When it comes to health, there’s nothing more fundamental than breathing. Respiratory therapists support all aspects of patients’ breathing and lung functions. Respiratory therapists work with patients to make sure they are breathing as comfortably as possible and receiving adequate oxygen… whether patients have a chronic lung disease… underdeveloped lungs at birth… or are recovering from trauma such as a heart attack or near-drowning. Respiratory therapists monitor and perform tests to assess patients’ lung capacity, and assist with treatments such as nebulizers -- devices that administer medications into the lungs. They also assist with placement of breathing tubes and with drawing arterial blood to assess patient oxygen levels. Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals. There, much of their time is spent operating mechanical ventilators for patients with breathing tubes. They also work in long-term care facilities. These healthcare professionals generally work full time, and may work evenings, weekends, and serve on call. Respiratory therapists generally need at least an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy, and a license to practice. Some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree.
What they do:
Provide respiratory care under the direction of respiratory therapists and physicians.
On the job, you would:
Work with patients in areas such as the emergency rooms, neonatal or pediatric intensive care, or surgical intensive care, treating conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, cystic fibrosis, or pneumonia.
Monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist.
Keep records of patients' therapy, completing all necessary forms.
medicine and dentistry
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
looking for ways to help people
understanding people's reactions
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
listen and understand what people say
communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
quickly know what you are looking at
Hand and Finger Use
keep your arm or hand steady
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Omnicare Cypress Therapy Management
Patient electronic medical record EMR software
Electronic mail software
associate's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.