What does a Respiratory Therapist do?

Respiratory therapists help patients who have trouble breathing by providing general and emergency respiratory therapy. This entails assessing patients by performing diagnostic tests and evaluations, treating patients, and tracking progress. Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities.

Respiratory therapists must have an associate's degree in respiratory therapy from an accredited respiratory program and be licensed as a Registered Respiratory Therapist. To become licensed, they must pass a national certification exam and complete any additional licensure requirements, as determined by the state of practice. The best respiratory therapists are compassionate, possess great interpersonal skills, and have a strong grasp on anaomy and physiology.

What responsibilities are common for Respiratory Therapist jobs?
  • Perform assessments and diagnostic procedures to determine patient treatment needs
  • Make recommendations for respiratory care and treatment
  • Perform treatment procedures according to patient needs
  • Modify care plan based on patient progress and treatment effectiveness
  • Operate, maintain, and repair respiratory equipment to ensure proper functioning, cleanliness, and operation
  • Comply with all outlined safety and health standards
  • Document patient's respiratory care
  • Educate the patient, family, and team on respiratory problems and treatment
What are the typical qualifications for Respiratory Therapist jobs?
  • associate's Degree in Respiratory Care from an accredited respiratory care program
  • Current Registered Respiratory Therapist license in state of practice
  • 1 year of experience in respiratory therapy
  • Working knowledge of respiratory equipment and medical supplies
  • Strong leadership skills and a professional attitude
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to manage the emotional stress of working with and caring for terminally ill patients/families
  • Familiar with safety and confidentiality standards
  • Comfortable working independently
EducationAssociate's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Respiratory Therapist Salaries

There are no current reports for Respiratory Therapist salaries. You can add additional job titles in your job preferences to see related salary information.

Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Respiratory Therapist Career Path

Learn how to become a Respiratory Therapist, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Respiratory Therapist
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Respiratory Therapist IV
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Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
39%
2 - 4
18%
5 - 7
0%
8+
43%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
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Respiratory Therapist Insights

Read what Respiratory Therapist professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Hyur Staffing ServicesHyur Staffing Services
Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
7 Sept 2021

“I have been with 4 staffing agencies and Cody Rivera has been the best account manager to work with.”

Sutter HealthSutter Health
Respiratory Care Practitioner
26 Apr 2021

“I am not sure how much longer it can remain such a great place to work.”

Baptist Medical Center South (AL)Baptist Medical Center South (AL)
Respiratory Therapist
3 May 2022

“Good team work and clean”

Emanate HealthEmanate Health
Registered Respiratory Therapist
15 Feb 2021

“Friendly staff and I enjoy working here”

Aya HealthcareAya Healthcare
Respiratory Therapist
26 Apr 2022

“Good pay and I personally loved my recruiter”

Mayo ClinicMayo Clinic
Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
6 Jan 2022

“great facility to work and earn experiences”

Callmax SolutionsCallmax Solutions
RRT/RCP
15 Nov 2021

“Providing opportunities to learn and grow in our careers”

MercyMercy
Respiratory Therapist
23 Feb 2021

“Mercy shift pay is great.”

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Respiratory Therapist Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a Respiratory Therapist

When working as a Respiratory Therapist, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, BLS Certification, Critical Thinking, ICU and CPR Certified.

The most similar professions to Respiratory Therapist are:
  • Therapist
  • Outpatient Therapist
  • Mental Health Therapist
  • Behavior Therapist

The most common qualifications to become a Respiratory Therapist is a minimum of a Associate's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.

Related Careers

Therapist
$70,516
No skills overlap
Outpatient Therapist
No skills overlap
Mental Health Therapist
$57,500
No skills overlap
Behavior Therapist
$80,000
13% skills overlap

Respiratory Therapist jobs