What’s a respiratory consultant?
Regardless of your reason for switching from a traditional respiratory therapy job, respiratory consulting can be a great opportunity to learn and practice new skills. Respiratory consultants can be viewed as experts in their field and may be asked to advise in various parts of a business. Consultants may be requested to train a sales team about new respiratory products, perform market research on different devices, setup prototypes, or even teach customers how to use new products.
Clients for a respiratory consultant can include hospitals, medical schools, medical equipment manufacturers, and even cruise lines. You can also apply your skills to smoking cessation, asthma management, occupational health, and protective gear. Finding unconventional ways of applying your respiratory therapy skills can be a great way to unearth hidden demand and make more money.
Where can you work?
Respiratory care education is not just limited to respiratory therapists. Other healthcare professionals need it as well.
Some respiratory consultants strictly work to train and audit patient-care facilities. During these visits, consultants will make sure the facility has the best knowledge and techniques to assist respiratory patients. They also perform audits to ensure the correct information is being collected and documented.
Equipment manufacturers can be a great place for respiratory therapists because there is a demand for those who understand how a product should help someone. RTs can also help in other aspects of a company, like training, marketing, and product testing.
AirLogix is a Dallas-based company that assists with respiratory disease management. They hire full-time and part-time respiratory therapists to perform house visits and phone consultations for asthma and COPD patients. Part-time employees are only expected to work a minimum of 12 hours per week. This is great for extra income if you already have a full-time job.
How to start consulting?
- Find a need and fill it
- Start small with a few clients
- Build Contracts and Expertise
If you are a RT who wants to jump in to consulting, experienced consultants recommend you start small and keep your current job. Doing this gives you time to see if it’s for you without the stress of trying to be successful.
Working as a fulltime consultant can come with many rewards like higher pay and being your own boss. However, it’s a good idea to remember there is no paid vacation, you must purchase your own healthcare plan, and it may not come with the same stability as a job in the hospital.
Depending on your relationship with your current boss, you should consider being upfront with them and letting them know you are consulting on the side. This way you can offset your full-time job with consulting as you get more clients until you are able to quit.
We recommend to not start too big so you can develop good relationships with your first few customers. If you can deliver exceptional service, your customers may be inclined to work with you in the future and even recommend you to others.
You will always be learning
Once you are a consultant, you need to have expertise. This may mean taking classes on new technology that is being released. It is a good idea to become in as many subjects, like outpatient testing and sleep apnea. What we are saying is learn as much as you can, so you provide more services and not limit your capabilities.
Things to consider
With a job like this, you may have to travel some to meet clients and perform work. Many consultants have multiple clients so the amount of travel you do will depend on how far apart your customers are from each other.
On another note, make sure you have the patience and determination to teach others. As a consultant, you are expected to be the subject expert in the room, and this may mean other people are not at your level of understanding of respiratory care.
If possible, determine how strong the competition is in your area before starting. Is your local market large enough to support another respiratory therapist? If not, what can you offer your customers that your competitor cannot?
After you have looked at your competition, see if someone who already runs a respiratory business would be willing to give you a few pointers. Now, someone in your local market may not be willing to help their future rival, but someone in another town or state may be willing to offer some advice.