What is a Respiratory Therapist? [Nurse or Doctor]

Anyone interested in making a career as a respiratory therapist, this post is for them. To become a respiratory therapist, one must undergo specialized training and education, including completing an accredited college or university program. After acquiring a relevant degree, you must pass an examination administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) to get your license. This post will provide detailed information about respiratory therapists.

What is Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory Therapists are healthcare specialists who specialize in treating and managing respiratory illnesses. They work with patients to diagnose, evaluate and treat breathing disorders. They also provide education on lifestyle changes that may improve patient’s condition, such as quitting smoking or avoiding dust and allergens.

What Therapies Do Respiratory Therapists Use?

Respiratory Therapists may use a variety of therapies, including oxygen therapy, inhalation treatments, ventilators, and pulmonary rehabilitation. Respiratory Therapy careers have excellent job prospects and salaries, which can be enhanced by certification or degree. Respiratory Therapists may also qualify for pension benefits after years of dedicated service. With a combination of knowledge, skills, and compassion, Respiratory Therapists can positively impact their patients’ lives.

Is A Respiratory Therapist a Doctor?

No, a respiratory therapist is not a doctor. A respiratory therapist is a healthcare professional with the knowledge and skills to treat individuals with breathing disorders. Physicians supervise the care provided by respiratory therapists. Respiratory therapists work closely with physicians to assess, diagnose, develop treatment plans, and monitor patients’ progress. They may also educate patients and make necessary lifestyle changes to improve their condition.

Is A Respiratory Therapist a Nurse?

No, a respiratory therapist is not a nurse. A respiratory therapist is an allied health expert specializing in treating and managing respiratory illnesses. While both professions share some similarities, such as providing patient education and monitoring vital signs, nurses have different roles and responsibilities than respiratory therapists. Nurses are accountable for providing direct patient care and administering medications while respiratory.

Job Outlook for a Respiratory Therapist

Yes, respiratory therapists are in demand in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tosses a job expansion rate of 21 percent from 2019 to 2029 for respiratory therapists, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This boost is expected due to an aging population and increased prevalence of chronic lung diseases such as COPD and asthma.

How Much is a Respiratory Therapist Paid in the US?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for respiratory therapists is $61,330 as of May 2019. The most down 10 percent made less than $45,890, and the highest 10 percent made more than $85,990 in the same year. Salaries can vary depending on experience, place, and other factors. Respiratory therapists with certifications or degrees may command increased wages due to their advanced knowledge and skills.

How do I Become a Respiratory Therapist?

Educational Qualification

To become a respiratory therapist in the United States, you must have an associate degree. Most states also require breathing therapists to be licensed or certified. You must qualify National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) exam to become licensed. You may also earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in respiratory therapy, which can advance your career and increase your earning potential.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Knowledge of treatments, medications, and equipment used to diagnose and treat respiratory illnesses
  • Ability to assess patient’s condition and interpret test results
  • Excellent communication skills and compassion for patients
  • Knowledge of regulatory requirements and standards in the field
  • Ability to operate in a team environment with other healthcare professionals
  • Proficiency in operating medical equipment and monitoring devices
  • Ability to provide patient education on breathing techniques and lifestyle changes.
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills.

Experience Requirements

In addition to educational qualifications, gaining experience can help you succeed as a respiratory therapist. You may gain clinical experience by completing an internship or residency program in a clinical setting. Internships allow you to gain hands-on experience and become familiar with the day-to-day duties of a respiratory therapist. This experience would also help you stand out when applying for jobs.


What state pays respiratory therapists the most?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary of a respiratory therapist is $ 70,540. Other states that pay respiratory therapists the highest annual mean wages include Alaska ($ 88,490), California ($96,150), the District of Columbia ($ 86,250), New Jersey ($ 94,440), and Hawaii ($79,160).

Are there certifications for respiratory therapists?

Yes, several certifications are available for respiratory therapists in the United States. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers several credentials that must be maintained continuously for the respiratory therapist to remain certified. These certifications include Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT), and Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C).

What are the best cities for respiratory therapists?

The best cities to work as a respiratory therapist depend on your preferences. Some cities with higher concentrations of respiratory therapy jobs include Los Angeles, California; Denver, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; and Houston, Texas.

Final Thoughts

Respiratory therapy is an essential healthcare field requiring specialized education and training. All the vital details have been explained in the post very well. So, with the right qualifications and experience, you can find rewarding career opportunities as a respiratory therapist with high earning potential in many cities across the United States.

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