Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory Therapist

Career Overview

Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing—for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema.

Education

Respiratory therapists typically need an associate’s degree, but some have bachelor’s degrees in Respiratory Therapy. Respiratory therapists are licensed in all states except Alaska; requirements vary by state.

Future Outlook

Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and older population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other disorders that can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function.

Work Environment

Most respiratory therapists work full time. Because they may work in medical facilities, such as hospitals that are always open, some may work evening, night, or weekend hours.

Recommended High School Courses

  • Math - as much as possible!
  • Communication
  • Science - as much as possible, including biology and psychology!

  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • 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.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Implement advanced life support techniques.
  • Treat medical emergencies.
  • Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
  • Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.
  • Assist healthcare practitioners during examinations or treatments.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Maintain medical facility records.
  • Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
  • Prepare medical supplies or equipment for use.
  • Gather medical information from patient histories.
  • Clean medical equipment or facilities.
  • Communicate test or assessment results to medical professionals.
  • Examine medical instruments or equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Maintain medical equipment or instruments.
  • Explain medical procedures or test results to patients or family members.
  • Determine protocols for medical procedures.
  • Repair medical facility equipment.
  • Verify that medical activities or operations meet standards.
  • Train patients, family members, or caregivers in techniques for managing disabilities or illnesses.
  • Treat chronic diseases or disorders.
  • Test patient heart or lung functioning.
  • Adjust settings or positions of medical equipment.
  • Train medical providers.
  • Move patients to or from treatment areas.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.

Schools

usa_school
American River College
Ball State University
Boise State University
Canisius College
Carrington College- Las V...
Carrington College- Pleas...
Durham Technical Communit...
Franciscan Missionaries O...
Independence University
Misericordia University
Missouri Southern State U...
National Park College
Nebraska Methodist Colleg...
Pitt Community College
San Joaquin Valley Colleg...
Suny Empire State College
Suny Upstate Medical Univ...
Suny Westchester Communit...
University Of Mary
Weber State University- D...
canada_school
Algonquin College
Brandon University
Canadian Mennonite Uni...
College Of The North A...
Conestoga College- Doo...
Dalhousie University
Fanshawe College- Lond...
New Brunswick Communit...
The Michener Institute...
Thompson Rivers Univer...

Potential Scholarships

5 Strong Scholarship
Agnes M. Lindsay Scholars...

Approx Salary Expectation

Currency:
Low End:
$44,850.00 /yr
Avg/Med:
$61,330.00 /yr
High End:
$86,980.00 /yr

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/.
Trend Analysis - Explorer the Market, Labour Market Information, Government of Canada https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/trend-analysis.
O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, https://www.onetonline.org/.