How to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists are an essential part of the healthcare team who monitor, assess, educate and formulate treatment strategies for patients suffering from a chronic illness, such as asthma or emphysema.

They also aid patients who require help breathing, for example, newborn babies or those who’ve suffered an attack of the heart.

A respiratory therapist should comprehend how the cardiopulmonary system functions and be aware of the variety of treatments available and the current technology.

Alongside gaining the required skills, there are some steps to follow to pursue a career in this field. This article will look at how you can become a respiratory therapist and what they do.

What is an occupational therapist in the field of respiratory therapy do?

A respiratory therapist is a healthcare professional trainee in pulmonary medicine. They work in a variety of clinical settings.

The day-to-day work for respiratory therapy can comprise the following duties:

The assessment of patients and the diagnosis of breathing and lung disorders

Conducting physical examinations on the chest for help in diagnosing

Consulting patients to learn about their lives and what difficulties they’re experiencing

Making treatment plans, which include therapy and medication

They are working together with the other healthcare professionals to suggest any necessary changes to treatment after a patient’s evaluation.

We utilize specialized equipment to measure the concentrations of other gasses and oxygen present in breath samples, blood, or in the blood.

Assisting and managing patients using artificial respirators like ventilators

I responded to emergencies for patients and coordinated and initiated life support during transport and when in the emergency department.

Respiratory Therapists help the patients and their family members comprehend their medical conditions and help them learn about their ailments and treatments and lifestyle choices that can help make their lives better.

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist
How to become a Respiratory therapist |

Average salary of Respiratory therapists

A respiratory therapist usually is part of a team of health professionals. They may work in hospitals’ respiratory or pulmonary care departments or nursing facilities. The variables that influence the pay of respiratory therapists are knowledge, experience, education, and the area and size of the company.

The average pays for the U.S.: $32.97 per hour.

Salary ranges between $15.85 up to $56.15 per hour.

How do you become a respiratory therapy?

Respiratory therapy requires a broad range of qualifications and a thorough training program to ensure that you can provide your patients with the knowledge and expertise they need.

These are the steps to follow to start your profession as a caretaker.

1) Incorporate yourself into either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree course
2) Work on developing relevant soft skills
3) Take the credentialing exam.
4) You must obtain a license to work in the field of respiratory therapy in your state.
5) Ensure you have your resume and introductory letter.
6) Earn certifications

1. Incorporate yourself into the bachelor’s degree or an associate program.

To become a respiratory therapist, it is necessary to earn either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in respiratory care. Be sure the program is recognized through the Commission for Accreditation of Respiratory Care. You can start your career in the field with an associate’s degree. Still, employers tend to employ candidates with an undergraduate degree because they possess a more profound knowledge of the subject. If you require assistance in choosing a school or university, you can contact the American Association of Respiratory Care to list recommended courses.

There are didactic classroom classes, laboratory sessions, and hands-on clinical experience designed to provide an in-depth understanding of respiratory health care for both levels. The subjects taught could include:

  • Human anatomy
  • Cardiopulmonary physiology
  • Adult, neonatal, and pediatric respiratory medical
  • The clinical applications of care
  • Diagnostic and treatment procedures
  • Methods for artificial ventilation
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • The biochemical theory of respiratory health

You’ll learn how to maintain good respiratory health as well as how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses.

2. Work on developing relevant soft skills

A respiratory therapist is in close contact with patients and has a solid education. You’ll also require the right soft skills to ensure that you can give your patients the highest quality treatment. While studying, focus on developing the following soft skills necessary for a respiratory therapist.

Thinking critically

It is an essential skill since you need to accurately evaluate all the data you can gather about the patient. Utilize your critical thinking abilities to assess the situation accurately, and then choose the appropriate course of action. This could include a treatment strategy, therapy, or even an emergency ventilator. You must assess the patient’s priorities and develop an informed diagnosis. In an emergency, the patient’s well-being and health may depend on your judgment.


Patients you interact with may suffer from significant stress, especially if they’re experiencing breathing difficulties. Even if your health is good, you need to be aware of how they feel about the present situation and communicate with the patient respectfully. Your goal is to give your patient the highest quality of care you can provide and ensure that they leave your appointment with a better feeling than before. It is essential to show empathy to ensure you give this kind of treatment.


oriented If you’re a respiration therapy professional, you’ll likely utilize complex equipment and tiny measurements. You need to accurately administer the dosage of oxygen or medication the patient requires. You must follow specific treatment plans those multiple individuals could develop, and you need to make sure that all details are observed consistently.

Active listening

Highly successful respiratory therapists ensure that they listen to their clients and note even the smallest specifics. You should ask the appropriate questions and be attentive to the patient or their family’s responses. As a healthcare team member, you will receive details from different people that you need to pay attention to and take action on to ensure that patients receive the needed care and treatments.

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist
How to Become a Respiratory Therapist |

3. Pass the credentialing test

The American Association for Respiratory Care provides the Therapist Multiple-Choice certification exam. You can earn two different accreditations: the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).

The simplest credentials are given to those with the lowest cut-off scores. If you can pass the test and get an excellent score, you will be awarded the CRT credential. You can then be able to take the Clinical Simulation Examination. The success in this exam signifies that you will be registered as a Respiratory Therapist. The RRT designation means that you will be acknowledged as having achieved a high-quality level.

4. Get a certificate to work in the field of respiratory therapy within your state.

If you want to work as a respiratory therapist, you require a state-issued license. This applies to all states, except for Alaska, looking into their requirements. There is a wide range of variations between states, and it is essential to check the needs of your condition. Certain states require biannual renewals, while some require it every two years. It is important to note that continuing education requirements differ, beginning at the minimum number of hours needed and increasing up to 30 hours.

5. Make sure you have your resume and cover letter.

Your resume must showcase your skills to employers. A professional resume and cover letter can determine whether or not you get an interview. Think about your education, your soft skills, and the relevant experience. Include everything on your resume to make your profile stand out and make you the top possible candidate.

Explore job openings on the internet and in specialist industry magazines to locate suitable jobs and find precisely what employers are searching for. Make sure your resume and application are tailored to fit each assignment you submit.

6. Earn certifications

After you’ve been working in the field of respiratory therapy for some time, you might be interested in adding an official certification to your collection of credentials. The American Association for Respiratory Care offers many specializations. They aren’t legally mandatory, but they demonstrate your standing as a dynamic professional looking to advance in their profession. Employers may require specific certifications if you are in a highly specialized area. Some of the available certificates include:

Lang-Term Care The certification was created for respiratory therapists who worked in a long-term care center or rehabilitation center or have worked with chronic illness patients in a different setting.

Neonatal Pediatrics If you’ve worked with children or young babies, then you can take this course to earn the certification. This specialty focuses on the field of neonatal respiratory health, usually with premature babies that require assistance with breathing. It could be that you are helping babies born with lung problems or providing urgent care in emergency circumstances.

Surface and Air Transport: When there is an emergency and patients require to be taken to the emergency room in the hospital, The respiratory therapist takes care of patients in the ambulance or helicopter. They collaborate with the medical doctor or medical emergency technician to ensure that the patient is breathing and alive. This certificate identifies your status as an RT capable of providing breathing therapy in the case of an emergency.