Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Durham, North Carolina
There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for respiratory therapists in the Durham, North Carolina area. There are currently 3,140 working respiratory therapists in North Carolina; this should grow 29% to about 4,060 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. Respiratory therapists generally assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.
A person working as a respiratory therapist can expect to earn about $23 hourly or $49,540 annually on average in North Carolina and about $25 per hour or $52,200 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for respiratory therapists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized in North Carolina, and not quite as good as the overall Alternative and Specialized category nationally. People working as respiratory therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: oxygen therapist, respiratory care practitioner , and certified respiratory therapist .
There are twenty-six schools of higher education in the Durham area, including one within twenty-five miles of Durham 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
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 Durham 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.
- 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
Durham Technical Community College - Durham, NC
Durham Technical Community College, 1637 Lawson St, Durham, NC 27703-5023. Durham Technical Community College is a medium sized college located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,214 students. Durham Technical Community College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated nineteen students in 2008.
Licensing agency: NC Respiratory Care Board
Address: 1100 Navaho Drive, Suite 242, Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: (919) 878-5595
Website: NC Respiratory Care Board
LOCATION INFORMATION: Durham, North Carolina
Durham is situated in Durham County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 223,284, which has grown by 19.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Durham, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Durham are valued at $187,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,082 new homes were built in Durham, down from 1,574 the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Durham are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 41.8% of Durham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.3%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Durham is 7.3%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.
The percentage of Durham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Laymans Church, Holy Infant Church and Homestead Heights Church are among the churches located in Durham. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.
Durham is home to the Hope Valley Country Club and the Union Building as well as Durham County Stadium and Northgate Park. Shopping centers in the area include South Square Mall, Lakewood Shopping Center and Kings Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Durham can choose from Brownestone Inn, Durham-Days Inn ) and Hilton Durham for temporary stays in the area.