Respiratory Therapy Degrees

NMC partners with Munson Medical Center and Muskegon Community College to offer an associate degree respiratory therapy program that can be completed in Traverse City. All liberal arts classes are offered at NMC. Most other classes, including clinical courses, can be taken onsite at Munson.

About respiratory therapy careers

RTs evaluate, treat and care for patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. Patients range from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people whose lungs are diseased. Respiratory therapists provide temporary relief to patients with chronic asthma or emphysema, and they give emergency care to patients who are victims of a heart attack, stroke, drowning or shock.

Practicing under the direction of a physician, respiratory therapists assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians.

To evaluate patients, respiratory therapists interview them, perform limited physical examinations and conduct diagnostic tests.

Job outlook

Respiratory therapists are in demand. Job and career opportunities exist in Traverse CIty and the surrounding areas. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports faster-than-average employment growth — 19 percent between 2006–16 — is projected for respiratory therapists. Job opportunities should be very good, especially for respiratory therapists with cardiopulmonary care skills or experience working with infants.

The vast majority of job openings will continue to be in hospitals. However, a growing number of openings are expected to be outside of hospitals, especially in home health care services, offices of physicians or other health practitioners, consumer-goods rental firms, or in the employment services industry as a temporary worker in various settings.

Median annual earnings of wage-and-salary respiratory therapists were $47,420 in May 2006.

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