To be fair, there are advancement oppurtunities in Respiratory therapy, but nowhere near as much as Nursing....which is the major advancement.... Radiologic Technologists have the same issues, but maybe worse. But Nursing has these oppurtunities because , Nursing is such a massive profession, there are a lot of nurses out there but so few RT's, therefore a lot of Nursing jobs
, however, for all those oppurtunities in Nursing there are also a lot of qualified applicants for those same oppurtunities, and that should be noted.
Advancement is there, but you may have to wait or travel to get to them. If you have a B.S in RT or an M.S, it makes you a lot more attractive because so few have the BSRT, and with your MS, if you like to teach you can also explore that as an option/.
We all need a Nurse, but only a slight handful need RT's, because the only time you need Respiratory Therapists is when you have difficulty breathing.
And yes, a lot of RT's i've known do become RN's, however this is only because of the lack of advancement reason cited above, which is why a lot of RN's also dont become RT's, not because its a step down, but Nursing has so many oppurtunitiues, so if you were already an RN, why would you go to RT where you might cut down your oppurtunities immensely.
On the flip side of that, though, i've known a lot of RT's whom have gone on to other careers such as Physician Assistant, Medical School, Chiro, Dental School, and even PT, as RT often serves as the open door door for these people into the healthcare field. You never hear an RN going to be an RT, but you never hear an RN going to medical or dental school, or for PT and physican assistant either.
Also I know there are also a lot of Nurses who want to get out of the profession, because of the physical and mental abuse you will take, and you will take a beating. You will get emotionally assulted daily by a family member or a cranky doctor or another ****** nurse or your supervisor or even an RT one day for your dose of mental stress and abuse on your body, and that will be followed by physical abuse of being on your feet not stop for 8 to 12 hrs a day.
RT's also have much more autonomy compared to RN's, RT's can actually treat people, and make a huge impact on a patient.