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Career and Education Opportunities for Respiratory Therapy Technicians in Charleston, West Virginia

Respiratory therapy technicians can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Charleston, West Virginia area. The national trend for respiratory therapy technicians sees this job pool shrinking by about 1.1% over the next eight years. In general, respiratory therapy technicians provide specific, well defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.

Income for respiratory therapy technicians is about $17 per hour or $35,420 annually on average in West Virginia. Nationally, their income is about $20 per hour or $42,430 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Healthcare Technical, people working as respiratory therapy technicians in West Virginia earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Healthcare Technical nationally. Jobs in this field include: oxygen therapy technician, respiratory therapist assistant, and registered pulmonary function technologist.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including three within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career as a respiratory therapy technician. Given that the most common education level for respiratory therapy technicians is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a respiratory therapy technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Respiratory Therapy Technician

In general, respiratory therapy technicians provide specific, well defined respiratory care procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.

Respiratory therapy technicians ready and test devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, aerosol generators and electrocardiogram (EKG) machines. They also keep patient therapy records, completing all needed forms. Equally important, respiratory therapy technicians have to use ventilators and various oxygen devices and aerosol and breathing treatments in the provision of respiratory therapy. They are often called upon to administer breathing and oxygen procedures such as intermittent positive pressure breathing treatments, ultrasonic nebulizer treatments and incentive spirometer treatments. They are expected to explain treatment procedures to patients. Finally, respiratory therapy technicians monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist.

Every day, respiratory therapy technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for respiratory therapy technicians to furnish respiratory care involving the application of well-defined therapeutic techniques under the supervision of a respiratory therapist and a physician. They are often called upon to teach or oversee other staff who furnish respiratory care services. They also recommend and review bedside procedures, x-rays, and laboratory tests. They are sometimes expected to interview and examine patients to collect clinical data. Somewhat less frequently, respiratory therapy technicians are also expected to monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist.

They also have to be able to monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist and clean, sterilize, check and maintain respiratory therapy apparatus. And finally, they sometimes have to assess patients' responses to treatments and modify treatments in line with protocols if needed.

Like many other jobs, respiratory therapy technicians must have strong self control in the face of challenging situations and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Charleston include:

  • 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 Therapy Technician Training

University of Charleston - Charleston, WV

University of Charleston, 2300 MacCorkle Avenue, SE, Charleston, WV 25304. University of Charleston is a small university located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,431 students and an admission rate of 66%. University of Charleston has a bachelor's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist.

Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology - Montgomery, WV

Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology, 405 Fayette Pike, Montgomery, WV 25136. Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology is a small university located in Montgomery, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 743 students. Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

Carver Career Center - Charleston, WV

Carver Career Center, 4799 Midland Dr, Charleston, WV 25306-6397. Carver Career Center is a small school located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 391 students. Carver Career Center has an associate's degree program in Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist which graduated forty-nine students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Biomedical Electronics Technician: Biomedical electronics technicians are expected to obtain knowledge of the principles of modern biomedical techniques, the proper procedure in the care, handling and maintenance of biomedical equipment and to display an attitude/behavior expected of an electronics technician who works in a hospital or healthcare environment.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.