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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Norman, Oklahoma

There are many career and education opportunities for respiratory therapists in the Norman, Oklahoma area. There are currently 1,200 jobs for respiratory therapists in Oklahoma and this is projected to grow 22% to about 1,460 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for respiratory therapists are expected to grow by about 20.9%. In general, respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

The income of a respiratory therapist is about $22 hourly or $45,940 yearly on average in Oklahoma. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $25 hourly or $52,200 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized, people working as respiratory therapists in Oklahoma earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized nationally. Jobs in this field include: staff respiratory therapist, director of cardiopulmonary services, and certified respiratory therapist technician.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Norman where you can study to be a respiratory therapist, among thirty-seven schools of higher education total in the Norman area. 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 Norman 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.
  • Certified Prosthetist. Assist patients with disabling conditions of limbs and spine or with partial or total absence of limb by fitting and preparing orthopedic braces or prostheses.
  • 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.
  • Orthodontist. Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
  • 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

Rose State College - Midwest City, OK

Rose State College, 6420 S E 15th, Midwest City, OK 73110-2799. Rose State College is a medium sized college located in Midwest City, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,427 students. Rose State College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-three students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Norman, Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma photo by Okguy

Norman is located in Cleveland County, Oklahoma. It has a population of over 106,957, which has grown by 11.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Norman, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Norman are priced at $184,600 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, five hundred sixteen new homes were built in Norman, up from four hundred nineteen the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Norman are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 39.8% of Norman residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Norman is 4.7%, which is less than Oklahoma's average of 7.1%.

The percentage of Norman residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Alameda Baptist Church, Alameda Church of Christ and All Welcome Victory Church are among the churches located in Norman. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Norman is home to the Cerebral Palsy Institute and the Park on Main as well as Owen Field and Rotary Park. Shopping malls in the area include Colonial Estates Shopping Center, Anatole Shopping Center and Carriage Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Norman can choose from Ramada Days Inn, Montford Inn and Guest Inn - Norman for temporary stays in the area.