Respiratory Therapists: 6 Tips to Advance Your Career

by / ⠀Career Advice / April 22, 2022
You can absolutely advance your career as a respiratory therapist and these are some of the most helpful ideas to consider along the way.

Are you a respiratory therapist looking for ideas to advance your career? Since being a respiratory therapist is a specific profession, you might be wondering if there’s any way to move up in your career.

The good news is you can absolutely advance your career as a respiratory therapist. Listed below are some helpful ideas to consider along the way.

1. Be selective with your time.

When your goal is to move up in your career, it’s important to be selective with your free time.

The more time you have to build your career, the better. Time is precious and you’ll need plenty of it to learn new skills, study, and plan your next move.

While you’re devising ways to preserve your time, consider taking your CEUs online to avoid having to plan, schedule, or drive. You can find CRCE online courses approved by the AARC, so there’s no reason to drive anywhere to complete your continuing education requirements to stay licensed.

Cut out fruitless activities.

Avoid spending time on things that don’t support your career advancement unless they’re otherwise beneficial to you.

For example, if you have a side gig that generates income, that’s beneficial. However, if you’re spending every Friday night at the local lodge playing Bingo, you could probably cut back or quit.

Consider cutting back, or avoiding, the following time-wasting activities:

  • scrolling through social media;
  • reading the newspaper or news online;
  • checking traffic when you’re not driving somewhere;
  • watching movies to procrastinate and avoid working;
  • excessively checking your email; and
  • text messaging or DMing through social media just to chit-chat.

When you stop engaging in fruitless activities, you’ll have more time to take your next steps to advance your career.

2. Focus on management.

Moving up to a management position is one of the best ways to advance your career as a respiratory therapist. Like nursing, you’ll probably find the best job opportunities in the hospital.

If you’re just starting out as an RT, here’s the ladder you can climb to further your career:

  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Shift Supervisor
  • Department Manager
  • Hospital Administrator

If you love working with people, managing others, and have great executive skills, you shouldn’t have a problem rising up the ranks.

If you’re really determined, you can even make it to a high-level hospital administrator.

3. Create your own business.

Many respiratory therapists end up starting their own businesses, which can be extremely rewarding both emotionally and financially. According to the AARC, you have several business options in the industry, including:

  • providing equipment sales and rentals;
  • offering clinical services;
  • providing respiratory diagnostic services;
  • supporting patient care education;
  • providing home care services; and more.

You can create virtually any kind of business with your skills, as long as it stays within the boundaries of the laws and ethics you’re bound to by state, federal, and licensure requirements.

4. Work with equipment manufacturers.

One of the more lucrative paths to take in your career is working with equipment manufacturers.

They need your expertise to sell their equipment, and you’ll be a better candidate than even someone with plenty of general sales experience. For example, you’ll have a major advantage working as a sales rep or a marketing specialist.

If you apply for a job with an equipment manufacturer, they’ll most likely set your resume aside once they see that you have experience as a respiratory therapist.

Even without sales or marketing experience, the right company might be willing to train you in the field or pay for your training.

Your experience will be invaluable to them, so it’s worth applying even if you don’t feel qualified.

5. Consider working for an RT school.

Another key position that would be considered an advancement is working as faculty for a respiratory therapy school.

If you like the idea of being an educator, but you’re not interested in working as a teacher, consider a clinical education coordinator position at a hospital.

There is plenty of money to be made as an educator if you find the right organization and you have the experience required to command a higher salary.

Remember, people pay for expertise so the more experience you have, the better.

6. Pursue a career in research.

Do you feel drawn to clinical studies involving respiratory care? Consider pursuing a clinical research career.

You could be the one to conduct clinical studies that end up forming the scientific foundation for respiratory therapy. You might be part of a team that discovers something new in the field that changes patient care in a big way.

Take your time as you seek to advance.

Although there are plenty of ways to advance your career in respiratory therapy, take your time.

Gain the required experience first so that your skills will be more valuable when it’s time to advance.

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