Respiratory Therapist Career Guide

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Respiratory therapists (RTs) play a critical role on healthcare teams, whether responding to emergencies in the trauma unit, caring for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or working in pulmonary rehabilitation. If performing life-saving procedures sounds appealing, you might be well-suited for an RT career.

Respiratory therapists evaluate, care for and educate patients of all ages with lung and breathing disorders.


Aspiring RTs must complete a degree at an accredited respiratory therapy education program. To ensure you qualify to take the national certification exam, confirm that it has accreditations from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

The CoARC evaluates programs to ensure they meet quality standards. As of mid-March 2023, prospective students could choose from more than 400 accredited college and


A stethoscope held in one hand

Related certifications

Once you complete an accredited program, it’s time to earn your national respiratory therapy credential to demonstrate your qualifications. There are two certifications available through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC):

  • Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) is an entry-level certification

  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) is an advanced certification

All candidates start with the Therapist Multiple-Choice Exam (TMC), which consists of 160


Respiratory therapists work as part of multidisciplinary teams in fast-paced environments. Some of the diverse skills you need to perform the job well include:

  • Ability to work calmly in high-pressure settings

  • Critical thinking skills to assess situations and make decisions

  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills

  • Excellent organizational abilities and attention to detail

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to work with colleagues and patients

  • Patience, empathy and listening skills

  • Ability

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Respiratory therapists are crucial in providing respiratory care and support to patients with breathing disorders. Specific job responsibilities of a respiratory therapist include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Assessing and Diagnosing: Respiratory therapists evaluate patients with breathing difficulties, assessing their lung capacity, oxygen levels and overall respiratory function. They use diagnostic tools and tests to determine the nature and severity

Salary Insights

Compare your pay with the most up-to-date job market data using our comprehensive salary calculator.
Respiratory Therapist

The average salary for a Respiratory Therapist is $1,876.97 per week.

Last updated on April 18, 2024. Based on active jobs on

Pros & Cons

A respiratory therapy career can be professionally and personally rewarding. The following outlines some pros of this allied health profession.

Respiratory Therapy Is a Fast-Growing Field: Current and prospective RTs can look forward to a strong job market with increased demand for respiratory services and treatment in the coming years. The BLS forecasts a 14% growth in RT jobs in the United

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Respiratory Therapist Jobs

View job details for Travel Respiratory Therapist
Travel Contract

Travel Respiratory Therapist

  • Brunswick, ME
  • ARMStaffing
  • 5x8 hrs, Days


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Travel Contract

Travel Respiratory Therapist

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • Planet Healthcare
  • 5x8 hrs, Evenings, Nights
  • Referral Bonus


Posted 8 days ago
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Travel Contract

Travel Respiratory Therapist

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • RTG Medical-Allied
  • 4x12 hrs


Posted 2 days ago
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Travel Respiratory Therapist

  • Madison, WI
  • Coast Medical Service
  • 3x12 hrs, Nights


Posted 5 days ago

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