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As a Respiratory Therapist, you will join a high demand field devoted to the study and treatment of diseases that relate to the lungs or cardiovascular system. Respiratory Therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing. Typical patients include: premature infants with undeveloped lungs, elderly patients with diseased lungs, patients with asthma or emphysema, and emergency care patients suffering from heart attacks, drowning, or shock. This is a great field if you are interested in health, biology, math, chemistry, and physics.
To ensure the workforce is adequately prepared, the American Association for Respiratory Care recently called for a shift, such that all new respiratory care programs award, at a minimum, bachelor’s degrees in respirator care (American Association for Respiratory Care, 2016). Edgewood College is currently the only program of its kind in the state of Wisconsin (Commission on Accreditation in Respiratory Care Education CoARC, 2018) to offer a bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Therapy.
Respiratory Therapists work in a variety of settings to provide direct patient care services where they provide and apply medical equipment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the 10-year growth rate for respiratory therapists as 23.4% through 2026, which is higher than average growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). On average, Respiratory Therapists are highly paid skilled positions, earning $67,000 per year on average (salary.com).Currently there is a shortage of respiratory therapists in Dane County to fill these highly paid positions.
Applications for clinical training in respiratory care happen in the first semester of your Junior year. This clinical training is a highly competitive, accredited program with certification and employment success. The pre-professional curriculum has been designed to specifically improve your likelihood of acceptance. Once accepted, you will continue your clinical education at Edgewood College and your clinicals at UW Health in your final year, including two summers. When you complete your clinical training in respiratory therapy, you will be eligible to take the board test for certification in the summer after your senior year. You will graduate in August of your senior year.