High School Diploma/GED and 2 – 4-year professional training program. Click here for more information
Certified Respiratory Technician (CRT)
Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Click here for more information
$50K - $75K Annually
Respiratory therapists work under the supervision of doctors to provide evaluation and treatment to people with breathing difficulties. For example, they may evaluate and treat people with a lung disorder or disease, asthma or emphysema; people who suffer from a medical event like a heart attack or stroke; people who experience near-drowning or shock trauma may also need the help of this type of therapist.
Respiratory therapists care for patients of all ages—from babies to seniors. For instance, they may treat a newborn with underdeveloped lungs, or they may treat an older person with a chronic lung disease.
Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals where they perform intensive care and are a vital part of the hospital’s lifesaving response team that handle patient emergencies. Respiratory therapists perform procedures that are both diagnostic and therapeutic. Respiratory therapists also work in nursing care facilities and health practitioner offices.
In addition to assessing and evaluating a patient’s breathing disorder, respiratory therapists perform other duties such as checking their equipment to make sure it is in good working order, recording all relevant information in medical charts and briefing doctors on how the patients are responding to treatments. One of the essential parts of this job is helping patients manage their illness. Respiratory therapists help to put patients at ease, then make sure patients and their families know how to deal with breathing emergencies.
- Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- Monitor patient’s physiological responses to therapy such as vital signs, arterial blood gases or blood chemistry changes and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
- Set up and operate devices such as mechanical ventilators therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems or aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment.
- Work as part of a team of physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals to manage patient care by assisting with medical procedures or related duties.
- Maintain charts that contain patients’ pertinent identification and therapy information.
- Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases and review patient information to assess patient condition.
- Relay blood analysis results to a physician.
- Inspect, clean, test and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when necessary.
- Explain treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears.
Skills and Abilities Needed to Perform Job:
- Knowledge and use of medical software (MEDITECH, pharmaceutical, patient record maintenance, etc.).
- Knowledge and use of data base user interface and query software (drug compatibility).
- Knowledge and use of apnea, and arterial blood gas monitors and accessories, flow sensors or regulators or components.
- Knowledge and use of medical aerosol tents, medical gas cylinders or related devices, medical nasal cannulas and nebulizer and accessories.
- Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services.
- Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases and deformities.
- Knowledge of psychology – Human behavior and performance.
- Knowledge and use of Microsoft software (Office, Excel, Work Outlook).
- Inductive Reasoning – Ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions.
- Oral Expression – Ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension – Ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Information Ordering – Ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules.
- Problem Sensitivity – Ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
- Near Vision – Ability to see details at close range.
- Speech Clarity – Ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Deductive Reasoning – Ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Desired Work Style Attributes:
- Attention to details
- Integrity – Honest and ethical
- Dependability – Reliable and responsible
- Independence – Job requires developing one’s own way of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Cooperation – Pleasant with others
- Stress Tolerance – Accepting criticism and dealing calmly in stressful situations
- Self-Control – Maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check
- Concern for Others – Sensitive to needs of others
- Independence – Guiding oneself
- Adaptability/Flexibility – Open to change