Respiratory Therapist Job Market Trends

Respiratory therapist job markets are looking at a much higher than national average growth rate, according to current Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for the coming decade. That’s expected to be a growth rate of over 20%. The current job market is reflecting strong demand in the US, with job ads appearing regularly on both major job boards and specialist health care sites.

Employment is mainly (81%) in hospitals, with the remainder in private clinics, nursing homes, home healthcare, and some in consumer goods rental. This demography effectively ties in respiratory therapist jobs with the primary health care sector, and its somewhat choppy employment practices.

Job Market Issues

At the lower end of the scale, jobs are relatively low paid, and types of work include part time, night, and similar work in the non-hospital sector. The hospital jobs are the more conventional positions, usually advertised through agencies.

(For a look at the current job market for respiratory therapist jobs, check out Hospital Jobs Online, a major US health care specialist site. This site is well worth bookmarking for healthcare professionals. It contains a links to staffing agencies, hospital websites, recruiters, education, and even licensing boards.)

In the mainland US, employment of respiratory therapists is based on state licenses, which also limits the size of the available job market, particularly for those in less populated areas. The primary area of demand, predictably, is in the higher density urban areas. However, the normal levels of under-servicing in remote and rural areas provide job opportunities for those prepared to do this work.

Career Dynamics

In terms of job mobility, the same situation applies. State licenses effectively reduce the employment options, unless you’re prepared to get licensed in another state. Transfer across the state employment market is easy enough, but the senior positions, naturally, are also in shorter supply, making career progression a potentially oblique process.

The career progression in this situation is as much related to qualifications as employment. Increasing demand has a definite upside in this regard, because as the demand for services increases, the demand for qualifications also naturally increases across the new services.

There are areas of specialization in this field, including pediatric, allergy, infections, cardio pulmonary, and critical care. Organizational progression through hospitals creates a hierarchy of positions up to management of respiratory departments. In the commercial sector, developing and marketing pharmaceuticals and health care equipment is another option.

A longer view of career positions, however, shows other options. The level of qualification may also include additional studies in related fields, including relevant degrees. Some  respiratory therapist jobs may branch out into research, systems management, intensive care systems, and other fields.

It’s advisable to consider the entire spectrum of your interests in this field, because of the many different possible career courses available. Respiratory therapist jobs aren’t really self-limiting, despite the apparently “understated” scope of the basic jobs. Quite the opposite, they’re often, as therapists will know, actual medical case management, in many situations. A professional colleague, trainer, or career counselor may be able to pin down the qualifications trail for you and map out a career development path.