What is a Respiratory Therapist?
Most people take breathing for granted, but for the thousands of Americans who suffer from breathing problems, each breath is a major accomplishment. These 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 or lung cancer.
In each case, the person will most likely receive treatment from a respiratory therapist under the direction of a physician. Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat and care for patients with breathing disorders.
Respiratory therapists perform procedures that are both diagnostic and therapeutic. Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities, patients' homes, physician offices and educational institutions.
At Reading Area Community College, the student completes a course of study leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree. At the completion of the program, the student is Registry eligible to take the entry level examination (certified respiratory therapist or CRT credential) as well as the written Registry exam and the clinical simulation Registry exam. These exams are administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). A minimum of entry level credential (CRT) is required for licensure by the Board of Medicine in the state of Pennsylvania