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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Bakersfield, California

Respiratory therapists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Bakersfield, California area. Currently, 10,800 people work as respiratory therapists in California. This is expected to grow by 24% to about 13,400 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for respiratory therapists, which sees this job pool growing by about 20.9% over the next eight years. In general, respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

A person working as a respiratory therapist can expect to earn about $30 per hour or $64,110 per year on average in California and about $25 per hour or $52,200 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for respiratory therapists are better than in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized in California, and not quite as good as the overall Alternative and Specialized category nationally. Respiratory therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: sleep lab technician, clinical coordinator of respiratory therapy, and oxygen therapist.

There are eight schools of higher education in the Bakersfield area, including one within twenty-five miles of Bakersfield where you can get a degree to start your career as a respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so it will take about two years to learn 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 Bakersfield include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

San Joaquin Valley College-Bakersfield - Bakersfield, CA

San Joaquin Valley College-Bakersfield, 201 New Stine Rd, Bakersfield, CA 93309. San Joaquin Valley College-Bakersfield is a small college located in Bakersfield, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 568 students. San Joaquin Valley College-Bakersfield has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated fifty-one students in 2008.


Respiratory Care Practitioner

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Respiratory Care Board of California, 444 North 3rd Street, Suite 270, Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 323-9983
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Respiratory Care Board of California

LOCATION INFORMATION: Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield, California photo by Bobak

Bakersfield is situated in Kern County, California. It has a population of over 321,078, which has grown by 30.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bakersfield, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Bakersfield are valued at $191,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,038 new homes were built in Bakersfield, down from 1,820 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Bakersfield are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 19.3% of Bakersfield residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Bakersfield is 10.1%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Bakersfield residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Cornerstone Community Church, Coronado Gardens Missionary Baptist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are some of the churches located in Bakersfield. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Bakersfield is home to the Mesa Marin Raceway and the Avenue Oaks Country Club as well as Beale Park and Kern County Fairgrounds. Shopping centers in the area include Sagebrush Shopping Center, White Lane Plaza Shopping Center and Benton Park Shopping Center. Visitors to Bakersfield can choose from Best Western Heritage Inn, Best Western Hill House and America's Best Inn Bakersfield for temporary stays in the area.