From the moment we are born, the first thing the world teaches us is how to breathe – and from there, we never stop striving toward our full potential. As an experienced respiratory therapist, you have the power to make an even bigger impact and touch more lives than you ever thought possible. By becoming an educator, you will guide others to excellence and ensure every patient has access to high-quality respiratory care.
Simply put, the world needs more RTs. You can make a difference by teaching and inspiring others – one of many rewards you’ll enjoy as a respiratory care educator.
Benefits of Being a Respiratory Care Educator
Like the shortage of respiratory therapists, the shortage of educators is very real, and it’s a rapidly growing concern. If you are an experienced RT with an advanced degree and a desire to lead, you are the solution. Consider three reasons you should join the higher education team in the field of respiratory care.
The First Step Into the Best of Your Life
Many RTs practice clinically while also serving as educators. Others dedicate their entire careers to education, serving each new class of RTs as program directors and clinical education directors. Whatever path you choose, if you have an advanced RT degree, your expertise and leadership strengths are in high demand.
Today, nearly 90 percent of respiratory therapists agree there is a shortage of RTs, citing long-term vacancies, not enough supply to meet growing demand, increasing retirements and too few RT graduates. The shortage extends to educators as well – in fact, more than half of respiratory care program directors plan to leave the profession over the next decade.
Hear from your colleagues about the value, rewards and impact of being an educator in the field of respiratory care:
Ankeet Patel, RRT, RRT-ACCS
Sarah Pehlke, RRT, CRT
Christy Kane, RRT, ACCS, NPS
Dennis Lawlor, MD, FCCP
Brady Scott, PhD, MSc, RRT, ACCS, AE-C, FAARC, FCCP
Renee D. Bergtold, MSRA, RRT, RPFT
Dr. Renee Portmann, EdD, RRT
Kansas City, MO
The Power of Your Advanced Degree
An advanced degree in respiratory therapy allows you to teach others and/or take on greater leadership roles in clinical settings, enjoying career advancement of your own while building brighter futures for others.
Another advantage of the advanced degree? Students enrolled in graduate programs often experience expanded career opportunities even before completing their master’s degrees – simply because employers understand the value of the higher degree. See current opportunities in respiratory care and education by visiting these job boards:
You may already have what’s required to become a respiratory care educator. Check below to find out!
Qualifications for Program Director, Director of Clinical Education, or Instructors include:
- Advanced degree in respiratory therapy (bachelor’s degree or higher)
- A strong belief in lifelong learning
- A desire to follow and share lessons learned from new research
- Self-motivated with strong leadership, organizational and communication skills
- A minimum of four (4) years’ experience as an RRT, MD, DO or academician, of which at least two (2) years must include experience in clinical respiratory care, pulmonary medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, critical care, anesthesiology, healthcare administration, healthcare research or a subject area directly related to the degree
Forging New Paths
You are already a hero. When it comes to choosing what you can do next with your life, take a deep breath and reach even higher. Teach other people how to be heroes, too. The next generation of respiratory therapists – and their patients – need you now more than ever.