Health Occupations
& Technology

Respiratory Therapist

To be a successful Respiratory Therapist you should…

  • pay close attention to detail
  • display flexibility to respond to different patient needs
  • possess the ability to make sound judgments
  • possess the ability to work well with diverse patients
  • have excellent oral and written communication skills
  • possess the ability to work well in emergency medical situations
  • possess good technical skills
  • have excellent interpersonal skills
  • have a strong math and science ability

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What will my job be like?

Respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with heart and lung problems. A respiratory therapist performs assessment, therapeutic, and diagnostic procedures such as oxygen and medication administration, blood gas analysis, lung function, or cardiac function tests. Respiratory therapists also provide life support to patients by providing mechanical ventilation, physiologic monitoring of blood, airway control, and CPR if necessary.

Respiratory Therapists may specialize in:

  • Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics
  • Critical Care
  • Neonatal Care
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Sleep Laboratories

Where could I work?

Respiratory therapists work in many areas of hospitals, including ICU, ER, laboratory, pulmonary/cardiac rehabilitation, and sleep studies. Respiratory therapists generally work between 35 and 40 hours a week. Because hospitals operate around the clock, therapists may work daytime, evenings, nights, or weekends.

Other workplace settings:

  • Home Health Agencies
  • Respiratory Therapy Clinics
  • Physician Offices
  • Rehabilitation Centers

What is the average annual salary?


What is the future of this career?

Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These respiratory disorders can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function.

What type of education and/or training do I need?

Respiratory therapists must complete a minimum of a 2-year associate degree to take an entry-level exam required by the State of Connecticut.

Training is offered at the postsecondary level by community college, colleges and universities, and trade schools. Programs prepare graduates for jobs as registered respiratory therapists (RRT) or certified respiratory therapists (CRT).

Where can I get the education and/or training?

  • Goodwin College, East Hartford
  • Manchester Community College, Manchester
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College, Waterbury
  • Norwalk Community College, Norwalk
  • Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven
  • University of Hartford/Hartford Hospital, West Hartford

Do I need a license or certification for this career?

Licensure is required by the state of Connecticut. Prerequisites: An approved Respiratory Therapy program; National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc.’s (NBRC); Entry level or advanced practitioner credential as a certified Respiratory Therapy Technician or Registered Respiratory Therapist.

Where can I get more information?

American Association for Respiratory Care
9425 MacArthur Boulevard
Irving, TX   75063-4706