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Frequently Asked Questions

At 9:32 a.m., Lori Moreno brought a newborn baby struggling to breathe back to life...
What have you accomplished today?

Lori is a recent graduate of a respiratory therapist educational program. Programs like the one Lori attended are available at colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

You can live without food for a week, without water for a day, but you cannot live without air for more than a few minutes. Most people take breathing for granted. For thousands of people who suffer from breathing problems, each breath is an accomplishment.

Did you know that respiratory therapists are the health professionals responsible for taking care of patients with heart and lung problems? They care for newborn infants, children, adults, and the elderly. Career opportunities are excellent for respiratory therapists, and salaries are competitive with other health professions.

What is Respiratory Care?
What do Respiratory Therapists do?
What breathing disorders do Respiratory Therapists treat?
What kinds of patients do Respiratory Therapists treat?
Where do Respiratory Therapists Work?
What kind of procedures do Respiratory Therapists follow?
In what areas do Respiratory Therapists receive instruction?
How does the job market look for Respiratory Therapists?
Is respiratory care for me?
When should I start thinking about a career in respiratory care?
How do I become a Respiratory Therapist?
What are Kaskaskia College Respiratory Care Program requirements for admission?
How do I apply to the Respiratory Care Program?

For more information, contact:
Beth Urban-Respiratory Program Coordinator
Kaskaskia College
27210 College Road
Centralia, IL 62801
618.545.3352
burban@kaskaskia.edu



What is Respiratory Care?

Respiratory Care is the health profession that specializes in the promotion of optimum cardiopulmonary function and health.

Respiratory therapists apply scientific principles to prevent, identify, and treat acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system.

Respiratory Therapists have an in-depth knowledge of:
  • Cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology
  • Patient assessment and cardiopulmonary diagnostics
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Advanced life support and critical care
  • Pharmacology
  • Biomedical engineering and technology
Respiratory Therapists effectively assess, educate and treat patients with heart and lung problems.


What do Respiratory Therapists do?

Respiratory Therapists apply:
  • Critical thinking
  • Patient/environment assessment skills
  • Evidence based clinical practice skills
Respiratory Therapists:
  • Develop and implement effective care plans
  • Apply patient driven protocols
  • Utilize disease-based clinical pathways
  • Implement disease management programs
  • Perform therapeutic and diagnostic procedures


What breathing disorders do Respiratory Therapists treat?

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • COPD
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Chest Trauma
  • Pneumonia


What kinds of patients do Respiratory Therapists treat?

  • Lung disease patients
  • Heart patients
  • Neuromuscular patients
  • Accident victims
  • Premature babies
  • Children
  • Adults
  • The elderly


Where do Respiratory Therapists work?

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Diagnostic laboratories
  • Rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities
  • Patient's homes
  • Patient transport services
  • Physician offices
  • Clinics & Other facilities
  • Educational institutions, including colleges and universities
Respiratory Therapists also work in Intensive Care Units
  • Adult, pediatric, and neonatal ICUs
  • Mechanical ventilation and life-support
  • Arterial blood gases
  • Physiological monitoring
  • Airway care
  • Intubation
  • Oxygen and aerosol therapy


What kind of procedures do Respiratory Therapists follow?

Respiratory Therapists perform patient assessment

Patient Interview
  • Cough and sputum
  • Breathlessness and wheezing
  • Chest illness
  • Smoking
  • Occupational history
Physical Assessment
  • General appearance
  • Vital signs
  • Chest inspection
  • Breath sounds
  • Percussion/palpation
  • Bedside assessment of cardiopulmonary function
  • (SpO2, Peak Flow, FEV1, VC, IC
Respiratory Therapists are responsible for Respiratory Care Plan Development & Implementation

Respiratory Therapists perform Diagnostic Procedures
  • Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Pulmonary function studies
  • Sleep studies
  • EKGs and cardiac tests
  • Sputum specimens
  • Stress and exercise testing
Respiratory Therapists perform therapeutic procedures
  • Oxygen administration
  • Medication administration
  • Secretion management
  • Chest physiotherapy
  • Lung expansion therapy
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation and disease management
  • Smoking cessation


In what areas do Respiratory Therapists receive instruction?

RT students gain experience in a variety of areas:
  • Medical and surgical areas of the hospital
  • ICUs (adult, pediatric, neonatal)
  • Emergency room
  • Patient transport
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation and disease management
  • Cardiopulmonary diagnostics (pulmonary function testing, sleep lab, exercise testing, invasive and non-invasive cardiology
  • Outpatient clinics and physician's offices
  • Home care


How does the job market look for Respiratory Therapists?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists respiratory care as among the fastest growing professions. BLS projects respiratory therapist jobs to increase faster than average for all occupations through 2020.

The need for RTs is growing due to:
  • Large increase in the elderly population
  • Environmental impact on diseases such as asthma
  • Smoking and COPD
  • Technological advances in treatment of cardiopulmonary disease
  • Advances in treatment of premature babies


Is respiratory care for me?

A career as a respiratory therapist can provide:
  • A great job at a good salary
  • Job security
  • The opportunity to help others
  • Recognition, respect, and appreciation
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • A rewarding career for life
  • The ability to make a difference in people's lives
  • Interesting and meaningful work
  • A high tech and exciting career
  • A people oriented profession
  • The opportunity to become a respected member of the health professions
  • A life and breath career for you!


When should I start thinking about a career in respiratory care?

NOW! Begin your journey by:
  • Visiting a respiratory care educational program at a local college or university
  • Visit a respiratory care department at a local hospital
  • Call the American Association for Respiratory Care 972.243.2272
  • Visit the AARC website at www.aarc.org


How do I become a Respiratory Therapist?

Associate Degree
  • Two year program
  • Community or technical college
  • CRT and/or RRT credential
Bachelor of Science Degree
  • Four year program
  • Four-year college or university
  • RRT credential
  • Opportunity for leadership including management and supervision, education or research and clinical specialization


What are Kaskaskia College Respiratory Care Program requirements for admission?

Prerequisite coursework is dependent upon which degree program you enter.
Students should have a strong background in Math and Science including:
  • Biology
  • Algebra
  • Computer
See program worksheet for specific details

The Respiratory Care Program curriculum includes:
  • General education courses
  • Science Courses
  • Respiratory care theory courses
  • Laboratory and clinical courses


How do I apply to the Respiratory Care Program?

Application deadline January 31st for first acceptance and May 31st for second acceptance

Application procedures:
  • Testing (Compass test or ACT scores
  • Transcripts (High School or college)
  • See program worksheet for specific details
Program classes begin in the fall semester in August of each year.

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