Value of Specializing in Your Career

 Published: January 22, 2020

By: Heather Willden


image of person walking with arrows in front of them representing direction options

One of the added benefits of pursuing a respiratory therapy career is the wide variety of avenues you can take. Seeking credentials to help you specialize in your career path adds value to your experience in the profession. We checked in with your AARC Sleep Specialty Section Chair Jessica Schweller, MS, APRN-CNP, RRT-SDS, for her thoughts on the benefits of specializing.

Adding benefits to your career

photo of jessica schweller at work
Jessica Schweller currently works at the Ohio State University as a sleep nurse practitioner and clinical instructor for the Master’s in Respiratory Therapy Program. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy and a Master of Science in Nursing from Ohio State University.

“As a therapist working in sleep medicine, I had no doubt that I would want to seek out obtaining the RRT-SDS credential,” Schweller said. “I held my RRT designation for several years and knew that adding the specialty credentials would only further validate my knowledge and skills as a respiratory therapist working in sleep.”

For Schweller, obtaining the RRT-SDS credential showed her colleagues and patients that she “went above and beyond what is expected to be able to provide them with the education” she had received.

“I have been given more opportunities to teach and provide hands-on clinical courses because of this designation,” Schweller said.

Resources to help

“The AARC provided both physical and emotional support for the exam,” Schweller said.

She explained that when she first thought about taking the exam, she discussed the importance of this credential with others who had obtained it.

“I was able to interact with several of my sleep section members to discuss avenues for preparing for the exam, and the online information that that AARC boasts on their website was also helpful in finding many of these resources,” Schweller said. “I have been able to also pass that torch on to others who have had thoughts of taking the examination.”

Learn more about specialty options at the Be An RT website.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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