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Respiratory Therapist Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Respiratory Therapist, also known as a Respiratory Care Practitioner, works with Physicians and other healthcare providers to diagnose, treat, and care for patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary diseases and disorders. Their duties include assessing the patient’s respiratory health, creating and implementing a therapy plan, and providing guidance and advice to patients and other healthcare professionals.

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Respiratory Therapist duties and responsibilities

A Respiratory Therapist’s duties and responsibilities vary with their work environment. The key role of a Respiratory Therapist is to provide care for patients who have trouble breathing. This includes many duties, such as interviewing, testing, and treating respiratory and cardiopulmonary conditions. Other vital responsibilities may consist of:

  • Perform diagnostic testing and assessments, such as cardiopulmonary function and lung volume testing
  • Monitor and maintain diagnostic and therapeutic equipment, including calibration and quality control checks
  • Use respiratory equipment to provide treatment, such as oxygen or humidified air
  • Provide breathing support in other environments outside of therapy, like emergency rooms or during surgery
  • Perform non-invasive therapies like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines
  • Monitor and record a patient’s progress during treatment
  • Educate patients on the proper use of medication and respiratory equipment
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Respiratory Therapist Job Description Examples:

What does a Respiratory Therapist do?

Respiratory Therapists conduct diagnostic testing of a patient to determine respiratory and pulmonary function. They develop and implement therapy plans to aid with respiratory disease and disorders in conjunction with physicians and other medical professionals. A Respiratory Therapist also provides education and training to patients, family members, and caregivers for the daily management of respiratory conditions.

Respiratory Therapists can work in various settings, including hospitals, extended care facilities, public healthcare centers, and respiratory home care companies.

Respiratory Therapist skills and qualifications

As a professional healthcare provider, a Respiratory Therapist has various prerequisite skills and qualifications needed for their role. Depending on the work environment, they may be working alone and directly one-on-one with patients in a home care situation. Or they may be working within a team of healthcare professions in an emergency room or healthcare clinic. Key skills and qualifications are similar, and include:

  • Ability to work independently as well as part of a diverse group of healthcare professionals
  • Ability to work well under high-pressure situations
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to provide care to a diverse patient population
  • Compassion and a desire to help others
  • Provide the highest standards of care according to the Canadian Board of Respiratory Care
  • Desire to develop their professional skills and training continuously

Respiratory Therapist experience requirements

A successful Respiratory Therapist has a sound foundation in all relevant procedures and treatments. Candidates need to be registered with their province or territory’s regulatory licensing body. Each region has a different set of experience requirements for Respiratory Therapists to meet before they can complete their registration. Respiratory Therapists may also choose to specialize in one field like anesthesia, pediatrics, emergency care, or respiratory home care. In that case, they need specific experience in that field to practice.

Respiratory Therapist education and training requirements

A Respiratory Therapist needs to hold a specialized three-year college diploma or a four-year university degree program. In most Canadian provinces and territories, Respiratory Therapist is a regulated profession, and candidates need a licence to practice with their relevant regional association. Respiratory Therapists also need to complete the nationally recognized Canadian Board of Respiratory Care (CBRC) exam.

You may prefer candidates with additional training courses, such as an Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification. Candidates also need regular Life Support and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training, so ensure their most recent training is still valid.

Respiratory Therapist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, average pay for a Respiratory Therapist in Canada is $33.75 per hour. It can vary depending on factors like experience, education, location, and the hiring company.

Job description samples for similar positions

If a Respiratory Therapist is not quite what you are looking for, other job description samples that may fit your needs include:

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Respiratory Therapist job description FAQs

What qualities make for a good Respiratory Therapist?

When creating a job description for a Respiratory Therapist, include any specific licences required to practice in your company’s province or territory. Provide a clear description of your company, culture, and vision. A detailed list of daily duties also allows candidates to understand what an average day looks like in the position with your company.

Job Description Examples

Need help writing a job description for a specific role? Use these job description examples to create your next great job posting. Or if you’re ready to hire, post your job on Indeed.

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