Respiratory Therapists, also known as Respiratory Care Practitioners, provide treatment, evaluation, monitoring, and management of patients with breathing disorders or cardiopulmonary problems. Care provided by Respiratory Therapists may include: oxygen therapeutics, ventilator management, administration of aerosol medications to the lungs, measurement of lung functions, and overall monitoring of the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory Therapists treat all types of patients, ranging from premature infants to elderly people with lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Therapists are also becoming involved in areas such as pulmonary rehabilitation, smoking cessation counseling, disease prevention, case management, and polysomnography (the diagnosis of breathing disorders during sleep, such as apnea).
How do I become a Respiratory Therapist?
Following completion of an accredited Respiratory Therapy program, the student must then successfully pass the certification examination administered by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). Upon passing the examination, the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) will be governed by the licensure laws of the state in which they choose to practice.