Respiratory Therapist

Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.

Job Outlook through 2026

Employment Current: 5,430
Employment Projected: 6,780
Percentage Change: 24.9%

Education/Training

Vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Sample Job Titles

  • Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Respiratory Therapist
  • Cardiopulmonary Technician and EEG Tech (Cardiopulmonary Technician and Electroencephalogram Technician)
  • Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT)
  • Clinical Coordinator of Respiratory Therapy
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP)
  • Respiratory Therapist (RT)
  • Respiratory Therapy Director
  • Staff Respiratory Therapist
  • Staff Therapist

Duties

  • Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, or blood chemistry changes, and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur
  • Set up and operate devices, such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, or aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment
  • Work as part of a team of physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals to manage patient care by assisting with medical procedures or related duties
  • Maintain charts that contain patients' pertinent identification and therapy information

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making

Average Wages in PA

Entry Level: $45,430
Average: $59,200
Experienced: $66,080