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Learning to Become a South Dakota Respiratory Therapist

In South Dakota, the job of respiratory therapist can be a lucrative one. Working in health care brings a number of benefits. Caring for others is a rewarding career in itself for most people but with higher than state averages for salaries; the respiratory therapist can also enjoy a life of relative financial success. This is only achieved through pursuing the appropriate education, acquiring certification and then continuing education throughout one's career.
You learn how to be a respiratory therapist through a variety of ways. One way is through your formal education, another is through on the job training. You also learn from being with people and through your own experiences and reactions to being with and helping others. When you combine all of the ways you learn about becoming a respiratory therapist you find that a dedicated individual can become not only a well-paid medical worker but educated provider of compassion and intellect.


Helping people who are having trouble breathing is what respiratory therapists do. Breathing difficulty can be a scary thing. Compassion and a calm demeanor can be helpful in this line of work .These may be traits you come by naturally. They can also be learned over time with practice and patience. A good therapist has to enjoy working closely with people.


Education is the cornerstone of many white collar careers. When it comes to the field of respiratory therapy, one can never have too much education. The minimum requirement for licensing in South Dakota is a two year associate degree. Many health care providers and companies require even higher levels of education to qualify for jobs. Jobs in areas that are considered specialties like pulmonary diagnosis or research work also require higher education.


People learn in different ways. Some are better with books and tests; others thrive in a hands-on environment. The required studies for a respiratory therapist provide a combination of these two styles. Most of the classes are book based and can be attended on campus or taken via computer from the comfort of your home. A number of the classes involve hands on training and patient interaction.

On the Job Training

Once school is complete, the exams are taken and license is in hand the real training begins. There is nothing like getting down in the trenches for reinforcing what was learned in the classroom. The day to day experience of treating patients will teach more than a classroom ever could. It will expose you to unique and unusual circumstances that will educate you and challenge you.

Continuing Education

In South Dakota, your license to practice respiratory therapy must be renewed every two years. Unlike other states, South Dakota does not mandate continuing education for its respiratory therapists. It is highly recommended but not required. However, the state reserves the right to mandate it at any time. It can also require retesting of any practitioner who it deems may not be performing up to its standards or who has allowed his or her license to lapse.

Benefits of Education

IN addition to the education itself, the level you take your education to will have significant bearing on your salary and your career advancement. The more you learn the more valuable you become to your employer. Combined with a few years of experience, these skills can take you into management positions and improve your salary potential.