Finding the best respiratory therapist programs in California can help you make sure that the first step towards your new career is the right one. Before you begin looking at schools and making big decisions, though, you should learn a little more about this career path. This includes understanding what training you need and the legal requirements you must meet. It is important that you really know how to prepare for a job as a respiratory therapist before you start looking into degree programs.
Once you do know about the field, you can then look into the various respiratory therapist programs in California. There are many from which to choose, so you should be able to find one in your area that offers a schedule that works for you.
About This Career
As a respiratory therapist, you will work with patients who have breathing problems. Generally, you will see them to assess their needs. You may also run tests to determine the right course of treatment, and then, you will administer treatment. You will also have to educate your patients on managing their condition and on any home care elements to their treatment program. Most jobs are found in hospitals, but you may also find a small number in physician offices and nursing care centers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of around 23 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is faster than normal growth, which means good things for you if you are looking to enter the field.
As far as what you can expect to earn, the BLS explains the median annual salary as of 2018 was about $60,000. This equates to an hourly rate around $29.
How to Start Your Career
To become a respiratory therapist, you must complete the requirements to get a license, which the state requires to work in this profession. According to the Respiratory Care Board of California, which administers licensing, you will need at least an associate degree in the field. You must earn your degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied health Education Programs.
Almost all of the respiratory therapist programs in California offer an associate degree option, which lasts for two years. Core courses are in subject areas that include cardiology, adult mechanical ventilation, pharmacology, pediatric respiratory care, and life support.
After getting your degree, you must complete the National Board for Respiratory Care exam to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist. This fulfills the exam requirement for licensing.
The last step to get your license is to complete a law and professional course, which you may do so through the California Society for Respiratory Care or the American Association for Respiratory Care. This course lasts three hours and may be available online. It covers the licensing requirements and why they are in place, your responsibilities in the career, and situations that could put you at risk to lose your license.
Find Respiratory Therapist Programs in California
There are 28 colleges, universities, and training institutes offering respiratory therapist programs in California. A few of them, such as San Joaquin Valley College, American Career College, and Concorde Career College, have more than one campus in the state. Programs can be found in every area of the state, such as those near Fresno and Los Angeles. All of the following programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, which is part of the CAAHEP.
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Wrapping Things Up
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from a career in respiratory therapy, you can take time to check out the respiratory therapist programs in California listed above. Make sure that you find a program that suits your needs. Since most do not take more than two years to complete, you should be able to begin your new career in this field pretty quickly. It all starts with making your choice in a school, so get moving today to start on your path to working as a respiratory therapist.