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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Athens, Georgia

Respiratory therapists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Athens, Georgia area. There are currently 3,210 jobs for respiratory therapists in Georgia and this is projected to grow 32% to about 4,220 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.

Respiratory therapists earn approximately $23 hourly or $49,390 yearly on average in Georgia. Nationally they average about $25 per hour or $52,200 yearly. Earnings for respiratory therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Alternative and Specialized in Georgia and not quite as good as general Alternative and Specialized category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: certified respiratory therapist , inhalation therapist, and clinical coordinator of respiratory therapy.

There are five schools of higher education in the Athens area, including one within twenty-five miles of Athens where you can get a degree to start your career as a respiratory therapist. The most common level of education 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 Athens 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Athens Technical College - Athens, GA

Athens Technical College, 800 US Hwy 29 N, Athens, GA 30601-1500. Athens Technical College is a small college located in Athens, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,131 students. Athens Technical College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Athens, Georgia

Athens, Georgia
Athens, Georgia photo by Richard Chambers

Athens is situated in Brantley County, Georgia. It has a population of over 113,398, which has grown by 13.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Athens, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Athens cost $146,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred four new homes were constructed in Athens, down from four hundred seventy-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Athens are educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 40.0% of Athens residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.0%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Athens residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.6%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God (Cleveland and the The Wesleyan Church.