Breathing is something most people take for granted. Breathing feels good and allows us to manage stress, feed our brains, and lead a healthy life. Unfortunately, there are many people who struggle with this basic human task every day.

Respiratory therapy is a branch of healthcare that focuses on pulmonary issues and offers new life to those with breathing difficulty. Respiratory therapist schools offer the opportunity to become licensed in the field and the chance to pursue a rewarding career in this growing industry. Graduates of a program can go on to become a respiratory therapist, sleep center technologist, polysomnographic technologist, or a pulmonary function technologist. If you’re seeking a rewarding career that offers a ton of flexibility and benefits, respiratory therapy school may be just the right fit for you. Here are a few reasons to pursue a career in this reputable field:

Short Term Commitment
Typically, respiratory therapy school has more limited education and training requirements than many other healthcare roles. Many professionals in this field have a two year Associates Degree with less than ten percent earning a bachelor’s degree. Most states require a certification in addition to the educational requirements, but overall the time commitment is quite short considering the return on investment. It’s a great track for someone looking to make a quick change.

Opportunity to Help Others
This career is perfect for a compassionate and caring individual. Professionals practicing respiratory therapy have the opportunity to help others every single day. Therapists can help a variety of patients including infants with underdeveloped lungs, elderly patients with emphysema or lung disease and emergency patients experiencing shock or heart attack symptoms. All of these encounters provide a rewarding experience and allow therapists to exercise their more compassionate and comforting side.

Job Growth Rate
Jobs in the healthcare industry are rampant across the globe. The field of respiratory therapy is no exception. Job growth in respiratory therapy is expected to be around twelve percent over the next decade. This growth rate is higher than the average for all occupations. Job growth can be attributed to the aging baby boomer population. The elderly tend to experience more respiratory issues like pulmonary disease or pneumonia. The healthcare industry will see an increase in these incidents and will require more professionals to meet this demand.

Diversity in Practice
Respiratory therapy can be practiced in a wide variety of clinical settings. Professionals in the field will enjoy diversity in the workplace and will have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing their workplace location. Hospitals, clinics, universities and nursing homes all require the aid of respiratory professionals, so therapists and technicians will enjoy the ability to change scenes throughout their career.

Good Pay
Earning potential is definitely something to be considered when it comes to a future career. Experts in this area have decent earnings considering the two year degree. The average salary for a respiratory therapist is around $58,670 per year. Therapists are generally paid hourly and can earn even more than the average depending on their employer and their willingness to pick up extra shifts. Professionals have can work as much or as little as they please leaving the earning potential wide open.

Overall, respiratory therapy is a much admired field. Professionals choosing this career enjoy flexibility, good earnings, and the opportunity to make a difference each and every day. There are many programs across the country that offer this fabulous track. If you’re in the market for a new career, you should definitely consider the possibility of a certification in respiratory therapy.