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Respiratory Therapists

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Life As a Respiratory Therapist

Job Description & Duties Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.

What do Respiratory Therapists do On a Daily Basis?

  • Perform endotracheal intubation to maintain open airways for patients who are unable to breathe on their own.
  • Teach, train, supervise, or use the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, or assistants.
  • Transport patients to the hospital or within the hospital.
  • Use a variety of testing techniques to assist doctors in cardiac or pulmonary research or to diagnose disorders.
  • Maintain charts that contain patients’ pertinent identification and therapy information.
  • Monitor cardiac patients, using electrocardiography devices, such as a holter monitor.

What a Respiratory Therapist Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Respiratory Therapists say are important on the job.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Types of Respiratory Therapists

  • Respiratory Therapy Director
  • Staff Therapist
  • Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Respiratory Therapist
  • Staff Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP)

Is There Job Demand for Respiratory Therapists?

In the United States, there were 130,200 jobs for Respiratory Therapists in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 23.4% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 30,500 new jobs for Respiratory Therapists by 2026. The BLS estimates 9,800 yearly job openings in this field per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Respiratory Therapists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Respiratory Therapists are California, Texas, and Florida.

Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Louisiana, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Respiratory Therapists Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of a Respiratory Therapist ranges between $43,750 and $83,520. A Respiratory Therapist median salary is $60,280.

Salary Ranges for Respiratory Therapists

How much do Respiratory Therapists make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$79,640

District of Columbia

$78,540

Alaska

$76,610

New York

$74,890

Massachusetts

$73,660

Nevada

$73,530

New Jersey

$73,390

Hawaii

$71,460

Connecticut

$70,410

Washington

$69,540

Oregon

$69,000

Delaware

$67,950

Maryland

$67,660

Minnesota

$67,190

Rhode Island

$67,060

New Hampshire

$66,570

Vermont

$66,260

Colorado

$63,070

Wisconsin

$62,150

Utah

$61,480

Illinois

$60,500

Virginia

$60,200

Texas

$59,930

Maine

$59,410

Arizona

$58,420

New Mexico

$58,200

Wyoming

$57,960

Florida

$57,960

North Dakota

$57,720

Idaho

$57,700

Georgia

$57,520

Montana

$57,310

Michigan

$57,040

Pennsylvania

$56,970

Ohio

$56,830

North Carolina

$56,620

Missouri

$56,320

South Carolina

$55,990

Indiana

$55,610

Nebraska

$55,560

Kansas

$55,080

Oklahoma

$54,540

Iowa

$53,870

Louisiana

$53,510

Arkansas

$52,050

South Dakota

$51,510

Tennessee

$51,400

Alabama

$50,770

West Virginia

$50,420

Kentucky

$49,890

Mississippi

$49,220

Tools & Technologies Used by Respiratory Therapists

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Respiratory Therapists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • MEDITECH software

Becoming a Respiratory Therapist

What education is needed to be a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory Therapist Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Respiratory Therapist Work Experience

Where Respiratory Therapists Are Employed

Respiratory Therapist Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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