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Admission Requirements and Curriculum
AWARD OFFERED Associate in Applied Science Degree
A respiratory therapist is responsible for administering, under physician’s prescription, many types of breathing therapeutics, and utilizing specialized breathing, aerosol and humidification equipment. These include the use of oxygen or oxygen mixtures, chest physiotherapy, mechanical ventilation, and aerosol medications.
Respiratory therapists evaluate and treat all types of patients, ranging from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people whose lungs may be diseased. Respiratory therapists provide temporary relief to patients with chronic asthma or emphysema, as well as emergency care to patients who are victims of a heart attack, stroke, trauma, drowning, or shock.
They perform limited physical examinations, and conduct diagnostic tests that assess breathing capacities and determine the concentration of oxygen and other gases in patients. The respiratory therapist works closely with the physician and also directly with the patient in the treatment situation by performing regular assessments of patients and equipment.
This program is designed to provide necessary training for successful completion of the requirements for the advanced practitioner level as defined by the National Board for Respiratory Care.
Job opportunities are expected to be very good, especially for respiratory therapists with cardiopulmonary care skills or experience working with infants. Employment of respiratory therapists is expected to increase significantly through 2014 due to substantial growth in the numbers of the middle-aged and elderly population and the expanding role of respiratory therapists in the early detection and treatment of pulmonary disorders. There are also job opportunities for respiratory therapists with advanced cardiopulmonary care and neonatal care experience.
Although hospitals will continue to employ the vast majority of therapists, a growing number can expect to work outside of hospitals in home health care services, offices of physicians or other health practitioners, or consumer-goods rental firms.
Median annual earnings of respiratory therapists were $55,870 in May 2012. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics) Additional career advancement opportunities exist in education, administration, research, and in commercial companies as clinical specialist, pharmaceutical sales, and technical support.
American Association for Respiratory Care
National Board for Respiratory Care
Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy
Dr. Paul Taylor, Program Director
The Respiratory Therapy Program at Wallace State is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com).
Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
1248 Harwood Road
Bedford, Texas 76021-4244