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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for respiratory therapists. Currently, 960 people work as respiratory therapists in Nebraska. This is expected to grow by 33% to 1,280 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. Respiratory therapists generally assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

The income of a respiratory therapist is about $23 hourly or $48,850 annually on average in Nebraska. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 per hour or $52,200 per year on average. Earnings for respiratory therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Alternative and Specialized in Nebraska 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: clinical coordinator of respiratory therapy, inhalation therapist, and respiratory care practitioner .

There are twenty-five schools of higher education in the Lincoln area, including two within twenty-five miles of Lincoln 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 Lincoln 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Southeast Community College Area - Lincoln, NE

Southeast Community College Area, 301south 68th Street Place, Lincoln, NE 68510-2449. Southeast Community College Area is a large college located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,557 students. Southeast Community College Area has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health - Omaha, NE

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health, 720 North 87th Street, Omaha, NE 68114-2852. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health is a small college located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 659 students and an admission rate of 50%. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated eight and six students respectively in 2008.


Respiratory Care Practitioners

Licensing agency: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Address: Division of Public Health - Licensure Unit, Office of Rehabilitation & Community Services, PO Box 94986, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, NE 68509-4986

Phone: (402) 471-2299
Website: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health - Licensure Unit Office of Rehabilitation & Community Services


Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska photo by Stack

Lincoln is situated in Lancaster County, Nebraska. It has a population of over 251,624, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Lincoln, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Lincoln cost $170,100 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred thirty-nine new homes were constructed in Lincoln, down from eight hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Lincoln are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, educational services, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 33.3% of Lincoln residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lincoln is 4.1%, which is less than Nebraska's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Lincoln residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.4%, is less than both the national and state average. Saint John Baptist Church, Calvary Baptist Church and Calvary Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Lincoln. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Lutheran Church.

Lincoln is home to the Cedars Home and the AGP Grain Cooperative Elevator as well as Abel Stadium and 40th and Highway 2 Park. Shopping malls in the area include Gateway Mall, Sutter Place Mall and Edgewood Shopping Center. Visitors to Lincoln can choose from Comfort Suites, Ramada Limited North and Quality Inn Airport for temporary stays in the area.