Allied Health
Respiratory Therapist

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Salary: $38,202 - $48,477
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Hourly: $19.91 - $27.1
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Outlook: 4 Stars
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Length of Training: 2-4 years
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Career Explorer
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Roadmap
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Respiratory therapists (RT) or respiratory care practitioners (RCP) treat patients who have difficulty breathing because of cardiopulmonary (heart-lung) problems. Under the direction of a physician, respiratory therapists conduct diagnostic tests of patients' cardiopulmonary functions and give patients appropriate treatment as prescribed by the physician. A respiratory therapist may treat all types of patients from the very young to the very old in both short- and long-term situations, as well as provide emergency care to patients who are victims of heart attacks, stroke, shock or drowning. Equipment used by respiratory therapists may include oxygen, gas and mist inhalators, tents, mechanical ventilators, masks, catheters, and incubators used in administering prescribed doses of medicinal gases and drugs.

Areas of Specialization
Respiratory therapists can specialize in different areas such as neonatal care, pediatric care, and cardiopulmonary diagnostics or critical care.

Work Environment

Respiratory therapists may work in hospitals or clinics, nursing homes, adult day care facilities, home health agencies and physicians' offices. If they work in a hospital environment, they are more likely to work evening and weekend shifts to meet the needs of the hospital's patients.