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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapists in Fort Worth, Texas

Respiratory therapist career and educational opportunities abound in Fort Worth, Texas. Currently, 7,420 people work as respiratory therapists in Texas. This is expected to grow by 37% to 10,200 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%. In general, respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

Income for respiratory therapists is about $23 hourly or $49,040 yearly on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $25 per hour or $52,200 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized, people working as respiratory therapists in Texas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Alternative and Specialized nationally. Respiratory therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: director of cardiopulmonary services, sleep lab technician, and clinical coordinator of respiratory therapy.

There are ninety-one schools of higher education in the Fort Worth area, including five within twenty-five miles of Fort Worth 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 you can expect to spend about two years studying 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 Fort Worth 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.
  • 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.
  • Chiropractor. Adjust spinal column and other articulations of the body to correct abnormalities of the human body believed to be caused by interference with the nervous system. Examine patient to determine nature and extent of disorder. Manipulate spine or other involved area. May utilize supplementary measures, such as exercise, rest, and nutritional therapy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Collin County Community College District - Plano, TX

Collin County Community College District, 4800 Preston Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75093. Collin County Community College District is a large college located in Plano, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,000 students. Collin County Community College District has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

Tarrant County College District - Fort Worth, TX

Tarrant County College District, 1500 Houston St, Fort Worth, TX 76102-6599. Tarrant County College District is a large college located in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 39,596 students. Tarrant County College District has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.

ATI Career Training Center - Dallas, TX

ATI Career Training Center, 10003 Technology Blvd. West, Dallas, TX 75220-4316. ATI Career Training Center is a small school located in Dallas, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,140 students. ATI Career Training Center has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated seventy-four students in 2008.

Weatherford College - Weatherford, TX

Weatherford College, 225 College Park Drive, Weatherford, TX 76086-5699. Weatherford College is a small college located in Weatherford, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,799 students. Weatherford College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

El Centro College - Dallas, TX

El Centro College, 801 Main, Dallas, TX 75202-3604. El Centro College is a medium sized college located in Dallas, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,114 students. El Centro College has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated nine students in 2008.

LICENSES

RESPIRATORY CARE PRACTITIONER

Licensing agency: Respiratory Care Program
Address: Texas Department of Health, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78765-3183

Phone: (512) 834-6632
Website: Respiratory Care Program Texas Department of Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas photo by Chin tin tin

Fort Worth is situated in Tarrant County, Texas. It has a population of over 703,073, which has grown by 31.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Worth, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Worth are valued at $145,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, 3,790 new homes were constructed in Fort Worth, down from 5,669 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fort Worth are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 22.3% of Fort Worth residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Worth is 8.3%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Fort Worth residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal Water of Life Church and Petra Baptist Church are among the churches located in Fort Worth. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fort Worth is home to the Hurst Sewage Disposal and the Hart Spur as well as Trinity Valley School Softball Field and Circle Park. Shopping malls in the area include Overton Park Plaza Shopping Center, Ridgmar Town Square Shopping Center and Fair Oaks Shopping Center. Visitors to Fort Worth can choose from Azalea Plantation Bed & Breakfast, Central Motel and Best Western Fort Worth Inn for temporary stays in the area.