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What Is Included in Respiratory Therapy?

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The coronavirus causes lung inflammation, which makes it difficult to diffuse oxygen. As the viral invasion gets worse, you start to feel like a fish out of water. You even begin to regret all the things you took for granted. Respiratory therapists can save the day by providing oxygen to your lungs. Their focus is to operate the ventilator to keep you alive. With a second chance in life, continue reading more about respiratory therapy.

What Is Respiratory Therapy?

Respiratory therapy is a specialty that focuses on treating and managing pulmonary conditions. The respiratory therapist is the main professional in the field who conducts:

  • Breathing examinations
  • Exercise regime
  • Pulmonary progress tracking

Respiratory therapists can help individuals with tracheostomy tubes. These tubes enable them to breathe via their nose or mouth. They also manage patients who cannot breathe on their own and must rely on a ventilator.

What Are the Roles of a Respiratory Therapist?

Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals and nursing homes. They perform various duties, like:

  • Provide oxygen to patients with low oxygen levels
  • Use inhalation therapies to deliver medication to your lungs.
  • Provide chest physiotherapy (PT) to remove mucus from the lungs
  • Establish and maintain ventilation systems and other equipment
  • Track vital signs, bloodwork, and blood gases
  • Assist with CPR and airway management

While most respiratory therapists work in clinics, some may come to your house. They may conduct tests to determine your pulmonary health or to detect sleep apnea. They can educate you on using a nebulizer, managing breathing problems, or stopping cigarettes.

What Kind of Training Do Respiratory Therapists Receive?

You must complete an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in respiratory therapy. Most states also need RTs to complete continuing education courses. Your respiratory program must have CoARC accreditation.

The CRT and the RRT are the two primary credentials for RTs. All states except for Alaska need these credentials for licensure. You must pass the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination to get these credentials.

What Does The Respiratory Therapist Coursework Encompass?

Accredited respiratory therapy programs include classroom instruction, laboratory simulations, and hands-on training. Respiratory care programs contain coursework in the following areas:

  • Respiratory clinical care
  • Physical treatment for the chest
  • Pathophysiology
  • Bronchodilation
  • Oxygen Treatment
  • Electrocardiography
  • Pharmacology
  • Advanced theory in respiration
  • Pathophysiology of the cardiopulmonary system
  • Adolescent and neonatal care

Most respiratory therapy programs are on campus, but there are also hybrid programs. You can take the coursework online, but your clinical rotations are in the hospitals. On average, the degree costs around $35,720 a year and takes 2 years to complete.

Where Can Respiratory Therapists Work?

Respiratory therapists can work in various healthcare settings. 75% of them work in hospitals and usually work around 35-40 hours per week. They can make around $65,201 to $78,011, while some can bring home a six-figure salary. Here are some descriptions of their workplace:


RTs serve as members of the code/rapid response team. They help with endotracheal intubation, airway management, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and trauma patient management. They also perform pulmonary function tests, draw blood, and conduct chest physiotherapy.

They provide therapeutic gases and drugs to asthmatics and COPD patients. RT can also place mechanical ventilators on patients receiving life-sustaining treatment.

Outpatient Respiratory Therapy Clinics

Patients with pulmonary issues may get treatment outside of the hospital. RTs can consult, teach, and rehabilitate patients to improve their breathing quality.

In-Home Care

RTs may provide in-home care for patients with difficulty getting to a facility. They can teach patients and families about using various breathing apparatuses and equipment.

Sleep Disorder Centers

RTs in these clinics can conduct sleep investigations in-lab and provide patient consultation. Their main patient populations are those suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

What Are the Different Types of Respiratory Therapy

The employment rate for RT will increase by 23 percent from 2020 to 2030. The rise in opportunities has expanded their expertise and healthcare options. Here are different types of respiratory therapy:

Long-Term Care

One in every seven middle-aged and older adults has a persistent lung condition. As a result, seniors need long-term care with respiratory therapy.

Therapy takes place in nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, or other long-term care facilities. Patients in these locations may be suffering from acute or chronic respiratory diseases.


This is for neonatal intensive care units and pediatric wards. This type of RTs checks newborns and premature infants for respiratory problems. They also work with toddlers and older children.

The common neonatal or pediatric conditions they treat are cystic fibrosis and asthma. They also educate children and their parents on the proper treatment protocol.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation help patients cope with symptoms associated with chronic lung disorders. They use a combination of therapy, education, and exercise.


Patients with sleep problems should order polysomnography. The polysomnography records your brain waves, oxygen levels, breathing rate, and movements. The respiratory therapist conducts the test to diagnose potential sleep apnea.

Critical Care

Critical care respiratory treatment occurs in a hospital setting. It may include treating patients in the emergency department or those undergoing surgery. Surgical operations need a respiratory therapist to maintain proper lung function.

What Conditions Do Respiratory Therapists Treat?

Patients with asthma have difficulty getting air in and out of their lungs. They get symptoms of coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. A respiratory therapist can help manage their asthma symptoms, medications, and triggers.

If you suffer from emphysema, pulmonary rehabilitation can keep your symptoms under control. Respiratory therapists can teach you effective breathing and relaxation methods. They can also show you how to use oxygen and inhalers along with some helpful exercises.

How to Find the Best Respiratory Therapy Near Me?

By now, you must be wondering, “where can I find the best respiratory therapist near me?” People will tell you to click the first person you see on yelp. Don’t do that; you want an empathetic RT that can provide emotional support.

You want an RT that can also stay current with their field. Make sure to read reviews and ask to speak with past patients. If you are still having trouble, contact us today for more info on respiratory therapy.

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