Respiratory Therapists Help Patients Breathe

Respiratory therapists treat patients experiencing breathing difficulty from ailments such as asthma, emphysema, or cardiopulmonary disorders. These healthcare specialists work mostly in hospitals, usually under the supervision of a physician. However, they may also work in nursing homes, outpatient facilities, or in home care.

Respiratory specialists often treat patients with long-term conditions, whom they instruct and monitor for weeks, months or years. They may also work in emergency settings, such as with trauma patients or cardiac patients who need to recover their breathing immediately.

Most respiratory therapists hold an associate’s degree, though many hold bachelor’s degrees. One-year certificate programs and more advanced degrees exist as well. Respiratory therapists normally undergo formal training for two to four years.