Respiratory therapists are essential to the health of so many. As our country’s population grows increasingly older, hospitals and physician practices face a critical need for specialized, high-quality respiratory care. The numbers for both current and aspiring respiratory therapists are decreasing, however, causing serious concern about meeting the high demand.
A survey of respiratory care leaders, conducted by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), shows that almost nine in 10 (87 percent) agree or strongly agree there is a current, local shortage of RTs, and 84 percent think a shortage of RTs in the future is likely or very likely. Even before the effects of the pandemic caused a crisis in the field of respiratory care, the RT shortage was becoming a challenge.
Meanwhile, despite the lower numbers of RTs, survey responses from the AARC show widespread agreement that the following factors will continue to drive even higher demand: