Respiratory therapists are certified medical professionals who treat problems with your lungs or breathing. They’re not doctors. But they work closely with your doctors to diagnose and monitor your condition.
Job Market: The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030. The average growth rate 23% (Much faster than average).
Base Salary: $62,810 per year $30.20 per hour
Respiratory therapists need at least an associate’s degree, but employers may prefer applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Educational programs are offered by colleges and universities, vocational–technical institutes, and the Armed Forces. Completion of a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care may be required for licensure.
High school students interested in applying to respiratory therapy programs should take courses in health, biology, math, chemistry, and physics.
Preparation Outside the Classroom
Respiratory therapy programs typically include courses in human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, pharmacology, and math. Other courses deal with therapeutic and diagnostic procedures and tests, equipment, patient assessment, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In addition to coursework, programs have clinical components that allow students to gain supervised, practical experience in treating patients
The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) is the main certifying body for respiratory therapists. The Board offers two levels of certification: Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).
- Is health care right for you? Visit https://explorehealthcareers.org/career/allied-health-professions/respiratory-therapist/
- Occupational Outlook Handbook