For a fast track into the lucrative medical profession, respiratory therapy’s many job openings offer a breath of fresh air.

“A two-year respiratory training degree from a junior college could get you on the way,” declares Asa Hawkins, owner of Veterans Purple Heart Staffing in Yuba City. “And just like the nursing profession, there is a shortage of respiratory therapists, so any hospital will grab you right out of school.”

Respiratory therapists operate life support machines. This specialty used to be called cardiopulmonary therapy because it deals with the heart and lungs.

“Depending on the location of the hospital, a respiratory therapist could earn $18 to $35 an hour,” according to Hawkins. “I would hire people right out of college or those with 30+ years of experience.”

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