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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Los Angeles, California

Respiratory therapist career and educational opportunities abound in Los Angeles, California. There are currently 10,800 working respiratory therapists in California; this should grow 24% to 13,400 working respiratory therapists in the state 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 annually on average in California and about $25 hourly or $52,200 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Respiratory therapists earn more than people working in the category of Alternative and Specialized generally in California and less than people in the Alternative and Specialized category nationally. Jobs in this field include: clinical coordinator of respiratory therapy, respiratory therapy director, and respiratory care practitioner .

There are nine schools within twenty-five miles of Los Angeles where you can study to be a respiratory therapist, among 274 schools of higher education total in the Los Angeles area. Given that the most common education level for respiratory therapists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, 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 Los Angeles 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.
  • Chiropractor. Adjust spinal column and other articulations of the body to correct abnormalities of the human body believed to be caused by interference with the nervous system. Examine patient to determine nature and extent of disorder. Manipulate spine or other involved area. May utilize supplementary measures, such as exercise, rest, and nutritional therapy.
  • 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.
  • Dentist. Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth.
  • 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.
  • Optometrist. Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
  • Orthodontist. Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
  • 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.
  • Physician Assistant. Provide healthcare services typically performed by a physician, under the supervision of a physician. Conduct complete physicals, provide treatment, and counsel patients. May, in some cases, prescribe medication. Must graduate from an accredited educational program for physician assistants.
  • 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

East Los Angeles College - Monterey Park, CA

East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754-6099. East Los Angeles College is a large college located in Monterey Park, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,475 students. East Los Angeles College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated fifteen and forty-three students respectively in 2008.

Santa Monica College - Santa Monica, CA

Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405-1628. Santa Monica College is a large college located in Santa Monica, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 29,827 students. Santa Monica College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated two students in 2008.

Los Angeles Valley College - Valley Glen, CA

Los Angeles Valley College, 5800 Fulton Avenue, Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096. Los Angeles Valley College is a large college located in Valley Glen, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,550 students. Los Angeles Valley College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

Antelope Valley College - Lancaster, CA

Antelope Valley College, 3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536-5426. Antelope Valley College is a large college located in Lancaster, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,800 students. Antelope Valley College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

El Camino Community College District - Torrance, CA

El Camino Community College District, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506. El Camino Community College District is a large college located in Torrance, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,825 students. El Camino Community College District has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated four, thirteen, and nine students respectively in 2008.

Orange Coast College - Costa Mesa, CA

Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-5005. Orange Coast College is a large college located in Costa Mesa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,700 students. Orange Coast College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-five and zero students respectively in 2008.

Concorde Career College - North Hollywood, CA

Concorde Career College, 12412 Victory Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91606-9932. Concorde Career College is a small college located in North Hollywood, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 608 students and an admission rate of 100%. Concorde Career College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated eighty-five students in 2008.

Mt San Antonio College - Walnut, CA

Mt San Antonio College, 1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789-1399. Mt San Antonio College is a large college located in Walnut, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 30,439 students. Mt San Antonio College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-eight students in 2008.

Concorde Career College - Garden Grove, CA

Concorde Career College, 12951 Euclid Street, Suite 101, Garden Grove, CA 92840-9201. Concorde Career College is a small college located in Garden Grove, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 761 students and an admission rate of 100%. Concorde Career College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated seventy-nine students in 2008.

LICENSES

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: Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California photo by Diliff

Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 3,833,995, which has grown by 3.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Los Angeles, 166, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Los Angeles are valued at $361,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, seven hundred twelve new homes were built in Los Angeles, down from 1,551 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Los Angeles are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 25.5% of Los Angeles residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 13.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Los Angeles residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. All Peoples Christian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and All Saints Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Los Angeles. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Los Angeles is home to the Balboa Municipal Golf Course and the Angels Flight Railway as well as Hazard Park and State Street Recreation Center. Shopping centers in the area include Encino Junior Shopping Center, Encino Oaks Shopping Center and Encino Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Los Angeles can choose from Best Western Mid-Wilshire Plaza, Best Western Westwood Pacific and Alma Lodge for temporary stays in the area.