Career in respiratory therapy

What to know before looking at a career in respiratory therapy

If you are looking for a career to jump into, a career as a respiratory therapist can be financially rewarding and provide you with a strong sense of accomplishment. Like many healthcare professions, working as a respiratory therapist can also be demanding. The following factors should be understood before seeking a career in respiratory therapy.

Job duties

Respiratory therapists are specialists at diagnosing and treating ailments pertaining to the lungs, breathing, and the oesophagus. They conduct tests to measure the functioning capacity of a patient’s lungs and often use oxygen tanks to help patients with difficulty breathing. Respiratory therapists also make sure oxygen levels in a patient’s blood do not fall too low.

Work environment

Respiratory therapists perform their job duties in a number of settings that may include hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. The majority of their work is performed in hospitals where they often work long shifts to care for patients. Hospitals never close, so it is often necessary to work a varied schedule that can include nights and weekends.


The minimum educational requirements for becoming a respiratory therapist is an a medical degree.

After getting a degree, applicants will need further training to receive licencing as a certified respiratory therapist. There are also further exams that will provide a higher certification as a registered respiratory therapist.

Job outlook

Government agencies have reported that employment opportunities for respiratory therapists are expected to increase by 19 percent by the year 2022. The rate of job growth in the industry is faster than the median rate of job growth for all industries. The continued growth of the middle-aged and elderly populations will allow for this job growth to continue.

Qualities of a respiratory therapist

The job duties of a respiratory therapist will require them to exhibit a number of qualities that include:

  • Being attentive to details
  • Having the ability to keep organised records
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Being a team player
  • Being compassionate
  • Being patient
  • Having the ability to work under pressure

The respiratory therapist career has a lot to offer those who are interested in the healthcare field. This career path is a demanding one that requires both knowledge and patience to endure. Individuals who think they might be interested in a career as a respiratory therapist should be aware of the benefits and challenges before working toward this goal.

What advice do you have for people looking at a career in respiratory therapy? Let us know in the comments below.

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