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Career Profile: Respiratory Therapist

Career Profile: Respiratory Therapist

Kevilin Prah, Respiratory Therapist, Washington Hospital Center, Washington D.C.

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

I chose this career because…

I chose to become a respiratory therapist because I heard about the right program at the right time. I always wanted to have a profession in the medical field and considered going to medical school. In high school, I always liked science, especially biology. When my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes and lost her eyesight so quickly, it was a great motivator. I wanted to understand more about how the body becomes ill and also how it heals. My mother has worked as a nurse now for over twenty years. So I thought about testing out the medical field by going into nursing. It was my way to ensure that the medical field was right for me.

More on Respiratory Therapy


Salary: $35,200 - $64,190
Min. Education: Associate's
Related Careers: Cardiovascualar Technologist & Technician, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

I was accepted into the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), but not into the nursing program right away. You have to meet certain requirements and successfully complete certain courses before acceptance into the nursing program. While waiting to register for the nursing program, a career counselor told me about the Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP). The program allowed a focus on one of two paths: speech pathology or respiratory therapy. I registered for the two-year respiratory therapy program, which included course work and clinical training. I completed the program and graduated in May, 2005. Currently, I work as a certified respiratory therapist at the Washington Hospital Center.

My Internship
While going to undergraduate school, I worked part-time at the NIH, Office of Science Education (http://science.education.nih.gov/) as an assistant coordinator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Montgomery County Public School Student Teacher Internship program (http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/departments/intern/stp/). It places high school students and teachers in NIH laboratories to gain first-hand experience in research. I believe this experience helped me gain entrance into the UDC program.

College Education

Pre-requisites for Medical School, Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland Associate of Arts, Respiratory Therapy, Nursing and Allied Health Program, University of the District of Columbia (http://www.udc.edu/), Washington D.C.


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