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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Denver, Colorado

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for respiratory therapists in the Denver, Colorado area. There are currently 1,220 jobs for respiratory therapists in Colorado and this is projected to grow 37% to about 1,670 jobs 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. Respiratory therapists generally assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

A person working as a respiratory therapist can expect to earn about $25 per hour or $52,450 annually on average in Colorado and about $25 hourly or $52,200 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for respiratory therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Alternative and Specialized in Colorado and not quite as good as general Alternative and Specialized category earnings nationally. People working as respiratory therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: oxygen therapist, respiratory therapist , and certified respiratory therapist technician.

There are sixty-four schools of higher education in the Denver area, including three within twenty-five miles of Denver where you can get a degree to start your career as a respiratory therapist. 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 Denver 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Pima Medical Institute - Denver, CO

Pima Medical Institute, 7475 Dakin St Suite 100, Denver, CO 80221. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 782 students. Pima Medical Institute has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated thirty-nine students in 2008.

Pickens Technical College - Aurora, CO

Pickens Technical College, 500 Airport Blvd, Aurora, CO 80011-9307. Pickens Technical College is a small college located in Aurora, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,066 students. Pickens Technical College has a one to two year program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Concorde Career Colleges - Aurora, CO

Concorde Career Colleges, 111 N. Havana Street, Aurora, CO 80010-4314. Concorde Career Colleges is a small college located in Aurora, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 686 students and an admission rate of 100%. Concorde Career Colleges has a less than one year program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated two students in 2008.

LICENSES

Respiratory Therapist

Licensing agency: Respiratory Therapy Licensure Office
Address: 1560 Broadway Suite 1340, Denver, CO 80202

Phone: (303) 894-2440
Website: Respiratory Therapy Licensure Office

LOCATION INFORMATION: Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado photo by David Shankbone

Denver is located in Denver County, Colorado. It has a population of over 598,707, which has grown by 7.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Denver, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Denver are priced at $223,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, eight hundred thirty-seven new homes were constructed in Denver, down from 1,215 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Denver are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 34.5% of Denver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Denver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.0%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Episcopal Church.

Denver is home to the J F Kennedy Municipal Golf Course and the North Marston Filtration Plant as well as Cheesman Park and Bear Creek Park. Shopping malls in the area include Alameda Square Shopping Center, Boulevard Shopping Center and Brentwood Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Denver can choose from Embassy Suites Hotel Denver Downtown, Intown Suites Aurora and Denver Marriott City Center for temporary stays in the area.