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What is a Respiratory Therapist: Career, Courses & Jobs

What Is a Respiratory Therapist

Are you interested in becoming a respiratory therapist? It can be a rewarding and challenging career, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of becoming a respiratory therapist, such as the qualifications, job duties, and salary expectations. Read on to learn more!

What Is a Respiratory Therapist?

A respiratory therapist is qualified and experienced to evaluate, identify, and treat patients who have breathing problems. Together with doctors and nurses, they develop treatment regimens for patients of all ages, including infants and the elderly, with the goal of regaining as much normal respiratory function as possible.

Respiratory therapists play a crucial role in assisting persons with cardio-pulmonary diseases and disorders, from the initial examination and interviewing to training patients on how to administer medicines on their own.

Read Also: What is a Nurse Practitioner? Schooling, Programs, Jobs & Salary

What Do Respiratory Therapists Do?

Respiratory therapists provide essential services to people who have difficulty breathing, either because of an illness or injury. These services include administering inhalants, oxygen therapy, monitoring vital signs and educating patients on proper respiratory health care techniques.

Those interested in pursuing a career as a respiratory therapist should have excellent communication and organizational skills, and strong problem-solving and observation abilities.

Additionally, they must have knowledge of basic anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and medical terminology. To become a qualified respiratory therapist, students must obtain an associate degree from an accredited program, pass a certification exam and complete clinical rotations.

After becoming certified and gaining experience in the field, many respiratory therapists advance to management or supervisory positions.

Additionally, respiratory therapists often work in a variety of settings including hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care settings and clinics. Depending on their specialization, they may specialize in areas such as pediatrics, neonatology, or sleep medicine.

Furthermore, respiratory therapists are versatile medical professionals who can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care settings, and clinics. Those specializing in the field may choose to focus their efforts specifically on pediatrics, neonatology and sleep medicine.

If you are looking for a career that has the potential to provide variety and stability in the medical field, becoming a respiratory therapist can be a great choice.

Respiratory Therapist Job Duties

Respiratory therapists have a wide range of duties during their days. Typical activities for a day or shift include:

  • Consultations and examinations with people who have pulmonary conditions
  • Measuring lung capacity and capability by performing diagnostic tests and assessing the results
  • Creating treatment strategies in collaboration with doctors and nurses
  • Aerosol drug administration and chest physical therapy
  • Monitoring treatment progress and giving inhalants
  • Updating charts and data to document care
  • Using types of machinery such as mechanical ventilators and other devices
  • Completing discharge plans in collaboration with other medical team members
  • Teaching patients how to use equipment and conduct treatments on their own
  • Recommending tools and remedies for outpatient or at-home care
  • Ensuring the safety of patients (and other healthcare workers) by following strict protocols

How Much Do Respiratory Therapists Make?

In the US, a respiratory therapist makes an average pay of $61,330 per year. Most RRTs with higher levels of certification make more money than CRTs with lower levels of certification. The majority of respiratory therapists are full-time employees who may work shifts during “regular” business hours or on the weekends and evenings.

Requirements to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Here we will look into what are the requirements to be a respiratory therapist;

To become a respiratory therapist, you must have a high school diploma or GED and complete an accredited respiratory program that includes a minimum of an associate degree.

Additionally, you should also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills as well as the knowledge and ability to operate sophisticated medical equipment. While there are no licensing or certification requirements in some states, most employers prefer to hire respiratory therapists that are certified by the National Board for Respiratory Care.

It’s also important to actively participate in continuing education throughout your career to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the respiratory field. With a strong education, certification and experience, you can have a rewarding career as a respiratory therapist.

Furthermore, many states require you to obtain a license or certification in order to practice. This usually requires completing continuing education courses and passing a licensing exam. Therefore, it is important to research your state’s requirements for the career path you choose.

Additionally, it is wise to pursue internships and/or volunteer opportunities in the field. Doing so will give you valuable insight into the profession and also provide some experience to put on a resume when applying for jobs.

Finally, networking with professionals in the field can prove invaluable as you navigate through your career journey and land fulfilling positions.

All respiratory therapists should have the following skills:

  • Verbal communication skills
  • Calm bedside manner
  • Patience and ability to teach and train patients
  • Deep understanding of infectious control
  • Ability to work with a medical team
  • Compassion
  • Good judgment and quick decision-making ability
  • Time management skills
  • Physiological knowledge
  • Detail oriented

Benefits of Working as a Respiratory Therapist

So what are the advantages of becoming a respiratory therapist? let’s find out;

Working as a Respiratory Therapist provides a lot of job stability due to the growing demand for respiratory therapists in the healthcare industry. Additionally, this career path offers an excellent starting salary with plenty of room for growth through experience and education.

Becoming a respiratory therapist requires an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Care, and after graduation, therapists must take a board certification exam to gain licensure. The job can be highly rewarding and provides a unique opportunity to work closely with patients and improve their quality of life.

With the rising number of aging adults, it is likely that demand for respiratory therapists will only increase over time, making this career path a great option for those seeking job stability with plenty of advancement opportunities.

Working as a Respiratory Therapist also allows you to make meaningful contributions to your community by helping those in need receive the healthcare they deserve.

Furthermore, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies All in all, the field of Respiratory Therapy can be an incredibly rewarding career for those interested in impacting their local community.

Not only does this profession give you the opportunity to provide healthcare to those who need it most, but also you can travel and work in various settings. If you are passionate about making a difference and want to explore these different settings, becoming a Respiratory Therapist is the perfect choice for you.

How to Prepare for A Career in Respiratory Therapy

To begin preparing for a career in respiratory therapy, start by researching the necessary qualifications and certifications to become certified in this field. This includes looking into the various educational paths that lead to obtaining this certification, such as earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Care or attending a postsecondary certificate program.

Depending on the requirements for certification as a Respiratory Therapist, you may need to take additional courses like medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, physics, microbiology and chemistry.

Additionally, some employers may require you to have hands-on clinical experience during your training. Research the specific requirements for becoming certified in your state to ensure that you meet all necessary qualifications.

Programs like these provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to diagnose and treat respiratory issues, such as asthma and emphysema. Pursuing a career in respiratory therapy can be both personally and professionally rewarding, so if this is something that appeals to you, make sure to research the qualifications needed in order to make it happen.

Once you’ve determined which path is best for you, focus on building the necessary skills to become successful in respiratory therapy. This includes the understanding of medical terminology, patient assessment techniques, and knowledge of the various types of respiratory care equipment used to diagnose and treat patients.

It is important to stay up-to-date on new developments in the field, for example, by taking courses and attending seminars that are relevant to your career. It’s also important to network with other respiratory therapists and gain insight from them into the current trends and developments in the industry. Developing a wide range of knowledge through continuing education and networking can help you become a successful respiratory therapist.

Finally, apply these skills in real-world situations by taking on internships or volunteer positions with local medical facilities that have respiratory departments and gain an understanding of what it takes to work in this field every day. With these steps taken, you’ll be well on your way to beginning a successful career in Respiratory Therapy!

Furthermore, to gain an even deeper understanding of the field of respiratory therapy and how to apply the skills learned in the classroom, take on internships or volunteer positions with local medical facilities. This type of real-world experience will help you gain an understanding of what it takes to work in this field every day. With these steps taken, you will be well on your way to beginning a successful career in Respiratory Therapy!

Final Words on Respiratory Therapist Career

Becoming a respiratory therapist can be a fulfilling and exciting career choice. It’s important to understand the qualifications, job duties, and salary expectations so you can decide if this is the right career for you.

There are many different ways to become a Respiratory Therapist, but the most important factor is that you are passionate about the work and prepared for the challenges that come with it. With dedication and hard work, you can achieve your career goals and make a positive impact on others. We wish you the best on your journey to becoming a Respiratory Therapist!

This article lists 10 possible paths to becoming a respiratory therapist (also known as a respiratory technician and respiratory therapist). If you’re interested in this career but aren’t sure which path is right for you, this article will help you decide. 


  • skillshouter Team

    At SkillShouter, we help you find the best tutorials, courses, and certifications online. Experts come together to handpick great courses for needy learners. We provide demanding high-quality, well-researched reviews, and comparisons for those looking to start online and campus courses.

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