Respiratory Therapist Career Path

Are you thinking of becoming a Respiratory Therapist or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Respiratory Therapist, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Respiratory Therapist job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

How to Become a respiratory therapist

If you're considering starting your Respiratory Therapist career path, it's important to note the skills, qualifications, and time it takes to become a professional Respiratory Therapist and how to advance your career path. Below are the steps generally required to begin and advance your Respiratory Therapist career.
Contents

1

Earn a Degree

To begin your Respiratory Therapist career path, a Associate's Degree in cardiovascular technology or a related field is usually necessary in order to remain a competitive option for employers. Focus on industry-specific skill development during your education in order to be properly equipped when applying for entry-level positions and entering the job force. A Respiratory Therapist internship may be required to earn your Associate's Degree and acquire necessary on-the-job skills before entering the workforce.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Respiratory Therapist?

58% of people working as a Respiratory Therapist earned a Associate's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Respiratory Therapist?

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • BLS Certification
  • Critical Thinking
  • ICU
  • CPR Certified
  • Pulmonary Function
  • Problem Solving
  • Intubation
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Respiratory Therapist in the United States.

2

Choose a Specialty in Your Field

As an Respiratory Therapist, you may be required to choose a specialty within your field. Determine which part of the Respiratory Therapist field you feel strongest in, and continue taking active steps toward growing in your chosen Respiratory Therapist specialty.

3

Get an Entry-Level Position as a Respiratory Therapist

Once you've acquired a Associate's Degree in cardiovascular technology or a related field, you'll typically begin your career as an entry-level Respiratory Therapist. In general, you can become a Respiratory Therapist after completing your 3 year Associate's Degree in a related discipline. Depending on the type of Respiratory Therapist role you’re pursuing, you may want to explore certification in certified respiratory therapist.

4

Advance in Your Respiratory Therapist Career

Following entry-level, there are several Respiratory Therapist career path levels to advance into. It can take 2 years as an entry-level Respiratory Therapist to progress to the senior respiratory therapist position. Each advanced Respiratory Therapist position requires approximately 8 years of experience at each level to advance in your Respiratory Therapist career path. It may be necessary to receive additional education, an advanced degree such as a Master's Degree in a related field, or special certifications in order to advance your Respiratory Therapist career path.

5

Continued Education for Your Respiratory Therapist Career Path

Not all industries and companies require continued education to advance your Respiratory Therapist career path. However, earning this degree may help you advance to higher-earning positions more quickly. Earning a Bachelor's Degree in cardiovascular technology can take 4 years to complete. People that have earned their Bachelor's Degree typically make $97,185 compared to $39,823 for those without that type of degree.

Seniority Levels

L2

Respiratory Therapist

8+Years of Experience
No Salary Reports
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L3

Senior Respiratory Therapist

2 - 4Years of Experience
No Salary Reports
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L4

Respiratory Therapist IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
No Salary Reports
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Salary Trajectory

Respiratory Therapist Career Path

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L2
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Seniority Levels

Related careers in the Healthcare Industry

Interested in other Healthcare careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Respiratory Therapist skills. Discover some of the most common Respiratory Therapist career transitions, along with skills overlap.