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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for respiratory therapists. Currently, 2,500 people work as respiratory therapists in Tennessee. This is expected to grow by 24% to 3,110 people 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%. Respiratory therapists generally assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

The income of a respiratory therapist is about $21 hourly or $45,420 per year on average in Tennessee. 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 Tennessee and not quite as good as general Alternative and Specialized category earnings nationally. Respiratory therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: staff respiratory therapist, director of cardiopulmonary services, and respiratory therapist .

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Knoxville where you can study to be a respiratory therapist, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Knoxville area. Given that the most common education level for respiratory therapists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, 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 Knoxville 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

Roane State Community College - Harriman, TN

Roane State Community College, 276 Patton Lane, Harriman, TN 37748. Roane State Community College is a medium sized college located in Harriman, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 5,531 students and an admission rate of 64%. Roane State Community College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twelve students in 2008.

LICENSES

RESPIRATORY CARE THERAPIST

Licensing agency: Council on Respiratory Care
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247-1010

Phone: (615) 367-6393
Website: Council on Respiratory Care Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee photo by Huntster

Knoxville is located in Knox County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 184,802, which has grown by 6.3% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Knoxville, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Knoxville are valued at $105,300 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-one new homes were built in Knoxville, down from six hundred twenty-seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Knoxville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 24.6% of Knoxville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Knoxville is 9.0%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Knoxville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 62.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, Springhill Baptist Church and Lincoln Park Baptist Church are all churches located in Knoxville. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Knoxville is home to the Eastern State Hospital Farm and the Berry Hall as well as Volunteer Park and Neyland Stadium. Shopping malls in the area include Clinton Plaza Shopping Center, Walker Springs Plaza Shopping Center and Northgate Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Knoxville can choose from Homewood Suites Knoxville West, Days Inn and Days Inn Knoxville West for temporary stays in the area.