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Respiratory Therapist Job Description

Kundan Pandey
The job description of a respiratory therapist includes assisting patients with breathing disorders and monitoring their health. Read more to know the work profile of these health professionals, along with the qualifications and wages offered in this career.
Owing to increasing health problems, health care units in the United States are always in demand of medical professionals who can provide assistance to the senior doctors and also ensure proper patient care. Respiratory therapy is a growing field, and medical jobs in this field are sure to offer bright career prospects for young aspirants.

Job Description

Caring for the Patients

A respiratory therapist is responsible for the care, evaluation, and tests of the patients suffering from complications related to the breathing system.
He/she practices under the able guidance of expert physicians and ensures that all care, starting from diagnosis to therapeutic treatment, is properly carried out. He/she may often consult the physicians and related doctors about the holistic health of the patient and modify the patient care plans as per the needs.
He/she treats patients of all ages from premature infants, whose lungs aren't properly developed, and older people with diseased hearts. He/she provides temporary relief to asthma patients and helps patients of heart attack, heart stroke and heart failure.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A respiratory therapist is expected to conduct a variety of tests to determine the complications of the patients. For instance, he checks the patient's breathing capacity and the concentration of oxygen gas in the blood. The pH level of the blood is also measured to check its alkalinity or acidity.
His job also includes testing the lung capacity of the patient. The patients are provided with instruments, and they are asked to breathe into those instruments. He also records the volume levels of oxygen inhaled and exhaled by the patients.
After taking the readings, he compares them by considering the age, sex, height, and weight of the patients. This helps him to understand the problems of lung deficiency in the patients.
Moreover, he also analyzes the blood samples of the patients in the blood gas analyzer and checks the concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. These medical records so obtained, are submitted as reports to the senior physicians who prescribe the treatments.
This job includes removing mucus from lungs of patients via chest physiotherapy. To achieve this, the therapist keeps the patient in a position that ensures the easier draining of the mucus from lungs, then vibrates the patient's rib cage and taps the chest. Once the mucus is decreased or removed completely from lungs, the patient breathes more easily.
Besides all these duties, he is also supposed to spread awareness of ventilator usage, among the families of the patients. If need be, he can visit the patient's home to check the cleanliness of the home environment, and instruct the families to adopt various measures of hygiene.

Educational Requirements and Salary Range

The first step is to get a high school degree in subjects related to science and mathematics. Further, a two-year associate degree course or a 4-year graduation degree governed by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) is essential.
After passing the primary and written examination, one can move on to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist and Registered Respiratory Therapist, respectively. The basic salary ranges between USD 36,900 - USD 75,600.
These jobs are excellent medical careers, that can open up great career opportunities for young students. This job is sure to offer you job satisfaction and inner happiness, by helping others to recover from diseases.