How to Become a Respiratory Therapist: A Career Guide (2023)

It can be argued that nothing is more important than breath. Which is why so many are drawn to a career as a respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists help patients breathe better, taking care of patients suffering from chronic or acute illnesses like asthma or pneumonia.

Learn how to become a respiratory therapist, what to look for in respiratory therapy training, and more about this exciting health care career.

Why Become a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory therapists work in a variety of medical settings helping patients work on breathing problems.1

According to the BLS, as middle-age and older populations age, there will likely be an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other disorders that can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function. Additionally, as hospitals continue to fight to lower readmission rates, there may be greater demand for respiratory therapists in outpatient settings such as nursing homes and doctor’s offices.

Overall, the advances in medicine in preventing and detecting disease, improved medications, and more sophisticated treatments will also increase the demand for respiratory therapists. Also, as smoking, pollution, and respiratory illnesses continue to be prevalent, there should be more demand for therapists to treat these issues, according to the BLS.

Start Your Career as a Respiratory Therapist

Carrington College focuses on small class sizes and hands-on training. Here you’re more than a face in a room. Take the first step on your way to a new career in respiratory therapy.

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(Video) Career Day: Being a Respiratory Therapist

What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?

Respiratory therapists care for those who have trouble breathing. Some of the most common chronic respiratory illnesses are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, occupational lung diseases and pulmonary hypertension. According to the World Health Organization’s most recent data, more than 339 million people had asthma globally4 and there were 251 million cases of COPD globally in 2016.5

Respiratory therapists work with common respiratory patients like those described above, as well as everyone from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients who have diseased lungs. Respiratory therapists also provide emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks, drowning, or shock, according to the BLS.6

Some common job duties of a respiratory therapist include:

  • Interviewing and examining patients with breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders
  • Consulting with physicians to develop patient treatment plans
  • Performing diagnostic tests, such as measuring lung capacity
  • Treating patients by using a variety of methods, including chest physiotherapy and aerosol medications
  • Monitoring and recording patients’ progress
  • Teaching patients how to take medications and use equipment, such as ventilators

Respiratory therapists use a variety of tools to measure lung capacity, as well as bloodwork to determine oxygen levels. They also can provide physiotherapy on patients to remove mucus from their lungs and make it easier for them to breathe. Removing mucus is necessary for patients suffering from lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, and involves the therapist vibrating the patient’s rib cage, often by tapping the patient’s chest while the patient coughs.

Where Do Respiratory Therapists Work?

Respiratory therapists can work in a variety of medical settings. While the BLS reports that 82% of respiratory therapists worked in either state, local or private hospitals,8 they are not limited to there.

According to the American Association of Respiratory Care, respiratory therapists can be found in:9

  • Intensive care units
  • Emergency rooms
  • Newborn and pediatric units
  • Operating rooms and surgical suites
  • In-home care settings
  • Sleep laboratories
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Asthma education programs
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Skilled nursing facilities

All of these settings will see respiratory therapists working to help people breathe easier, through lifesaving procedures like ventilation or everyday pulmonary therapy.

Skills for Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapy is a skilled industry. There are many technical abilities you will need to learn to pursue this career, including physiotherapy and other respiratory treatments. Those skills can be learned at various Respiratory Care programs. There are, however, so-called “soft skills” and traits that may make one more suited for a career in respiratory therapy. According to O*NET, these can include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns.
(Video) Respiratory Therapist Salary | Respiratory Therapist Job Overview, Education Requirements

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Unlike some more accessible medical fields that can allow entry-level employees to learn on the job, respiratory therapy requires a degree from an accredited institution. Here’s how to become a respiratory therapist:

  1. Obtain an associate’s degree. The respiratory therapy school you attend should be accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  2. Obtain your RRT certification.CRTs who want to advance their career can pursue registered respiratory therapist status by passing an exam. Depending on where you live and work, an RRT certification may be required to obtain licensure or find employment.
  3. Gain experience. Working as a respiratory technician can give you hands-on experience. Some states require continuing education before licensure.
  4. Pass a certifying exam. Some states may require that you be a certified respiratory therapist, which requires a multiple choice exam through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
  5. Obtain licensure. All states except for Alaska require RTs to be licensed. There are various state licensure boards and committees. Check with the state in which you would like to work.
  6. Stay up-to-date with licensure. While all states (except Alaska) have different requirements, most require you to renew your license
  7. Obtain your RRT certification. CRTs who want to advance their career can pursue registered respiratory therapist status by passing an exam.
  8. Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT). The next level of career for respiratory therapists is to obtain a BSRT.

It’s important to note that all 49 states that regulate the practice of respiratory care use the NBRC CRT or RRT credential as the basis for state licensure.9

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist: A Career Guide (1)

Discover Your Career as a Respiratory Therapist

Carrington College’s Respiratory Care Program offers you the hands-on training you need for a job in respiratory therapy. Take the first step on your way to a new career.

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(Video) Meet the Experts: A Career in Respiratory Therapy

Different Levels of Respiratory Therapy Certification

The National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers a number of different certifications for respiratory therapists. These certifications may affect state licensure requirements.

Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) Requirements

A Certified Respiratory Therapist is the lowest level of certification by the NBRC. To be eligible for CRT certification you must:10

  • Be 18 or older
  • Be a graduate of and have a minimum of an associate degree from a respiratory therapy education program supported or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Requirements

The RRT designation is nationally recognized as the standard of care for respiratory therapists. To qualify for RRT certification you must:11

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • AND be a graduate of and have a minimum of an associate degree from a respiratory therapy education program supported or accredited by CoARC
  • OR be a CRT for at least four years prior to applying for the examinations associated with the RRT credential. Additionally you must meet some education requirements that include certain classes but not a CoARC accredited associate degree.
  • OR be a CRT for at least two years prior to applying for the examinations associated with the RRT credential. In addition, the applicant shall have earned a minimum of an associate degree from an accredited entry-level respiratory care education program.
  • OR be a CRT for at least two years prior to applying for the examinations associated with the RRT credential. In addition, the applicant shall have earned a baccalaureate degree in an area other than respiratory care and shall have taken certain courses.
  • OR hold the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) RRT credential.

Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT)

A CPFT designation signals to employers that you are specialized in pulmonary function technology. To become CPFT certified you must:12

  • Have a minimum of an associate degree from a respiratory care education program that is supported or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • OR be a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credentialed by the NBRC.
  • OR Meet education requirements including 62 semester hours of college credit from a college or university accredited by its regional association or its equivalent, and college credit level courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics. Additionally, you must have at least six months of clinical experience in the field of pulmonary function technology.

Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT)

RPFT and CPFTs take the same test and have the same admissions requirements. However, high cuts of scores earn a RPFT designation, where low cuts of scores are CPFTs.13

Certified Respiratory Therapist Specialties

There are also a number of specialized tests and certifications for respiratory therapists that signal to employers that the certified RRT or CRT has special skills in certain areas. These are:14

  • Adult Critical Care Specialty (RRT-ACCS)
  • Neonatal/Pediatric Specialty (RRT-NPS)
  • Sleep Disorders Specialty (CRT/RRT-SDS)

What to Look for in a Respiratory Therapy Training

Choosing the right school to pursue respiratory therapy is a big decision. The right training can open doors for better jobs and possibly salary down the line. While many institutions may offer respiratory therapy degrees, it’s important that you look for the one that fits your goals and lifestyle.

(Video) You NEED TO KNOW THIS BEFORE you're a RESPIRATORY THERAPIST | MY PATH TO PA - Sam Kelly

A few core things to look for when considering Respiratory Care programs include:

  • Small class sizes. When learning to be a Respiratory Therapist you want individual attention from your instructor.
  • Hands-on training. When dealing with tasks like drawing blood and performing physiotherapy, it’s important that you have time to practice those skills hands-on.
  • Externships or career training. Most programs include an opportunity to learn in the real world before you even graduate! You’ll earn an impressive experience that looks great on your resume.
  • Cost. Education is a major investment, but it’s an investment in your future. At Carrington College and many other institutions, we participate in most financial assistance programs, both federal and state, as well as private financing. Student loans, grants, and scholarships are available to those who qualify. For complete information on current tuition costs, please see the academic catalog.

How Long is Respiratory Therapy Training

A typical respiratory therapy degree can be obtained in as few as two years.

What Will I Learn in Respiratory Therapist Training

Most respiratory therapy training programs cover knowledge of anatomy and physiology of cardiac and respiratory systems and biochemical and cellular functions of the human body, as well as knowledge of the general principles of pharmacology and cardiopulmonary drugs including knowledge of indications, doses, calculations, mechanisms of action and adverse effects.

Skills in patient examination, assessment, intervention and treatment planning, especially in relation to the pathophysiology of cardiopulmonary diseases, are a big part of the program. Additionally, knowledge and skills in the principles and applications of emergency medicine, resuscitation equipment, intubation, airway clearance, chest tubes and tracheostomy care should be taught.

Start Training for Your Career in Respiratory Therapy With Carrington College

Carrington College is experienced in turning out highly trained respiratory therapists who should be ready to enter the work world. Carrington College features small class sizes, hands-on training, skills labs and a world-class faculty. Learn more about the Carrington Respiratory Care program.

Carrington’s Respiratory Care Faculty and Students

Carrington College takes a personal approach to preparing graduates for professional success. Our faculty members are experienced and passionate about helping you reach your career goals—whether they involve furthering your healthcare career or changing industries altogether.

With students of different backgrounds and ages, you’ll develop respiratory therapist skills in a robust community. Carrington cares that you’re not just a face in a classroom. Your peers and teachers will know and care about you and your career.

Find Respiratory Therapist Training Near Me

Carrington College’s Respiratory Care program is available at three locations in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Find out if one of our locations is right for you.

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(Video) How to Become a Registered Respiratory Therapist

FAQs

What is the highest degree for respiratory therapist? ›

Respiratory therapists are required to be a graduate and be awarded an associate degree, bachelor's degree, or master's degree from a respiratory therapy education program supported or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

What skills must one possess to be a respiratory therapist? ›

Technical Respiratory Therapist Skills.
  • Administration of oxygen.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Management of mechanical ventilators.
  • Administering drugs to the lungs.
  • Monitoring cardiopulmonary systems.
  • Measuring lung function.
20 May 2019

How much do RTS make in California? ›

How much does a Registered Respiratory Therapist make in California? The average Registered Respiratory Therapist salary in California is $81,810 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $74,329 and $88,935.

What is the highest paying state for respiratory therapist? ›

As you can see, California offers the highest wages for Respiratory Therapists with New York, Hawaii, Nevada, and Massachusetts offering higher salaries on average as well.

How long is schooling for respiratory therapist? ›

The Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BS RT) is a four-year degree program that provides students with an intensive foundation in evaluating, treating, and caring for patients with cardiopulmonary disorders.

Is becoming a respiratory therapist hard? ›

Respiratory therapy school is hard. The schedule is tight. The material is demanding. The skills lab makes you want to vomit…and if that isn't enough, you also have to survive clinical rotations.

Do you have to be good at math to be a respiratory therapist? ›

Science and math skills: Respiratory therapists must be able to calculate the correct dosage of a patient's medicine. In order to do so, they need to be able to understand physiology, anatomy and other sciences. Patience: Respiratory Therapists often see patients who need special attention and care.

Why should I be a respiratory therapist? ›

Respiratory Care is a growing health care field providing a rewarding professional work environment, competitive salaries, opportunities for continued learning, and the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference in the lives of those you have cared for.

What does a respiratory therapist do on a daily basis? ›

Respiratory therapists work under the direction of doctors and treat a range of patients, from premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed to elderly people with lung disease. They give patients oxygen, manage ventilators, and administer drugs to the lungs.

How much does a RT make in California per hour? ›

RRT Salary in California
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$165,250$79
75th Percentile$113,640$55
Average$97,508$47
25th Percentile$61,038$29

How much do RTS make in Hawaii? ›

The average Registered Respiratory Therapist salary in Hawaii is $76,845 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $69,818 and $83,537.

How much do ultrasound techs make in California? ›

The average Ultrasound Technologist II salary in California is $94,465 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $85,552 and $103,607.

What color scrubs do respiratory therapists wear? ›

Different colors of scrubs are typically worn by different medical professionals in order to easily identify their role in the hospital. For example, nurses may be required to wear blue scrubs, while respiratory therapists may have to wear green scrubs.

Is respiratory therapy school harder than nursing? ›

From speaking with medical professionals who have gone through both programs, most claim that nursing school was more challenging (for them) than the respiratory therapy program. Again, this is definitely not always the case. It really depends on your location and the program that you're interested in.

Where do RTS make the most money? ›

California

What can I do after respiratory therapy? ›

Here five career paths for individuals who graduate from respiratory therapy degree programs:
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist, RRT. ...
  • Adult Critical Care Specialty, ACCS. ...
  • Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist, NPS. ...
  • Sleep Disorders Testing and Therapeutic Intervention Respiratory Care Specialist, SDS.
12 Dec 2019

What do respiratory therapists study? ›

Respiratory therapy is the practice of examining patients who are experiencing issues with their breathing. A respiratory therapist is responsible for performing chest exams and creating a treatment plan to resolve problems and illnesses within the lungs.

What is the difference between RRT and CRT? ›

Certified respiratory therapists (CRTs) hold an entry-level certification, while registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) hold a more advanced certification. Aspiring professionals can become either a CRT or RRT credential by completing an accredited respiratory therapy program.

Who makes more money RN or RT? ›

Registered nurses enjoy a higher average pay than respiratory therapists. The breakdown of average annual salary is as follows: Registered Nurses – $68,450. Respiratory Therapists – $58,670.

What is the difference between respiratory care and respiratory therapist? ›

The main difference between the two is in the types of cases they receive. Respiratory care practitioners are likely to see more intense cases, such as chest infections, pneumonia, or even lung cancer. Respiratory therapists tend to see patients with common or manageable conditions, such as acute asthma.

What is it like being an RT? ›

As a respiratory therapist, you will find that you will be on your feet all day long. You will have little downtime. Your job will be labor-intensive and will demand a lot of you not only intellectually but also physically. It will be like working out at the gym on some days.

What percentage of respiratory therapists are female? ›

65.9% of Respiratory therapists are Female, making them the more common sex in the occupation. This chart shows the sex breakdown of Respiratory therapists.

Are respiratory therapists in high demand? ›

Job Outlook

Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 9,400 openings for respiratory therapists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Is respiratory therapy a good career in India? ›

Is the respiratory therapist a good career? Yes, this health care field has a lot to offer to students.

Is respiratory therapy stressful? ›

Respiratory Therapists help and treat heart and lung disease that interferes with breathing. Carrying the stress and responsibility of trying to treat people who are in desperate straits is never easy.

Do respiratory therapists draw blood? ›

Respiratory Therapist Workplaces

Additionally, they perform pulmonary function testing to determine disease state and course of treatment, drawing blood samples and performing chest physiotherapy to remove mucus from the lungs.

Can respiratory therapist become doctor? ›

A respiratory therapist who wants to become a doctor has a long educational road ahead. Her initial educational preparation may make a difference in how quickly she is able to get into medical school, however.

Do Respiratory Therapists intubate? ›

In many institutions, respiratory therapists (RTs) provide intubation in emergencies or elective procedures. The efficacy of RTs performing intubation is well-established, with success rates comparable with those of physicians.

What does a respiratory therapist do in the ICU? ›

Intensive Care Unit:

Respiratory therapists are active partners with ICU physicians and nurses in managing patients with complicated oxygenation and ventilation disorders.

What do you call a breathing doctor? ›

A pulmonologist is a physician who specializes in the respiratory system. From the windpipe to the lungs, if your complaint involves the lungs or any part of the respiratory system, a pulmonologist is the doc you want to solve the problem. Pulmonology is a medical field of study within internal medicine.

How much do radiology techs make? ›

$61,900

How much do nurses make? ›

Nursing Career2019 Mean Salary
Nursing Assistant (CNA)$30,720
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN)$48,500
Registered Nurse (RN)$77,460
Nurse Practitioners (NP)$111,840
3 more rows

How much do physical therapists make an hour? ›

How much does a Physical Therapist make? As of Oct 18, 2022, the average hourly pay for a Physical Therapist in the United States is $44.23 an hour.

Do you need a respiratory license in Hawaii? ›

DEFINITIONS No person shall practice as a respiratory therapist in this State unless the person is appropriately licensed.

How long is ultrasound tech school? ›

The Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography is the most common method and takes approximately 24 months. A Bachelor of Science program will take approximately four years to complete.

What is the highest paid job in California? ›

Surgeon

How much do MRI techs make in California? ›

The average salary for a mri technologist in California is $92,500 per year. Mri technologist salaries in California can vary between $24,000 to $164,500 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.

What do GREY scrubs mean? ›

Sometimes it's not to separate specialties, but professions: doctors wear a dark blue, while nurses wear a softer blue, surgeons wear green, receptionists wear gray, technicians wear maroon, and so on.

What do black scrubs mean? ›

Black. A very bold and powerful color choice, the black scrubs meaning as seen above is consistent with strength, sophistication, and elegance. By wearing black scrubs, a feeling of formality is part of your presentation.

What do purple scrubs mean? ›

Purple: This color is most closely associated with royalty, but some consider it to be less professional than other colors. For that reason, purple is a popular choice for medical staff who work with children.

Do RRT make more than CRT? ›

Traveling CRT salary offers can vary, but most pay around $25 to $32 per hour. The pay scale for RRT positions will often fall in the $33 to $37 per hour range, providing a decent wage increase for those who decide to advance their credentials.

Can nurses give breathing treatments? ›

If you have recently had surgery and are recovering in the hospital, you may be receiving breathing treatments from respiratory therapists or nurses. Breathing treatments are done for a variety of reasons, as they can be used to treat a disease that is present, calm inflamed airways or to prevent breathing issues.

What do pulmonary nurses do? ›

Pulmonary nursing is a specialty focused on the care and treatment of patients with lung disease or respiratory conditions such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, tuberculosis, and lung cancer.

Can respiratory therapist make six figures? ›

How much does a Registered Respiratory Therapist make in California? The average Registered Respiratory Therapist salary in California is $81,810 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $74,329 and $88,935.

What is the best state to be a respiratory therapist? ›

Medical technician and business are the most common majors for people with jobs as respiratory therapists. A respiratory therapist will most commonly be promoted to respiratory care practitioner.
...
1. California.
Total Respiratory Therapist Jobs:4,171
Lowest 10 Percent Earn:$46,000
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$126,000
2 more rows
6 Apr 2021

What is the highest paid respiratory therapist? ›

As you can see, California offers the highest wages for Respiratory Therapists with New York, Hawaii, Nevada, and Massachusetts offering higher salaries on average as well.
...
Highest Paying States to Work as a Respiratory Therapist:
StateAverage Salary
California$85,620
New York$80,400
Hawaii$77,310
Nevada$75,670
1 more row
5 days ago

What is Bachelor of respiratory therapy? ›

B.Sc. Respiratory Therapy or Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy is a 3-year undergraduate course which is a branch of Biology course. The objective of this course is to train students in the methodologies and process of analyzing, treating, and carrying out the diagnostic checks.

What is RCP in respiratory? ›

Licensed Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCPs) regularly perform critical lifesaving and life support procedures prescribed by physicians that directly affect major organs of the body. RCPs provide care directly to the patient in either a hospital setting or the patient's home.

Is respiratory therapist a doctor? ›

Respiratory therapists are certified medical professionals who treat problems with your lungs or breathing. They're not doctors.

Do Respiratory Therapists intubate? ›

In many institutions, respiratory therapists (RTs) provide intubation in emergencies or elective procedures. The efficacy of RTs performing intubation is well-established, with success rates comparable with those of physicians.

What can I do after respiratory therapy? ›

Here five career paths for individuals who graduate from respiratory therapy degree programs:
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist, RRT. ...
  • Adult Critical Care Specialty, ACCS. ...
  • Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist, NPS. ...
  • Sleep Disorders Testing and Therapeutic Intervention Respiratory Care Specialist, SDS.
12 Dec 2019

Is respiratory therapy a good career? ›

Is the respiratory therapist a good career? Yes, this health care field has a lot to offer to students. Not only in terms of the scope of education but also employment and salary-wise. You can find employment opportunities in hospitals, NGOs, academics, etc.

What is Bachelor of Occupational Therapy? ›

Bachelors of Occupational Therapy, also known as BOT, is an undergraduate program in the field of science. The four-year degree program has been well structured to groom students on practices of prevention and cure along with rehabilitation for the physically, emotionally, and mentally disabled and challenged people.

Which is higher CRT or RRT? ›

Certified respiratory therapists (CRTs) hold an entry-level certification, while registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) hold a more advanced certification. Aspiring professionals can become either a CRT or RRT credential by completing an accredited respiratory therapy program.

What is the difference between RT and RRT? ›

[color=#231f20]rt is the all-encompassing nickname for respiratory therapists. rrt = registered respiratory therapist. this is a credential awarded by the national board of respiratory care (nbrc).

Do respiratory therapists draw blood? ›

Respiratory Therapist Workplaces

Additionally, they perform pulmonary function testing to determine disease state and course of treatment, drawing blood samples and performing chest physiotherapy to remove mucus from the lungs.

Is respiratory therapy school harder than nursing? ›

From speaking with medical professionals who have gone through both programs, most claim that nursing school was more challenging (for them) than the respiratory therapy program. Again, this is definitely not always the case. It really depends on your location and the program that you're interested in.

Can a respiratory therapist become an anesthetist? ›

The National Board for Respiratory Care then requires that a respiratory therapist pass a certification exam after graduation. Following undergraduate work, more training is needed to be an anesthetist, If you have not yet obtained a B.S in nursing, you'll need to do so before entering into training for an anesthetist.

What is a respiratory doctor called? ›

A pulmonologist is a physician who specializes in the respiratory system. From the windpipe to the lungs, if your complaint involves the lungs or any part of the respiratory system, a pulmonologist is the doc you want to solve the problem. Pulmonology is a medical field of study within internal medicine.

Do Respiratory therapists wear scrubs? ›

What does a respiratory therapist wear? Respiratory therapists who work in hospitals and provide emergency or acute care often wear scrubs, which are easier to clean if they get bodily fluids on them.

Do Respiratory therapists insert chest tubes? ›

Chest tube insertion is an advanced skill and is completed by a physician. Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, and Respiratory Therapists in acute care at BCCH have foundational skills to aid with the insertion of chest tubes and to care for and monitor patients with chest tubes.

Do Respiratory therapists put in chest tubes? ›

For patients who are very ill, often in the intensive care unit (ICU), respiratory therapists place breathing tubes and manage breathing machines.

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