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How to Become an Anesthetist Respiratory Therapist

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Respiratory therapists work with patients who suffer from respiratory or cardiopulmonary ailments or disorders. An anesthetist respiratory therapist cares for the same kind of patients, but is also able to administer anesthesia to those people. This extra distinction requires two to three more years of training. Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals, but can also work in nursing homes and home health care settings. The job of an anesthetist respiratory therapist carries a large amount of responsibility. Thus, these professionals are compensated appropriately.

What To Do

Any student who wants to become a anesthetist respiratory therapist must begin in high school by taking classes in biology, chemistry, and algebra. This will prepare them for the work expected once they move into the post secondary level of their training.

A Bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy is required and must be obtained through an accredited respiratory care program. Some schools require that a student gain a respiratory therapist specialty through a nursing degree program. The National Board for Respiratory Care then requires that a respiratory therapist pass a certification exam after graduation.

Following undergraduate work, more training is needed to be an anesthetist, If you have not yet obtained a B.S in nursing, you'll need to do so before entering into training for an anesthetist. Most programs can take as long as 36 months and require graduate level course work in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. The student must then pass a certification exam.

Continuing education is necessary to maintain certification as a respiratory therapist and anesthetist. Therapists can further their education and advance their careers by completing advanced respiratory care programs. Most states require additional education to maintain a respiratory therapist's license. To stay certified as an anesthetist, you must complete continuing education programs every two years.


When choosing a school for a degree in respiratory therapy, consider a college that will permit combining this degree with a B.S. in nursing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for respiratory therapists is expected to increase by 19 percent by the year 2016.

The median salary for a respiratory therapist is between $51,400 and $58,200, according to the latest figures (2008) from the U.S. Labor Department.

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, experienced anesthetists can make over $100,000 a year.


Education programs designed to train anesthetists will some times requires that you have at least one year of critical-care nursing experience.

Because an anesthetist respiratory therapist is permitted to administer anesthesia, the position can hold extraordinary medical responsibilities.