Breathing is the machinery of life. If we can’t
breath or stop, we die. Some people develop breathing problems because of
illness or accident and need to seek professional assistance. That is
where the respiratory care professional becomes a major factor in the
health care equation.
Respiratory care practitioners are the health
specialists who are responsible for the evaluation, treatment and care of
patients with breathing difficulties. They perform a variety of functions,
such as managing and monitoring life-support systems, performing
lung-function tests, cardiac-stress testing, and sleep studies.
Al Moss, director of the Respiratory Care Program at
KVCC, offers this definition of the typical respiratory care practitioner:
"They are the human connection that interfaces the patient with the
machine. Although the profession has a very technical side, a practitioner
must have great people skills because a good portion of their job requires
interaction with people."
Respiratory Care Practitioners work in a variety of
settings. They are employed in acute-care hospitals, emergency rooms,
diagnostic labs, home health care facilities, and nursing homes.
Because of the essential nature of breathing,
Respiratory Care Practitioners are in high demand. Moss reports graduates
of the program are virtually assured of employment and a good wage. On
average, a staff Respiratory Care Practitioner will start out at $14.50
to $16.50 per hour.
After several years of employment, a Respiratory
Care professional may make up to $21 or $33 per hour. As with other jobs,
there is opportunity for advancement and higher wages. Respiratory
managers, supervisors or educators have the opportunity to make $60,000 or
more per year.
The program at KVCC in this field is first rate. In
addition to the benefit of attending KVCC, the Respiratory Care Program
offers many extras that will enhance the experience of the students in the
One such advantage includes KVCC’s outstanding clinical affiliates.
KVCC has relationships with Bronson and Borgess Hospitals, Spectrum Health
in Grand Rapids and the Battle Creek Health System. KVCC is also linked to
several home health care companies.
The Respiratory Care Program is an intense yet
rewarding program and career. If you are interested in learning more about
the program, KVCC offers "shadow opportunities" that allow a
potential student to go behind the scenes of Respiratory Care.
Contact Al Moss at (269) 488-4288 or the Health Careers Admissions Coordinator at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Another great source of information is the American Association
for Respiratory Care home page at www.aarc.org.