Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing. Patients can range from premature infants to the elderly who have a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema. Respiratory therapists also provide emergency care to patients suffering from drowning, hear attacks, or shock.
Respiratory therapists can be expected to interview and examine patients, consult with physicians to develop treatment plans, perform diagnostic tests, treat patients using a variety of methods, monitor progress, and educate patients how to use treatments. They evaluate patients lung capacity, perform chest physiotherapy to remove mucus, and connect patients who cannot breathe on their own to ventilators. Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals, but there are opportunities to work in nursing care facilities or travel to patients’ homes.
Find Accredited Respiratory Therapist Schools in Atlanta
Respiratory therapists must have an associate’s degree, but most employers prefer applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Respiratory therapy programs usually include classes in human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, pharmacology, and mathematics. Industry specific classes include learning about therapeutic and diagnostic procedures and tests, equipment, patient assessment, and CPR.
How to get Certified in Atlanta
The National Board for Respiratory Care offers two levels of certification: Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). The Certified Respiratory Therapist is the first-level certification. To become certified, applicants must have earned an associate’s degree from an accredited respiratory therapy program or completed the equivalent coursework in a bachelor’s degree program and pass and exam. The Registered Respiratory Therapist certification is the next level certification. Applicants must have a CRT certification, meet additional education or experience requirements, and pass an exam.
All respiratory therapists must be licensed in the state of Georgia. The Georgia Composite Medical Board issues all state licenses. To receive an initial license, applicants must pay a fee, provide proof of education, provide references either from an education program or prospective employer, and provide a verification of National Board for Respiratory Care certification. To renew a licenses, a fee plus continuing education is required.
Salaries for Respiratory Therapists in Atlanta
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an annual mean wage for respiratory therapists in Georgia of $51,970 and an hourly mean wage of $24.98. The metro-Atlanta area employs the greatest density of respiratory therapists in the state and reports an annual mean wage of $53,310.
There are only two schools in the Atlanta metro area that offer classes in respiratory therapy: Georgia State University and Gwinnett Technical College.
The respiratory therapy program at Georgia State University requires an exam for entrance into the program. The school offers a bachelor of science program and also a program designed to bridge the gap between an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree. Graduates of this program have achieved a 100% pass rate for RRT certification.
Gwinnett Technical College offers an associate’s degree in respiratory care. This two year program provides the educational requirements for applicants to apply for an RRT certification.
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