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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for respiratory therapists. There are currently 4,700 working respiratory therapists in Pennsylvania; this should grow by 18% to about 5,550 working respiratory therapists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $24 hourly or $51,480 annually on average in Pennsylvania. Nationally they average about $25 per hour or $52,200 per year. Incomes for respiratory therapists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized in Pennsylvania, and not quite as good as the overall Alternative and Specialized category nationally. Jobs in this field include: certified respiratory therapist technician, registered respiratory therapist , and staff respiratory therapist.

There are 156 schools of higher education in the Philadelphia area, including six within twenty-five miles of Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia 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.
  • Optometrist. Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
  • 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.
  • 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

Gwynedd Mercy College - Gwynedd Valley, PA

Gwynedd Mercy College, 1325 Sumneytown Pike, Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437-0901. Gwynedd Mercy College is a small college located in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,513 students and an admission rate of 57%. Gwynedd Mercy College has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated nine and eight students respectively in 2008.

Camden County College - Blackwood, NJ

Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood, NJ 08012. Camden County College is a large college located in Blackwood, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,951 students. Camden County College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated seven students in 2008.

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington - Newark, DE

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington, 400 Stanton-Christiana Rd, Newark, DE 19702. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington is a medium sized college located in Newark, Delaware. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,460 students. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist.

Salem Community College - Carneys Point, NJ

Salem Community College, 460 Hollywood Avenue, Carneys Point, NJ 08069-2799. Salem Community College is a small college located in Carneys Point, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,305 students. Salem Community College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated three students in 2008.

Community College of Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA

Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19130-3991. Community College of Philadelphia is a large college located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,293 students. Community College of Philadelphia has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Delaware County Community College - Media, PA

Delaware County Community College, 901 S Media Line Rd, Media, PA 19063-1094. Delaware County Community College is a large college located in Media, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,109 students. Delaware County Community College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated three students in 2008.

LICENSES

Respiratory Care Practitioner Certificate

Licensing agency: Department of State
Address: Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Medicine Board, 116 Pine Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 783-1400
Website: Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Medicine Board

Respiratory Therapist Care Practitioner

Licensing agency: Department of State
Address: Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Osteopathic Medicine Board, 116 Pine Street, Harrisburg, PA 17121

Phone: (717) 783-4858
Website: Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Osteopathic Medicine Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photo by Apollo1758

Philadelphia is located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 1,447,395, which has shrunk by 4.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Philadelphia, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Philadelphia cost $212,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-five new homes were constructed in Philadelphia, down from five hundred ninety-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Philadelphia are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 32 minutes. More than 17.9% of Philadelphia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is lower than the state average.

The percentage of Philadelphia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Boulevard Church, Mount Herman Church and Saint Michael Mission Center are all churches located in Philadelphia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Muslim Estimate.

Philadelphia is home to the Five Points and the Academy Gardens as well as Durham Park and Cloverly Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Mall, Andorra Shopping Center and Red Lion Shopping Center. Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from Comfort Inn, Concordia Worldwide Hotel Reservations and Embassy Suites for temporary stays in the area.