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Respiratory Therapy is:

  • a career
  • an exciting, stimulating profession
  • for those individuals who enjoy working with people and helping others
  • direct one-on-one patient contact
  • employed in diagnosis, treatment, management, preventive care and rehabilitation of patients with cardiopulmonary problems
  • caring for patients with asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, respiratory distress, croup, bronchitis, cardiac failure, respiratory failure and more
  • use of medical gases, humidification, aerosols, mechanical ventilation, airways, chest physiotherapy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, pulmonary function testing and more
  • a promising future

If you are seeking a health career which features a fast-paced and expanding medical environment where your technical knowledge and abilities coupled with your interpersonal relations skills can be applied to patients in direct, one-on-one encounters, the respiratory therapy profession may be for you. Respiratory therapy is a health specialty instrumental in the diagnosis, treatment, management, and preventive care of patients with cardiopulmonary problems. These problems include asthma, pulmonary emphysema, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, respiratory distress of the adult and newborn, croup, bronchitis, cardiac failure, cerebral thrombosis, drowning, hemorrhage and shock.

The respiratory therapist must be proficient in the therapeutic use of such aids to the cardiopulmonary system as medical gases, humidification, aerosols, mechanical ventilation, mechanical airways, chest physiotherapy and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Pulmonary function testing, arterial blood gas analysis and other diagnostic techniques are employed to assist the physician in the management of patient care.

RT Occupational Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 9,400 openings for respiratory therapists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $70,540 in May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.