What Does a Respiratory Health Therapist Do?

Choosing the right career is extremely important. For those interested in the health field, becoming a respiratory health therapist is a great option. Also known as a cardiorespiratory therapist, this career focuses on providing patients with respiratory solutions and more. To ensure that you are making the right choice, below is an overview of the job, the necessary skills to flourish in it, and how you can attain the credentials to become this type of therapist.

Career Overview

According to U.S. News & World Report, the job of a respiratory therapist (RT) is to treat patients that have an array of respiratory issues. An RT is responsible to assess the problem, prevent further damage, and treat the dysfunction that is occurring in the patient’s breathing system. To perform their job, therapists utilize their education and biomedical technology. The types of individuals that RT’s mainly treat are those that have asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and other medical problems.
Aside from helping diagnose, treat, educate, and prevent respiratory problems among individuals, RT’s are also responsible with keeping up with the latest advancements in treatment and technology. As healthcare evolves, RT’s are charged with staying on top of technology and understanding the newest ways to help patients.

Skills Needed

As with every career you choose, it is vital that your choice suites your skill set. When it comes to being an RT, there are certain skills that are essential. For example, RT’s must have critical thinking skills, an ability to assess evidence based cases, an ability to develop care plans, disease management skills, and superior patient care. Once you reach the more advanced level of this career, you are also charged with decision-making and patient education.


According to Education Portal, there are several routes to becoming an RT. Some individuals can opt for quick access to this career by taking a 2-3 year community college degree option that will certify them to become an RT. On the other hand, for those that choose a bachelor’s degree, they will find that there is a broader selection of jobs and the hiring process is not as strenuous (for more information, please visit: Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science). In addition to undergraduate degree options, for those that want to climb up the career ladder in this field and truly challenge themselves, there is a Master’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy. With a master’s degree, you can increase your salary from the entry level of $40,000 – $55,000 per year to $75,000 per year. In addition, you can also enjoy greater responsibility and leadership opportunities. Aside from the formal education, it is also necessary for RT’s to take certification exams. The entry-level exam is the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) test and the advanced exam is the Registry Examination System (RRT) test.


Overall, the career of a respiratory therapist is a great option for those interested in the medical field. Upon completing the educational requirements, you’ll be able to find yourself working to help patients regain their quality of life by assessing, diagnosing, treating, and preventing their respiratory problems.