What does a respiratory therapist do on a daily basis? Is it hard? bloody? stressful? do you like your job?

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Comments (31)

635 in Woodland Hills, California

51 months ago

K8333 in Bothell, Washington said: I am curious about this profession. I would like to hear some helpful advice from an actual therapist.

Considering that 80% of RCP's (RT) work in the hospital environment, the answer to your question is yes.Yes it is hard.Yes it can be bloody. And Yes you will work your Ass off for 8 hours straight usually without breaks or lunch.All the while your supervisors will demand you take your 30min lunch without providing coverage for said luch.It is state law that you receive breaks and a lunch but it rarely happens.Is there work to be had in this field? Yes,but there is a reason why so few people go into the field.Do your research before spending 42k on a job you will likely dispise within a year or two or starting.

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635 in Woodland Hills, California

51 months ago

635 in Woodland Hills, California said: Considering that 80% of RCP's (RT) work in the hospital environment, the answer to your question is yes.Yes it is hard.Yes it can be bloody. And Yes you will work your Ass off for 8 hours straight usually without breaks or lunch.All the while your supervisors will demand you take your 30min lunch without providing coverage for said luch.It is state law that you receive breaks and a lunch but it rarely happens.Is there work to be had in this field? Yes,but there is a reason why so few people go into the field.Do your research before spending 42k on a job you will likely dispise within a year or two of starting.
Also,consider if you mind being under constant stress.Most hospitals have cut there staff to the bare bone.Soooo...instead of seeing a reasonable amount of pt's during any given shift (like it was 10-14 years ago),you will no doubt be seeing an unreasonable amount of pt's during any given shift. AND THAT makes for constant CHAOS.Go to ANY major hospital and do a walk along with a therapist who is rounding and you will undoubtedly see what i mean!

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K8333 in Everett, Washington

51 months ago

Are you a respiratory therapist???

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Mbrown in Richmond, Virginia

51 months ago

I am a RT i work 12 hour shifts. Yes its stressful .anything to help a person breathe is what we do. Vents,O2.nebulizers ,intubations,codes etc,etc.We get paid basically what a RN does its not a bad career choice but it do get boring . and for whoever said they work 8 hours strait sucks for you . I have alot of down time at work,not everyday but most days.

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K8333 in Everett, Washington

51 months ago

Well I am happy to hear someone who actually likes this profession. More than half the people on here hate it so thats a little discouraging. If you don't mind me asking how much do you make an hour? also have you ever thought of branching out in respiratory? such as sleep, or pulmonary labs?

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rolinda in San Diego, California

50 months ago

candylove in chula vista, California said: Try to attend a local community college because being stuck with 40-50 thousand dollars in student loans after graduation sucks.

Almost Finished (RT Student) in Vista, California 1 month ago said:
You are correct! I spoke with a COARC Director this morning, to find out the status of my school at this time (CCSD). I was told that the school IS still accredited, albeit still under "probationary" status. However, I was also told that the NBRC has prohibited CCSD from accepting any more RT Students as of this time; and that CCSD has petitioned this NBRC decision. No one in my program has been informed of this issue--and this information was not given out 'upon inquiry'. The COARC Director said that this information must legally be given to students/applicants 'upon inquirey.' We are not happy that we were not informed of the NBRC's decision to no longer have CCSD Students accepting into their RT Program. We are also not happy that we were not told when the school was placed into a "Probabion" status, and when we discovered our change of status on the CAAHEP site, NO information/explaination was forthcoming for several months. We recieved a substandard education there. However, in all fairness, the NEW RT Department Director and the Current Clinical Director are excellent, and the current RT Teaching Staff is exemplary...if these professionals had been in place when we initially started our RT Program, we would have positive things to say about the program. Yes, the student loans are staggering (and they are PRIVATE student loans, which have the highest interest rate!). Community College would have been the best choice. Hindsight is 20/20.

Please everyone, be cautious. Research each school thoroughly. Not all have their student's best interest at heart. Concealing essential information, especially "upon inquiry" is deceitful. Be careful everyone. Good journey.

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Graduate of CCSD in National City, California

35 months ago

I have to agree on the issue of CCSD, I had the worst experience there and it was not till I got the help of 3 people that work there, all 3 of them are in my opinion the only reason why someone should attend this school. I was lucky enough that at the end of my schooling I was only dealing with them, Robert, Brad and Miguel. Everyone else there with the exception of these 3 and the lady that runs the RT Lab before you go to clinical is a joke, the upper staff is incompetent to say the least and for lack of better words. If you do decide to attend this school, pay attention to what these guys say, and remember that in the end the school can only trow information at you and it's up to you to learn it and apply it. I had no idea the school was in probation but in their defense Grossmont college was also in probation so no news there, for me having use all of the information I learned from there allowed me to pass my CRT Exam on the first try. Good luck and you have made the right choice in career, RT are paid for what they know, not for what they do!!!!!

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HunnyBunny in San Jose, California

35 months ago

K8333 in Everett, Washington said: Well I am happy to hear someone who actually likes this profession. More than half the people on here hate it so thats a little discouraging. If you don't mind me asking how much do you make an hour? also have you ever thought of branching out in respiratory? such as sleep, or pulmonary labs?

I think your happiness depends on your situation and attitude. I think that a lot of the whiners that you hear from should get off their butts and do something about it if they are so unhappy with their situation.
I was unhappy with my situation, so I did research, found out about RT, researched schools, did the prerequisites, put 100% effort into the RT program I was accepted into, and graduated with multiple offers from several hospitals.
I picked my hospital based on the PEOPLE I would be working for and with, as that is much more important than a few more dollars.

RT was the best decision I ever made.

Money is great in NorCal, around $30/hr for RRT new grad. If you work in a trauma hospital, you may get bloody. My hospital is not a trauma hospital, so opportunities for bloodiness are limited. You will be drawing blood for ABGs (arterial blood gasses). I was a little freaked about this in school, but it is no big deal anymore. I work 12 hours shifts 3 day/week. 4 days off every week! (unless you want to do overtime). Floor care can be a bit boring, just giving neb treatments, but when a patient is crashing, that can be stressful. However, you are not alone, as you are working with the team of doctors and nurses. When it is over and you saved the patient - that is rewarding. At times it is an easy job with lots of downtime, and other times it is crazy with intubations & new admits, and no break; but it all seems to balance out. The RT staff at my hospital help each other out if someone gets "slammed".
I have no desire to do sleep lab or PFT lab, but they are options.
I love my job, and the people I work with.

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salvdor padilla in Dinuba, California

24 months ago

i was wondering if SJVC was a good school to attend for a career like this any opinions?

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john in Parsippany, New Jersey

24 months ago

635 in Woodland Hills, California said: Considering that 80% of RCP's (RT) work in the hospital environment, the answer to your question is yes.Yes it is hard.Yes it can be bloody. And Yes you will work your Ass off for 8 hours straight usually without breaks or lunch.All the while your supervisors will demand you take your 30min lunch without providing coverage for said luch.It is state law that you receive breaks and a lunch but it rarely happens.Is there work to be had in this field? Yes,but there is a reason why so few people go into the field.Do your research before spending 42k on a job you will likely dispise within a year or two or starting.

^^^^^^soooo true..... I've been an RT for 13 years and have had it with the garbage of this job. Lawsuits need to happen to stop the absolute abuse. YOU NEVER GET A COVERED LUNCH BREAK. We all didn't go to school to be an RN or MD.... they have a primary care roll.... we don't.... jobs like ours should be given a break without a beeper or anything to do. The amount of bull$#%@ is amazing.... ANYONE THINKING OF GETTING INTO THIS JOB.. DO NOT DO IT...... TRUST ME..... The neb treatments need to be given to the nurses without question........ They make us give them for ANY REASON. CHF, PULM EMBOLISM....... the indications are completely disregarded and we get intimidated to do these things..... I hope to god the nurses take the treatments in the future EVERYWHERE....

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tinypurplegiant in Spokane, Washington

23 months ago

HunnyBunny in San Jose, California said: I think your happiness depends on your situation and attitude. I think that a lot of the whiners that you hear from should get off their butts and do something about it if they are so unhappy with their situation.
I was unhappy with my situation, so I did research, found out about RT, researched schools, did the prerequisites, put 100% effort into the RT program I was accepted into, and graduated with multiple offers from several hospitals.
I picked my hospital based on the PEOPLE I would be working for and with, as that is much more important than a few more dollars.

RT was the best decision I ever made.

Money is great in NorCal, around $30/ hr for RRT new grad. If you work in a trauma hospital, you may get bloody. My hospital is not a trauma hospital, so opportunities for bloodiness are limited. You will be drawing blood for ABGs (arterial blood gasses). I was a little freaked about this in school, but it is no big deal anymore. I work 12 hours shifts 3 day/week. 4 days off every week! (unless you want to do overtime). Floor care can be a bit boring, just giving neb treatments, but when a patient is crashing, that can be stressful. However, you are not alone, as you are working with the team of doctors and nurses. When it is over and you saved the patient - that is rewarding. At times it is an easy job with lots of downtime, and other times it is crazy with intubations & new admits, and no break; but it all seems to balance out. The RT staff at my hospital help each other out if someone gets "slammed".
I have no desire to do sleep lab or PFT lab, but they are options.
I love my job, and the people I work with.

I am really happy to read a response such as your and this made me want to further my research to be a RT because it is something I would like to do.
Thank you for your description and I will take your advice.
I hope being an RT is still something you love and still want to do.

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HunnyBunny in San Jose, California

23 months ago

tinypurplegiant in Spokane, Washington said: I am really happy to read a response such as your and this made me want to further my research to be a RT because it is something I would like to do.
Thank you for your description and I will take your advice.
I hope being an RT is still something you love and still want to do.

I do still love being an RT.
I wish you the best of luck in your search and pursuit of this field.

Good Luck!

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Dom in Fontana, California

23 months ago

635 in Woodland Hills, California said: Considering that 80% of RCP's (RT) work in the hospital environment, the answer to your question is yes.Yes it is hard.Yes it can be bloody. And Yes you will work your Ass off for 8 hours straight usually without breaks or lunch.All the while your supervisors will demand you take your 30min lunch without providing coverage for said luch.It is state law that you receive breaks and a lunch but it rarely happens.Is there work to be had in this field? Yes,but there is a reason why so few people go into the field.Do your research before spending 42k on a job you will likely dispise within a year or two or starting.

Negative much?

K83333,
I on the other hand I Love my job. But like cranky said management is always on u! If u are looking to start working in the healthcare industry just know that things are changing more then ever. I'm 28 yrs old and have been doing this a little more then 5 yrs, I can't even begin to tell u the changes that have happened since I've started. I wish I could have done this in the 60s and 70s like a lot of my self taught instructors! Back then u got the job, then trained and figured it out as u went. If u are looking into the field research local hospitals and make sure u get into an accredited school. I don't think things are much different in woodland hills but most of southern California is very saturated with new grads. I've heard of many waiting 8mos-1year before they are hired for their 1st job. It's crazy right now!

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Nicole in Boise, Idaho

23 months ago

john in Parsippany, New Jersey said: ^^^^^^soooo true..... I've been an RT for 13 years and have had it with the garbage of this job. Lawsuits need to happen to stop the absolute abuse. YOU NEVER GET A COVERED LUNCH BREAK. We all didn't go to school to be an RN or MD.... they have a primary care roll.... we don't.... jobs like ours should be given a break without a beeper or anything to do. The amount of bull$#%@ is amazing.... ANYONE THINKING OF GETTING INTO THIS JOB.. DO NOT DO IT...... TRUST ME..... The neb treatments need to be given to the nurses without question........ They make us give them for ANY REASON. CHF, PULM EMBOLISM....... the indications are completely disregarded and we get intimidated to do these things..... I hope to god the nurses take the treatments in the future EVERYWHERE....

We as RTs most definitely have a "primary care role" in the care of our pts!!! WE are the ones who have to maintain their oxygenation and breathe for them, know the different pathologies of diseases so we can make recommendations to the dr, and CARE for our pts!! If you don't like your job go back to school, in order to be a great RT you need to enjoy what your doing otherwise it reflects in your performance. Have you tried working in home care? Critical care? Hospital floor? PFT? Sleep lab? NICU? If you don't enjoy any of these my suggestion is to find a career you enjoy, don't tell anyone whose considering it not to do it, it's an amazing job that tons of people LOVE, such as myself. YOU, as an RT are saving lives everyday AND being paid for it. I SUGGEST IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING BEING AN RT DO IT!!!! It's an amazing, rewarding, and yes at times can be stressful but overall the stress is worth the rewards!

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Curt in San Diego, California

21 months ago

Nicole in Boise, Idaho said: We as RTs most definitely have a "primary care role" in the care of our pts!!! WE are the ones who have to maintain their oxygenation and breathe for them, know the different pathologies of diseases so we can make recommendations to the dr, and CARE for our pts!! If you don't like your job go back to school, in order to be a great RT you need to enjoy what your doing otherwise it reflects in your performance. Have you tried working in home care? Critical care? Hospital floor? PFT? Sleep lab ? NICU? If you don't enjoy any of these my suggestion is to find a career you enjoy, don't tell anyone whose considering it not to do it, it's an amazing job that tons of people LOVE, such as myself. YOU, as an RT are saving lives everyday AND being paid for it. I SUGGEST IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING BEING AN RT DO IT!!!! It's an amazing, rewarding, and yes at times can be stressful but overall the stress is worth the rewards!

Nicole rocks.....thank you, nicole....so much bitterness on this site

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Espiemartin in Apple Valley, California

21 months ago

Nicole in Boise, Idaho said: We as RTs most definitely have a "primary care role" in the care of our pts!!! WE are the ones who have to maintain their oxygenation and breathe for them, know the different pathologies of diseases so we can make recommendations to the dr, and CARE for our pts!! If you don't like your job go back to school, in order to be a great RT you need to enjoy what your doing otherwise it reflects in your performance. Have you tried working in home care? Critical care? Hospital floor? PFT? Sleep lab ? NICU? If you don't enjoy any of these my suggestion is to find a career you enjoy, don't tell anyone whose considering it not to do it, it's an amazing job that tons of people LOVE, such as myself. YOU, as an RT are saving lives everyday AND being paid for it. I SUGGEST IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING BEING AN RT DO IT!!!! It's an amazing, rewarding, and yes at times can be stressful but overall the stress is worth the rewards!

Thanks for your positive outlook on being a RT! I have decided to go back to school for Rt after my 3 pregnancy I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary Embolism.And had a life changing experience so now I feel this is what i need to do I so want to help people breath.Although Every blog I read Rt hate their jobs,nurses and experience it is quite discouraging.It is nice the hear some people love what they do...
Thanks again...

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Dmarie in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

21 months ago

So im really interested in starting my carrrer as a recent graduate & really want to get into this field so im wondering is it really that bad & as I keep reading on this its making me wonder why would you work in a field that does not make you happy & by that you make the patient miserable also ! I surly wouldnt want to work with people like that !!!!

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Christina in Bakersfield, California

21 months ago

how much does a rcp make per hour? how long do you have to the university to be a rcp?

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jennifer in Pasadena, California

20 months ago

Dom in Fontana, California said: Hello,
I am a graduate of SJVC 2007 rancho cucamonga campus.
I had a decent experience there. I have to say it was a branch off high school with all the drama and gossip. Bit if u stay focused and pay ur attention to clinics and class its a good school. When I went it was 24k and I thought that was crazy. Now I hear it is in the mid 40s.
It depends how fast u need to go. If u have a high school diploma and need to work as soon as possible take this route. If u can go to a community college it'll take u a 3 maybe 4 yrs. But most likely when ur done u won't have school loans to worry about.

Good luck.
Dom

Hi Dom,
You seem to know a lot about the profession. I am trying to write a paper and answer questions for take-home exam. I am studying the professional rules and want to know if a respiratory care therapist is permitted to cut the umbilical cord (handle scissors) or give immunization shots to newborns.

Thanks,
Jen

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jennifer in Pasadena, California

20 months ago

HunnyBunny in San Jose, California said: I do still love being an RT.
I wish you the best of luck in your search and pursuit of this field.

Good Luck!


Hi,
You seem to know a lot about the profession. I am trying to write a paper and answer questions for take-home exam. I am studying the professional rules and want to know if a respiratory care therapist is permitted to cut the umbilical cord (handle scissors) or give immunization shots to newborns.

Thanks,
Jen

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jennifer in Pasadena, California

20 months ago

HunnyBunny in San Jose, California said: I do still love being an RT.
I wish you the best of luck in your search and pursuit of this field.

Good Luck!


Hi HunnyBunny,
You seem to know a lot about the profession. I am trying to write a paper and answer questions for take-home exam. I am studying the professional rules and want to know if a respiratory care therapist is permitted to cut the umbilical cord (handle scissors) or give immunization shots to newborns.

Thanks,
Jen

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DNA in Royal Oak, Michigan

20 months ago

RTs usually roam the floors of the hospital giving breathing treatments, checking patient's oxygen levels, suctioning, CPT, trach care, helping with codes, using ventilators. Most of your day--about 80%--will consist of giving breathing treatments. Please reconsider going into RT. Since this was 30 months ago, I hope you chose something else.

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Dom in Upland, California

20 months ago

jennifer in Pasadena, California said: Hi Dom,
You seem to know a lot about the profession. I am trying to write a paper and answer questions for take-home exam. I am studying the professional rules and want to know if a respiratory care therapist is permitted to cut the umbilical cord (handle scissors) or give immunization shots to newborns.

Thanks,
Jen

Hello Jen,
How's the paper going?
To answer your question, honestly id say this is technically a no. Giving immunizations is a NO for sure. Cutting the umbilical cord I would say will vary depending on where you work. There are RTs that help with placement of arterial and venous umbilical lines... When this is done u actually use a scalpel. I've also had to cut the cord during a regular delivery and in the sterile field of c-sections too. We also use scissors to cut the stiches off of new trachs... Again id say this would depend on the facility u work at.

Good luck. Hope I helped.
Dom

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HunnyBunny in San Jose, California

20 months ago

Dom in Upland, California said: Hello Jen,
How's the paper going?
To answer your question, honestly id say this is technically a no. Giving immunizations is a NO for sure. Cutting the umbilical cord I would say will vary depending on where you work. There are RTs that help with placement of arterial and venous umbilical lines... When this is done u actually use a scalpel. I've also had to cut the cord during a regular delivery and in the sterile field of c-sections too. We also use scissors to cut the stiches off of new trachs... Again id say this would depend on the facility u work at.

Good luck. Hope I helped.
Dom

My experience would have me agreeing with what Dom stated:
NO on the immunizations.
MAYBE on the cutting the cord thing - depends on your situation and hospital policy.

Good luck with the paper.

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jen in Pasadena, California

20 months ago

Dom in Upland, California said: Hello Jen,
How's the paper going?
To answer your question, honestly id say this is technically a no. Giving immunizations is a NO for sure. Cutting the umbilical cord I would say will vary depending on where you work. There are RTs that help with placement of arterial and venous umbilical lines... When this is done u actually use a scalpel. I've also had to cut the cord during a regular delivery and in the sterile field of c-sections too. We also use scissors to cut the stiches off of new trachs... Again id say this would depend on the facility u work at.

Good luck. Hope I helped.

Dom

Thank you, I appreciate your insight and knowledge.

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jen in Pasadena, California

20 months ago

HunnyBunny in San Jose, California said: My experience would have me agreeing with what Dom stated:
NO on the immunizations.
MAYBE on the cutting the cord thing - depends on your situation and hospital policy.

Good luck with the paper.

Thanks for helping a newbie out!

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Roro in Austin, Texas

19 months ago

This job is a great job. however its what you make of it. If you dont like your hospital. the get in with the home health care side. My father has been an RT for 33 yrs. He makes over 80 grand a year. and love his job. You can do alot with this job. you have to make it work for you. dont sit there and complain. My father actually holds 3 different jobs with his RT degree. is on call on his days off at another hospital. so you can make money.. but you have to work for it! I am also going to school to become an RT..so this is gonna be intresting.

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Roro in Austin, Texas

19 months ago

Nicole in Boise, Idaho said: We as RTs most definitely have a "primary care role" in the care of our pts!!! WE are the ones who have to maintain their oxygenation and breathe for them, know the different pathologies of diseases so we can make recommendations to the dr, and CARE for our pts!! If you don't like your job go back to school, in order to be a great RT you need to enjoy what your doing otherwise it reflects in your performance. Have you tried working in home care? Critical care? Hospital floor? PFT? Sleep lab ? NICU? If you don't enjoy any of these my suggestion is to find a career you enjoy, don't tell anyone whose considering it not to do it, it's an amazing job that tons of people LOVE, such as myself. YOU, as an RT are saving lives everyday AND being paid for it. I SUGGEST IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING BEING AN RT DO IT!!!! It's an amazing, rewarding, and yes at times can be stressful but overall the stress is worth the rewards!

thats the truth. my dad has been RT..for 33yrs and he still loves it!

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andy rrt

17 months ago

Mbrown in Richmond, Virginia said: I am a RT i work 12 hour shifts. Yes its stressful .anything to help a person breathe is what we do. Vents,O2.nebulizers ,intubations,codes etc,etc.We get paid basically what a RN does its not a bad career choice but it do get boring . and for whoever said they work 8 hours strait sucks for you . I have alot of down time at work,not everyday but most days.

Get paid the same as a RN and lots of downtime? Haven't seen that in 15 years. Hang on to that job. No longer the norm, but I remember when it was. What good times those were!

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andy rrt

17 months ago

HunnyBunny in San Jose, California said: I think your happiness depends on your situation and attitude. I think that a lot of the whiners that you hear from should get off their butts and do something about it if they are so unhappy with their situation.
I was unhappy with my situation, so I did research, found out about RT, researched schools, did the prerequisites, put 100% effort into the RT program I was accepted into, and graduated with multiple offers from several hospitals.
I picked my hospital based on the PEOPLE I would be working for and with, as that is much more important than a few more dollars.

RT was the best decision I ever made.

Money is great in NorCal, around $30/ hr for RRT new grad. If you work in a trauma hospital, you may get bloody. My hospital is not a trauma hospital, so opportunities for bloodiness are limited. You will be drawing blood for ABGs (arterial blood gasses). I was a little freaked about this in school, but it is no big deal anymore. I work 12 hours shifts 3 day/week. 4 days off every week! (unless you want to do overtime). Floor care can be a bit boring, just giving neb treatments, but when a patient is crashing, that can be stressful. However, you are not alone, as you are working with the team of doctors and nurses. When it is over and you saved the patient - that is rewarding. At times it is an easy job with lots of downtime, and other times it is crazy with intubations & new admits, and no break; but it all seems to balance out. The RT staff at my hospital help each other out if someone gets "slammed".
I have no desire to do sleep lab or PFT lab, but they are options.
I love my job, and the people I work with.

Hunny Bunny, I love the name! Haven't heard that since Pulp Fiction!

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HarleyFD07 in Murrieta, California

14 months ago

San Diego, CA> LG in San Diego, California said: Where can i go to become a RT? How much should i be paying to get my certs for this position? I heard i can go to California College of San Diego for and Associates and then a Batchelors for around 70,000?

You need to understand the school will charge you (for the first session of an AA) about what you would make in 1 year (new grad makes about $28.00/hr average in CA). $70 grand isn't a lot, if you can finish the education. It is hard but the average student CAN finish IF they put the work into learning what therapist do. I work at a level 1 trauma center. I have seen it all, done it all and I look forward to all the challenges each day brings. But you have to remember how loans are given today instead of when I was in school 20 years ago. The interest rate is variable, you must qualify for loans each semester and a lot of the schools are in it for the money. So respiratory is a very good career but the loan system sucks.

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