Respiratory Therapist Job Description

The Respiratory Therapist assesses, treats, and cares for patients with breathing disorders. The Respiratory Therapist assumes primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians.

Respiratory Therapist Tasks

The Respiratory Therapist initiates and conducts therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment. The Respiratory Therapist sets up and operates devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas following specified parameters of treatment.

The Respiratory Therapist provides emergency care, including artificial respiration, external cardiac massage and assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The Respiratory Therapist may work in a hospital or in an emergency care clinic that provides customers with emergency services.

The Respiratory Therapist determines requirements for treatment, such as type, method and duration of therapy, precautions to be taken, and medication and dosages, compatible with physicians’ orders. Often the Respiratory Therapist is use to the same patients that they care for over an extended period of time and it makes it easier for the patient.

The Respiratory Therapist monitors patient’s physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, and blood chemistry changes, and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur. The Respiratory Therapist, measures arterial blood gases, and reviews patient information to ass’s patient condition.

The Respiratory Therapist works as part of a team of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to manage patient care. They are very diligent about enforcing safety rules and ensure careful adherence to physicians’ orders. The Respiratory Therapist maintains the charts that contain patients’ pertinent identification and therapy information.

The Respiratory Therapist inspects, cleans, test and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when necessary. The Respiratory Therapist educates patients and their families about their conditions and teaches appropriate disease management techniques, such as breathing exercises and the use of medications and respiratory equipment.

The Respiratory Therapist explains treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears. The Respiratory Therapist relays blood analysis results to the physician. The Respiratory Therapist performs pulmonary function and adjusts equipment to obtain optimum results in therapy. The Respiratory Therapist performs bronchopulmonary drainage and assists or instructs patients in performance of breathing exercises.

The Respiratory Therapist demonstrates respiratory care procedures to trainees and other health care personnel. The Respiratory Therapist teaches trains, supervises, and utilizes the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, and assistants. The Respiratory Therapist uses a variety of testing techniques to assist doctors in cardiac and pulmonary research and to diagnose disorders.

The Respiratory Therapist makes emergency visits to resolve equipment problems. The Respiratory Therapist conducts tests, such as electrocardiograms, stress testing, and lung capacity tests, to evaluate patients’ cardiopulmonary functions.

Knowledge Requirements for Respiratory Therapist

Medicine and Dentistry

The Respiratory Therapist needs knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, disease, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Customer and Personal Service

The Respiratory Therapist needs knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs, assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


The Respiratory Therapist needs knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Education and Training

The Respiratory Therapist needs knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement training effects. They also need knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Chemistry and Biology

The Respiratory Therapist needs knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods. They also need knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Mechanical and Mathematics

The Respiratory Therapist needs knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance. They also need knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


The Respiratory Therapist needs knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.

Degrees and Training to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Leave a Comment

Do You Work as a Respiratory Therapist ?

Tell us about your experience as a Respiratory Therapist . How much you earned, who your employer was, how much education was required or anything that pertains to this career. Help others who are trying to enter into this field. All information is kept anonymous.

Your Name
Share Your Experience

Related Job Descriptions


Company Profiles