Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists are health care professionals who under the guidance and supervision of doctors specialize in assessing treating and monitoring patients who have breathing difficulties. They treat patients of all ages including premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed older adults with various types of heart and lung problems and patients of all ages who suffer from asthma or other breathing ailments. In addition to performing tests of lung capacity they may also conduct electrocardiograms and stress tests. To assist the patients with breathing they administer various medications and use equipment such as mechanical ventilators while monitoring the patient’s physiological responses and blood oxygen levels to insure the effectiveness of the treatment. They are responsible for keeping accurate records in the patient’s chart regarding the treatment administered and the patient’s progress. The website says that respiratory therapists work in hospitals in clinics in medical helicopters and in ambulances. Sometimes they make home visits to help patients with breathing exercises or to fix problems with breathing equipment. The website says that respiratory therapists must have a high school diploma followed by an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in an accredited respiratory therapy program. Respiratory therapy programs cover subjects such as chemistry physics mathematics and psychology. In order to be employed they must be licensed as a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). Some respiratory therapists earn a master’s or even a doctoral degree which case they may qualify for managerial positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics respiratory therapy is a growing field. Annual salaries for respiratory therapists range from $35000 to $65000.

Education Required: Associate's Degree
Avg Salary: $50000
High Salary: $65000
Low Salary: $35000
Tasks: Administers medications that help patients breathe.
Evaluates the results of breathing tests.
Tests patients' lung capacity.
Checks concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
Also Called: Respiratory Health Care Professional
Certified Respiratory Therapist
Registered Respiratory Therapist
Breathing Therapist
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