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Respiratory Therapists and Technicians

Overview

Respiratory therapists, also known as respiratory care practitioners, evaluate, treat, and care for patients with deficiencies or abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary (heart/lung) system by either providing temporary relief from chronic ailments or administering emergency care where life is threatened. They are involved with the supervision of other respiratory care workers in their area of treatment. Respiratory technicians have many of the same responsibilities as therapists; however, technicians do not supervise other respiratory care workers.

Working under a physician's direction, these workers set up and operate respirators, mechanical ventilators, and other devices. They monitor the functioning of the equipment and the patients' response to the therapy and maintain the patient's charts. They also assist patients with breathing exercises, and inspect, test, and order repairs for respiratory therapy equipment. They may demonstrate procedures to trainees and other health care personnel. Approximately 130,700 respiratory therapy workers are employed in the United States.

Salary Range

$25,000 to $100,000

Minimum Education Level

Associate's Degree

Certification/License

Required

Outlook

Faster than the Average
Personality Traits

Outgoing

Social

Technical

Career Ladder
Department Manager or Professor

Chief Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory Technician

Respiratory Assistant

Related Professions