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.