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Health Careers Resource Center > Health Programs > Respiratory Care at a Glance

Respiratory Care at a Glance

What does a respiratory therapist or technician do?

  • Respiratory therapists assume primary responsibility for patients with breathing disorders, conducting procedures, maintaining records, operating equipment, and evaluating and treating patients
  • Respiratory care technicians perform specific procedures under the direction of respiratory therapists and doctors, helping to evaluate, treat and care for patients
  • Both work with treatment, evaluation and rehabilitation of patients with breathing problems stemming from disease or trauma
  • Respiratory therapists and technicians have hands-on jobs with direct patient contact, in both routine and emergency situations, as well as extensive communication with medical staff

What is the career outlook?

  • Jobs available in virtually all health-care services: hospitals, clinics, critical care units, diagnostic labs, nursing homes and home care
  • Full-time work generally 35-40 hours a week, and may include evenings, nights or weekends
  • Respiratory therapists: projected job growth of 34 percent in Texas through 2018, with median salaries $26.30 per hour or $54,700 annually*
    Dallas County: median salaries $25.23 per hour or $52,500 annually*
  • Respiratory technicians: projected job growth of 11 percent in Texas through 2020, with median salaries $21.88 per hour or $45,500 annually*
    Dallas County: median salaries $25.06 per hour or $52,100 annually*

Statistics are included only as guidelines and will vary with fluctuations in the economy and job market. More specific local hiring and salary information can be obtained at college information sessions.

Respiratory Care Program

Awards and coursework El Centro Credit hours Continuing Education contact hours
Associate in Applied Sciences Degree in Respiratory CareX72 
To work as a respiratory therapist or technician in the state of Texas, you are required to pass the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) entry-level exam and apply for state license through the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS). For more information, visit the American Association for Respiratory Care website. 

Measures of effectiveness El Centro
Licensure exam pass rates for students**

Licensure /Certification through the National Board of Respiratory Care
Employment rates for graduates***77.8%

Whate are the program prerequisites?

Here is a link to the current course catalog listing all of the prerequisites, courses included, and the length of the program. Respiratory Care Program AAS

Other Helpful Links

Who can help me decide which health science career is right for me?

Contact the Health Careers Resource Center.

What more do I need to know?

  • Acceptance to the Respiratory Care program is by a competitive selection process based on a weighted point system.
  • Learn more about Respiratory Care.

*America’s Career Infonet 2011 data for respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy technicians
**Licensure Data Reporting System from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board 2012-2013
***Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Perkins 2012-2013