189,515, which has grown by 3.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Little Rock, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Little Rock cost $236,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, three hundred sixty-one new homes were built in Little Rock, down from seven hundred thirty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Little Rock are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 35.5% of Little Rock residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Little Rock is 6.1%, which is less than Arkansas's average of 6.9%.

The percentage of Little Rock residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 59.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Macedonia Spiritual Church, Baseline Christian Church and Baseline Missionary Baptist Church are all churches located in Little Rock. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Little Rock is home to the Rock Creek Golf Course and the Barton Coliseum as well as McArthur Park Historic District and Meriwether Park. Shopping malls in the area include Mainstreet Market Shopping Center, Market Street Plaza Shopping Center and Markham Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Little Rock can choose from LA Quinta - Inns- Medical Center Area, Hampton Inn & Suites and Acme Motel for temporary stays in the area.