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Respiratory Care
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Respiratory Care

Respiratory therapists help patients who have difficulty breathing.


In-demand career

A person cannot survive more than a few minutes without oxygen, so it's no surprise that respiratory therapists play a critical role in healthcare by helping people breathe. 

Not only do respiratory therapists help treat chronic respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD, but they're also seeing an increase in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome - a condition that can happen as a result of COVID-19. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of respiratory therapists will grow 23% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average. That's 10,100 job openings projected each year.

pulmonary function test

What does a respiratory therapist do?

Respiratory therapists can work in emergency rooms, intensive care units, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and even sleep centers. They work closely with doctors and other healthcare team members to evaluate and treat patients - this may include administering pulmonary function tests or taking blood samples to analyze oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Testing and treatments vary depending on the type and severity of the patient's condition.

You may be familiar with some of the more common breathing or airway problems, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and even sleep apnea. More recently, you may have heard of acute respiratory distress syndrome - a condition that can occur after illness or injury. This serious condition is on the rise in patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Respiratory therapists also work with patients who have suffered injuries or trauma to their lungs and airways. 

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“Respiratory therapists have often been considered one of the best-kept secrets in healthcare, owing to the remarkable value they provide despite their relatively low profile. But as healthcare begins to integrate the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, that profile will inevitably grow.”

Michael Hess BS, RRT, RPFT


About the Program

Resp Care Explainer Video

“People tend to think of the emergency part of respiratory care - running to codes, doing CPR, intubating, and putting people on ventilators. But the most rewarding part is improving people's lives and seeing people get better."

Victoria Mansfield Director of Clinical Education, Respiratory Care Program
Sharon Southwick
Sharon Southwick

Meet the Program Director

Sharon has over 25 years of respiratory care experience and earned her bachelor's degree in business management from Bridgewater State University.

Sharon has experience in critical care, clinical and didactic instruction, pulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary function tests, neonates, and ECMO. She has worked at South Shore Healthcare, Massasoit Community College, Boston Medical Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Sharon also is a board member and previous president of the Massachusetts Society of Respiratory Care.

Learn more about this program

You’ll be able to download our program info sheet and receive an email from our Admissions team with information about the admissions process, tuition, courses, and more.

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