What is a Respiratory Therapist?
Career Description 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.
Daily Life Of a Respiratory Therapist
- Explain treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears.
- Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition.
- Perform endotracheal intubation to maintain open airways for patients who are unable to breathe on their own.
- Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- Relay blood analysis results to a physician.
- Teach, train, supervise, or use the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, or assistants.
Respiratory Therapist Skills
Below is a list of the skills most Respiratory Therapists say are important on the job.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Types of Respiratory Therapist
- Respiratory Therapy Director
- Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP)
- Clinical Coordinator of Respiratory Therapy
- Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Respiratory Therapist
- Inhalation Therapist
Respiratory Therapist Employment Estimates
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 130,200 jobs in the United States for Respiratory Therapist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 23.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 30,400 new jobs for Respiratory Therapist by 2026. The BLS estimates 9,800 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Respiratory Therapist are Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Maryland, or Nebraska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Average Respiratory Therapists Salary
Respiratory Therapists make between $43,750 and $83,520 a year.
Respiratory Therapists who work in California, Alaska, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Respiratory Therapists in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$78,540|
Tools & Technologies Used by Respiratory Therapists
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Respiratory Therapists:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Outlook
- Database software
- MEDITECH software
- Calendar and scheduling software
- Electronic medical record EMR software
How to Become a Respiratory Therapist
Individuals working as a Respiratory Therapist have obtained the following education levels:
What work experience do I need to become a Respiratory Therapist?
Who Employs Respiratory Therapists?
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
Featured Physical Therapy / Respiratory Therapy Schools
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