daily life of a Respiratory Therapist
are Respiratory Therapists happy with their job

Respiratory Therapists

Other names for this job might include Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Respiratory Therapist, Cardiopulmonary Technician and EEG Tech (Cardiopulmonary Technician and Electroencephalogram Technician), Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT), Clinical Coordinator of Respiratory Therapy, Inhalation Therapist, Oxygen Therapist, Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP), Respiratory Therapist (RT), Respiratory Therapy Director

  • $59640
  • 74%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • High
    Job growth
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Being A Respiratory Therapist: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Respiratory Therapists do and what is their typical work day like. After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Respiratory Therapist or not.

Job summary

Respiratory Therapists 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.

We asked Respiratory Therapists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 81% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

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Typical day

On a daily basis, Respiratory Therapists Set up and operate devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, or aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment. They Determine requirements for treatment, such as type, method and duration of therapy, precautions to be taken, or medication and dosages, compatible with physicians’ orders.

1 of the main responsibilities as A Respiratory Therapist is to 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.

Some may also Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition.

In a normal work day, another thing that Respiratory Therapists do is they Enforce safety rules and ensure careful adherence to physicians’ orders.

In addition to that, they Maintain charts that contain patients’ pertinent identification and therapy information..

A typical day for A Respiratory Therapist look like this:

Prepare medical supplies or equipment for use.
Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
Determine protocols for medical procedures.
Monitor patient conditions during treatments, procedures, or activities.
Inform medical professionals regarding patient conditions and care.

We asked some Respiratory Therapists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?94% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?65% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?65% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?91% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?56% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?67% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?16% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?83% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Respiratory Therapists do, they Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They might also Perform pulmonary function and adjust equipment to obtain optimum results in therapy.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Respiratory Therapists Teach, train, supervise, or use the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, or assistants. and Transport patients to the hospital or within the hospital.

In addition, they Perform endotracheal intubation to maintain open airways for patients who are unable to breathe on their own.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Monitor cardiac patients, using electrocardiography devices, such as a holter monitor.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Treat medical emergencies.
Implement advanced life support techniques.
Test patient heart or lung functioning.
Adjust settings or positions of medical equipment.
Train medical providers.
Supervise patient care personnel.
Move patients to or from treatment areas.
Implement advanced life support techniques.

Working life

Working hours

Less than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)

In a typical work week as A Respiratory Therapist, you can expect to work Less than 40 hours per week.

Do Respiratory Therapists work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Respiratory Therapists work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Respiratory Therapists work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here. You will like this career if you are someone who likes working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others. You also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Career type

Healthcare and Medical Therapeutic Services

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Additional resources

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