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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapy Technicians in Columbia, Missouri

There are many career and education opportunities for respiratory therapy technicians in the Columbia, Missouri area. Currently, 500 people work as respiratory therapy technicians in Missouri. This is expected to shrink 3% to 480 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for respiratory therapy technicians, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 1.1% over the next eight years. Respiratory therapy technicians generally provide specific, well defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.

Respiratory therapy technicians earn about $16 hourly or $34,250 per year on average in Missouri and about $20 hourly or $42,430 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Healthcare Technical, people working as respiratory therapy technicians in Missouri earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Healthcare Technical nationally. Jobs in this field include: respiratory technician, respiratory therapist assistant, and registered respiratory therapist.

The Columbia area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a respiratory therapy technician. Given that the most common education level for respiratory therapy technicians is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years training to become a respiratory therapy technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Respiratory Therapy Technician

In general, respiratory therapy technicians provide specific, well defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.

Respiratory therapy technicians ready and test devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, aerosol generators and electrocardiogram (EKG) machines. They also keep patient therapy records, completing all needed forms. Equally important, respiratory therapy technicians have to use ventilators and various oxygen devices and aerosol and breathing treatments in the provision of respiratory therapy. They are often called upon to administer breathing and oxygen procedures such as intermittent positive pressure breathing treatments, ultrasonic nebulizer treatments and incentive spirometer treatments. They are expected to explain treatment procedures to patients. Finally, respiratory therapy technicians monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist.

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

It is important for respiratory therapy technicians to furnish respiratory care involving the application of well-defined therapeutic techniques under the supervision of a respiratory therapist and a physician. They are often called upon to teach or oversee other staff who furnish respiratory care services. They also recommend and review bedside procedures, x-rays, and laboratory tests. They are sometimes expected to interview and examine patients to collect clinical data. Somewhat less frequently, respiratory therapy technicians are also expected to monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist.

They also have to be able to monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist and clean, sterilize, check and maintain respiratory therapy apparatus. And finally, they sometimes have to assess patients' responses to treatments and modify treatments in line with protocols if needed.

Like many other jobs, respiratory therapy technicians must have strong self control in the face of challenging situations and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Medical Laboratory Technologist. Perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May train or supervise staff.
  • 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 Therapy Technician Training

University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has a bachelor's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twelve students in 2008.


Biomedical Electronics Technician: Biomedical electronics technicians are expected to obtain knowledge of the principles of modern biomedical techniques, the proper procedure in the care, handling and maintenance of biomedical equipment and to display an attitude/behavior expected of an electronics technician who works in a hospital or healthcare environment.

For more information, see the ETA International website.


Respiratory Care Practitioners

Phone: (573) 522-5864
Website: Division Of Professional Registration Missouri State Board for Respiratory Care


Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.