Allied Health Division

About the Profession

Most people take breathing for granted. It’s second nature, an involuntary reflex. But for the thousands of Americans who suffer from breathing problems, each breath is a major accomplishment. Those people include patients with chronic lung problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema, but they also include heart attack and accident victims; premature infants; and people with cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, or AIDS.

In each case, the person will most likely receive treatment from a respiratory care practitioner under the direction of a physician. Respiratory care practitioners including both registered and certified therapists, work to evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.

The Role of The Respiratory Care Practitioner: There are more than 100,000 respiratory care practitioners in the United States. They are members of the health care team that provides respiratory care for patients with heart and lung disorders. Typically, respiratory care practitioners are a vital part of the hospital's lifesaving response team that answers patient emergencies.

While most respiratory care practitioners work in hospitals, an increasing number of them have branched out into alternate care settings, such as nursing homes, physicians’ offices, home health agencies, specialized care hospitals, medical equipment supply companies, and patients’ homes.

The Outlook

The need for respiratory care professionals is expected to grow in the coming years due to the large increase in the elderly population, the impact of environmental problems that have already contributed to the yearly rise in the number of reported asthma cases, and technological advances in the treatment of heart attack, cancer, and accident victims, as well as premature babies. If you would like to receive additional information about this dynamic medical profession please contact Cory Martin at 888.335.8722 x3349 or cory.martin@volstate.edu.