RT Career?

  1. I'm sorry my question is probably a little out of place here, but I'm having trouble finding an unbiased and timely answer to my question, and there don't seem to be any active RT specific internet forums.

    I'm getting ready to retire from my government job, am in my early fifties, and am looking at RT as a second career. I am seeing many contradictory reports on the current job market for new grad RT's. Anyone able to shed some light? I live in the Phonix area.

    Also, I realize age discrimination is illegal, but do you think my age will be a strike against me?

    Todd
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   TraumaSurfer
    RTs are being laid off in many places throughout the country. This has been happening for awhile in California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. Michigan and a couple other states are also about to deregulate the profession. As a traveler I was shocked to see how many places where RNs are now doing everything out RTs had done including all txs, ABGs and ventilator management. I remember when RTs were almost always on Neonatal transport teams but now it is RN/RN or RN/Paramedic. In some places Paramedics are also working at tasks which had been done by RTs. They are cheaper. I wouldn't recommend that at all but you can become an RN and do what an RT does plus much more.

    The AARC has a forum which you can probably enter for a small fee. It also has tons of info about the job.
  4. by   JustBeachyNurse
    In my areas LPNs can now fulfill all the skills of an RT in their scope of practice and are replacing RTs in some settings

    No job is 100 % guaranteed. & stable even if you own the company or are the CEO
  5. by   TraumaSurfer
    Quote from JustBeachyNurse
    In my areas LPNs cIn now fulfill all the skills of an RT in their scope of practice and are replacing RTs in some settings

    No job is 100 % guaranteed. & stable even if you own the company or are the CEO
    I forgot about that. LVNs can manage ventilators in subacutes. RTs are not recognized by CMS in most long term facilities. Most subacutes in California do not have RTs or at least not for managing the vent. They might have one during a dayshift to function like an equipment fetcher for the nurses.
  6. by   k9bite
    Thank you. It is great to get real world information, as I have been getting conflicting information. I'd seen information reporting what you both wrote, but at the same time, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and an article in US News and World are predicting over 25% growth in the field over the next several years. Also, the three respiratory therapy programs in my area are reporting close to 75% of their students getting related jobs after graduation. Lastly my sis-in-law works for a medical staffing agency (PRN and traveling jobs) here in Arizona, and she said of the non-nurse jobs, RT is right behind PT in jobs their company fills.
  7. by   TraumaSurfer
    If a school is quoting stats chances are the school is an over priced private such as Carrington. The departments which are taking travelers and PRNs are probably doing so to avoid filling vacancies and are on their way to downsizing once the nurses have assumed all the RT responsibilities. Many RT departments are now under nursing.

    After PT, OT and SLPs are the highest in demand and can still find sign on bonuses. AMN, Crosscountry and Aureus are some of the largest staffing companies in the US and they have very few travel positions for RTs.

    Even LPN would give you a better chance at employment.
  8. by   k9bite
    Okay, that makes sense, thank you.
  9. by   damrcngrl95
    I know I'm answering late, but you really need to do your homework on what the employment rate is for your area that you want to work at. I am currently in the RT program and I picked because it was something I knew about. My children and I suffer from asthma. I have loved my program and everything I have learned so far. I am going to a public community college and I checked the stats on COARC and the AARC. The employment rate for my area for my school is at about 55%. My area is growing and so have the hospitals. They will need several new RTs when I graduate so I'm coming in at a good time. My husband is military and so at some point we will be moving. I'm hoping my experience will help at our new duty station. My program helps us to take the CRT and I plan on taking the RRT as soon as I have my CRT. I don't want to wait and lose all that knowledge. I have also spent the last 2 semesters picking the RT department managers brains on what they are looking for in an RT. That has helped a lot. In the city that I am in the department RTs are all RRTs and not nurses. They are very strong at keeping our department strong and hire people that show their worth. They get rid of the so called lazy RTs. The nurses and RTs seem to work as a team and really have a great working relationship. I do realize that some of our duties can overlap, but we both have a very important job. If you live in a place that doesn't see the value of the Respiratory department then you will probably be very frustrated in your career. So do your homework before investing in the program. Both nursing and Respiratory therapy are great careers, but they do have some major differences that you will need to consider. If you go into respiratory then that's pretty much what you will be doing. There will be different variations of the career such as sleep studies or PFTs, but respiratory is what you will be doing. With nursing, you have many avenues that you can change into. So if you don't like one department you can transition to another. There are over all more jobs for nurses, but they are having a very hard time finding a job in certain areas of the country. They graduate 40 to 60 nurses each year for our school compared to the 15 to 20 RTs. So it's like comparing apples to oranges on job opportunities. There are fewer RTs and fewer job slots compared to nurses.
    I will say that the respiratory department will never go away despite the rumors. Do a quick google search on the hospitals that did away with the RT department and you will see that preventable deaths went up. Nurses are very overworked and so all departments need to be pulling their own weight.
    I am currently in ICU clinicals and I have to keep up with 2 maybe 3 tubes going into my patient. Whereas the ICU nurse has many more. I have noticed that he/she has counted on me to keep up with my part so they can concentrate on theirs. There is a lot that goes on in critical care and it literally takes a village to keep some of our patients alive.
  10. by   TraumaSurfer
    Quote from damrcngrl95
    IThey graduate 40 to 60 nurses each year for our school compared to the 15 to 20 RTs. So it's like comparing apples to oranges on job opportunities. There are fewer RTs and fewer job slots compared to nurses.
    There are over 3 million nurses as opposed to only 100,000 RTs. The number of RTs has not grown very much over the past few years and the demand has become less as hospitals move their tasks into other departments.

    Quote from damrcngrl95
    They get rid of the so called lazy RTs.
    Most of the RT departments are unionized. Good luck firing someone for being "lazy" since that is difficult to prove. Sounds like that manager is tooting a horn he can not play in an attempt to show off. Chances are his boss is an RN since many RTs managers now report directly to nursing managers. There is also a good chance the "firing of the lazy" means the productivity numbers for the department were not there and layoffs had to occur.


    Quote from damrcngrl95
    I will say that the respiratory department will never go away despite the rumors. Do a quick google search on the hospitals that did away with the RT department and you will see that preventable deaths went up. Nurses are very overworked and so all departments need to be pulling their own weight.
    You need to provide the links to this. Your statement resembles a private tech school ad more than fact. Even the AARC nor the NBRC makes such statements. You might also read what the AARC has to say about their future goals and why they toned down most of them.

    Did you know that RTs are unique only to the US and parts of Canada? All the other countries utilize nurses to do what RTs do which is what the US is finally seeing to be of more value when it comes to overall quality of bedside care. The article posted about Respiratory Nurses in this section might be a good read for you. The other countries seem to have done very well without RTs.

    Quote from damrcngrl95
    I am currently in ICU clinicals and I have to keep up with 2 maybe 3 tubes going into my patient. Whereas the ICU nurse has many more. I have noticed that he/she has counted on me to keep up with my part so they can concentrate on theirs. There is a lot that goes on in critical care and it literally takes a village to keep some of our patients alive.
    How many ETTs are in one patient? A student should not be left to be "counted on" in a clinical situation. Where is your preceptor? This is a failure upon your school or shows that the RN is covering your butt and is actually the one responsible for the patient.

    The average RT in the ICUs take care of 4 - 8 ventilator patients and usually are only present every 4 hours to write numbers for their "ventilator" check. The rest of the time they hang in their lounge. The RN has 1 - 2 patients and must do patient assessments almost continuously along with not leaving the bedside.

    You are not yet an RT so you only have a student's view of what is going on. Get back to us after you graduate and have a job for a couple of years. As a student things always look a little rosier and the school gives you pep talks to get you through graduation so their own stats look good. After that you are on your own.
  11. by   tmw73
    Good lord.you make it sound as if Respiratory has just fallen off the map.Ive been a Respiratory therapist for 20 years now.i can tell you a lot has changed. You speak about respiratory therapist losing their jobs but I don't know if you noticed everyones losing their jobs. There has been down sizing when nurses are losing their jobs as well no one is immune to the economy. When I first started everyone was making a lot of money. You look at the overall income for everyone has changed. Just recently a hospital here laid off a lot of nurses. As far as deregulationit will never happen.things will change for the better.I've never heard of LPNoperating ventilators in ICU. the fact is we have legislation in front of Congress now to include respiratory in Medicare reimbursement.and has a good chance of passing. Once it does then the opportunities for respiratory will be limitless. So my friend do some research on the actual profession a respiratory therapy before you start telling him that is not a good thing to do.. I've been doing it for 20 yearsnever been laid off, or even had the thought of being laid off. A lot of hospitals cut staff and it doesn't matter if your respiratory therapist, environmental service, a patient care tech, or even a nurse. Because believe it or not everyone has been affected by the economy not just respiratory.
  12. by   damrcngrl95
    Quote from TraumaSurfer
    There are over 3 million nurses as opposed to only 100,000 RTs. The number of RTs has not grown very much over the past few years and the demand has become less as hospitals move their tasks into other departments.



    Most of the RT departments are unionized. Good luck firing someone for being "lazy" since that is difficult to prove. Sounds like that manager is tooting a horn he can not play in an attempt to show off. Chances are his boss is an RN since many RTs managers now report directly to nursing managers. There is also a good chance the "firing of the lazy" means the productivity numbers for the department were not there and layoffs had to occur.








    How many ETTs are in one patient? A student should not be left to be "counted on" in a clinical situation. Where is your preceptor? This is a failure upon your school or shows that the RN is covering your butt and is actually the one responsible for the patient.

    The average RT in the ICUs take care of 4 - 8 ventilator patients and usually are only present every 4 hours to write numbers for their "ventilator" check. The rest of the time they hang in their lounge. The RN has 1 - 2 patients and must do patient assessments almost continuously along with not leaving the bedside.

    You are not yet an RT so you only have a student's view of what is going on. Get back to us after you graduate and have a job for a couple of years. As a student things always look a little rosier and the school gives you pep talks to get you through graduation so their own stats look good. After that you are on your own.
    I wasn't just talking about ETTs when I mentioned "tubes". I do monitor the output with chest tubes. A patient can also have an a-line or swan ganz that I will be checking. In my area, we do vent checks every 2 hours along with oral hygiene, medications, abgs, and bronchial hygiene orders. I have never seen an RT assigned to the ICU sitting on their butt anywhere. They seemed pretty busy to me. It seemed like everyone in the ICU had a lot to do and did a great job getting it done.
  13. by   damrcngrl95
    Also, none of our Respiratory department heads answer to any of the nurses. As a matter of fact, one of the VPs that retired from one of the local hospitals came and spoke to our class. He never has been a RN, but he is/ was a RRT that went back to school got his masters and worked his way up in the hospital.
    I also know of a few nurses that have done the very same thing. I am so glad that the nurses I have encountered in my city have a great team attitude and don't treat this student like an idiot.

    Trama surfer, I have such a high admiration of RNs and the job they must do each day, but I do question if you may feel RTs are really not that bright and even question their need in a hospital setting. I honestly hope I have just misunderstood the point you were trying to make.
  14. by   tmw73
    No you didn't miss interprete his statement. That's exactly what he was trying to say.im not sure where he works but I assure you it doesn't work like that. You'll meet some people who have superiority complexs but that's how ignorant some people can be . They're the first ones to call for help since they know so much.they try to compare some back woods hospital to one's with major ICU'S.i can tell you I've been doing it for 20 years and this reaction is NOT typical of all nurses.alot of them know we are a team and don't have this attitude. But every now and then you meet one who really don't know what we know then are surprised at what we do know and look small in the process. If you want to go for it then do it.you won't regret it.

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