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Respiratory Therapists
SOC Code: 29-1126.00

Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.

Sample of reported job titles: Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Respiratory Therapist, Cardiopulmonary Technician and EEG Tech (Cardiopulmonary Technician and Electroencephalogram Technician), Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT), Clinical Coordinator of Respiratory Therapy, Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP), Respiratory Therapist (RT), Respiratory Therapy Director, Staff Respiratory Therapist, Staff Therapist

Tasks

  • Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, or blood chemistry changes, and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
  • Set up and operate devices, such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, or aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment.
  • Work as part of a team of physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals to manage patient care by assisting with medical procedures or related duties.
  • Maintain charts that contain patients' pertinent identification and therapy information.
  • Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition.
  • Relay blood analysis results to a physician.
  • Inspect, clean, test, and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when necessary.
  • Explain treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears.
  • Make emergency visits to resolve equipment problems.
  • Determine requirements for treatment, such as type, method and duration of therapy, precautions to be taken, or medication and dosages, compatible with physicians' orders.
  • Enforce safety rules and ensure careful adherence to physicians' orders.
  • Educate patients and their families about their conditions and teach appropriate disease management techniques, such as breathing exercises or the use of medications or respiratory equipment.
  • Perform bronchopulmonary drainage and assist or instruct patients in performance of breathing exercises.
  • Conduct tests, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), stress testing, or lung capacity tests, to evaluate patients' cardiopulmonary functions.
  • Perform pulmonary function and adjust equipment to obtain optimum results in therapy.
  • Demonstrate respiratory care procedures to trainees or other healthcare personnel.
  • Use a variety of testing techniques to assist doctors in cardiac or pulmonary research or to diagnose disorders.
  • Transport patients to the hospital or within the hospital.
  • Teach, train, supervise, or use the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, or assistants.
  • Perform endotracheal intubation to maintain open airways for patients who are unable to breathe on their own.
  • Monitor cardiac patients, using electrocardiography devices, such as a holter monitor.

Technology Skills

  • Calendar and scheduling software
  • Data base user interface and query software - Database software
  • Electronic mail software - Microsoft Outlook
  • Medical software - Electronic medical record EMR software; HMS; MEDITECH software
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Adult or pediatric intensive care ventilators - Volume ventilators
  • Apnea monitors or accessories - Apnea monitors
  • Arterial blood gas monitors or accessories - Blood gas kits; Blood gas machines
  • Autotransfusion units - Cell savers
  • Bedside pulmonary function screeners - Bedside spirometers
  • Blood collection syringes
  • Bronchoscopes or accessories - Bronchoscopes
  • Cardiac output CO monitoring units or accessories - Hemodynamic monitors
  • Chest cuirass products - Negative pressure ventilators
  • Chest percussors - Percussors
  • Clinical incubators or infant warmers - Infant incubators
  • Electrocardiography EKG units
  • Electronic blood pressure units - Electronic blood pressure equipment
  • Endotracheal tubes - Endotracheal ET tubes
  • Flow sensors or regulators or components - Oxygen flowmeters; Oxygen regulators
  • High frequency ventilators - High-frequency ventilators
  • Intermittent positive pressure breathing IPPB machines - Internal positive pressure breathing IPPB machines
  • Intraaortic balloon pump and accessories - Intra-aortic balloon pumps IABP
  • Medical acoustic stethoscope or accessory - Mechanical stethoscopes
  • Medical aerosol tents - Oxygen tents
  • Medical gas cylinders or related devices - Oxygen tanks
  • Medical head hoods - Oxygen hoods
  • Medical nasal cannulae - Cannulas; Nasal airways
  • Medical oxygen masks or parts - Medical oxygen masks; Oral airways; Oxygen masks
  • Medical suction or vacuum appliances - Medical suction equipment
  • Mercury blood pressure units - Manual blood pressure equipment
  • Nebulizer or accessories - Aerosol masks; Nebulizers; Small particle aerosol generators; Tracheotomy masks
  • Non invasive bi level machines - Bilevel positive airway pressure BiPAP ventilators
  • Non invasive continuous positive air pressure machines - Continuous positive airway pressure CPAP ventilators
  • Notebook computers
  • Oxygen concentrators
  • Oxygen delivery connectors or adapters - Christmas tree adapters
  • Oxygen monitors or supplies - Oxygen monitors
  • Perfusion oxygen or hematocrit saturation monitors or accessories - Saturation of oxygen SaO2 monitors
  • Personal computers
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers - Personal digital assistants PDA
  • Pulmonary functioning tubing or accessories - Capillary catheters
  • Pulse oximeter units - Pulse oximeters
  • Respiratory humidifiers or vaporizers - Humidifiers
  • Respiratory manometer kits - Manometers
  • Respiratory monitoring kits or its accessories - Indirect calorimeters
  • Respiratory therapy compressors - Air compressors
  • Resuscitation masks or accessories - Ambu bags
  • Spirometers or its accessories or its supplies - Incentive spirometers; Pulmonary function testing PFT equipment; Wright's spirometers
  • Sputum collection apparatus or containers - Sputum traps
  • Surgical isolation suits or helmets or facemasks or accessories - Surgical suits
  • Tablet computers - Portable flat computers
  • Tourniquets
  • Tracheostomy tubes
  • Treadmill exercisers for rehabilitation or therapy - Therapeutic treadmill exercisers
  • Vacuum blood collection tubes or containers - Evacuated blood collection tubes

Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service - 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.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology - 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.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Chemistry - 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Abilities

  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.

Interests

  • Interest code: SIR
    • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Context

  • Exposed to Disease or Infections - 92% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 85% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity - 75% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 64% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 65% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Consequence of Error - 73% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 53% responded “Very important results.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 67% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail - 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 53% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 48% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 37% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 60% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 54% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 43% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 46% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 31% responded “Important.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions - 27% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Radiation - 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection - 27% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Letters and Memos - 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 41% responded “Limited responsibility.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
83%Associate's degree
12%Bachelor's degree
5%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Work Values

  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $28.71 hourly, $59,710 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 130,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 9,800

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