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Step by step process of becoming a Respiratory Therapist in West Virginia

If you are interested in helping people with breathing disorders and in becoming a respiratory therapist in West Virginia, you should understand the requirements of the job and the step by step process you need to follow in order to become a respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists work with many different patients, some of which may be lung disease sufferers, bee sting sufferers, serious food allergy sufferers, sleep disorder sufferers, such as those that suffer from sleep apnea, trauma patients, accident victims, neonates, and those that suffer from Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), Chronic Obstructive Distress Syndrome (COPD), or Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome (IRDS). Respiratory therapists have numerous duties and responsibilities, including measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in a patient's blood, performing evaluations, examinations, and diagnoses of patients, maintaining medical equipment such as ventilators, applying chest physiotherapy, administering different medications, administering ventilator therapy, and analyzing patients' blood pH levels.

You must follow the step by step process below in order to become a respiratory therapist in West Virginia:

  1. Earn your high school diploma. Before you apply to an accredited respiratory therapy program in West Virginia, you must first complete your high school diploma. If you have not yet graduated from high school, you will want to consider taking courses in fields relating to respiratory therapy to prepare yourself from the program. Some courses you will want to consider are those in chemistry, physics, biology, other sciences, and mathematics as these will help you have a greater understanding of the medical courses you will be taking in the respiratory therapy program of your choice. So, it would be best to make sure you take as many of these courses as possible and focus on these as they will help you with your future schooling and career.
  2. Complete a post-secondary respiratory therapy program. After you have attained your high school diploma, you will want to look into respiratory therapy training programs, which may be offered at a vocational school, technical school, hospital, or college. These programs include both clinical fieldwork and classroom coursework and will provide you with an associate degree at the completion of the program. A respiratory therapy program will provide you with the skills you need to work with patients with respiratory issues in a medical setting and will help you to gain a better understanding of your future career and what responsibilities and duties are required of you.
  3. Pass the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) licensing exam. To become a practicing respiratory therapist in West Virginia, you will have to pass either the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) licensing examination administered by the National Board of Respiratory Care. To gain your full license, you must also submit the documentation required by the NBRC, as well.
  4. Further your degree in respiratory therapy. After you have attained your associate degree in respiratory therapy, have passed the CRT or RRT licensing examination, have submitted all of the necessary documentation to the NBRC, and have attained your license, you may want to consider looking into obtaining a bachelor's degree in the field. While studying to further your education, you will also be gaining additional clinical experience which will certainly help you with your career.
  5. Maintain your licensure through continuing education credits. In order to maintain your respiratory therapy license, you will need to take additional continuing education credits every two years to maintain an active license and to stay current with any new developments in the health care and respiratory therapy fields.

After you have completed the step by step process of becoming a respiratory therapist in West Virginia, you are ready to begin a rewarding career helping infants, children, teenagers, adults, and elderly patients with their respiratory care needs. If you decide you still want to further your education and go deeper into the field of respiratory therapy, you can even continue onto other education programs, like a master's or doctorate degree.