Respiratory Therapist Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | July 15, 2023
Respiratory Therapist Job Description
Respiratory therapists perform evaluation of patients for respiratory problems that require further attention.

This post presents in-depth information on the respiratory therapist job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they typically perform, to help boost your understanding of what they do.

It also provides the major requirements candidates for the respiratory therapist role may be expected to fulfill to be hired by most employers/recruiters.

Please, read on:

What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?

The respiratory therapist job description entails teaching patients how to perform their breathing techniques and habits, such as deep breathing or avoidance of deep breathing.

It also involves practicing correct use of respirators and concentrators, such as oxygen tanks and ventilators, which are used in hospitals to treat patients with respiratory problems.

Respiratory therapists take care of equipment in a hospital room while patients are being treated by other medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses.

They evaluate the respiratory system, including tests involving respiratory function, as well as pulmonary function and lung capacity.

Furthermore, respiratory therapists perform pulmonary function tests, such as spirometry, arterial blood gas analysis, and lung capacity assessment.

They select the right equipment based on patient needs during hospitalization or after discharge from a hospital.

It is also their duty to teach patients how to use or participate in their own treatments.

This is to help patients return home more quickly or improve the quality of their lives after discharge from a hospital or medical facility, such as an emergency department or nursing home.

Respiratory therapists help patients exercise regularly so they can remain healthy while living at home.

They support patients and their family members by providing information about the patient’s diagnosis and treatment when the patient is in a hospital or at home recovering from an injury or disease.

Respiratory therapists’ job description includes helping patients maintain good health habits by offering them a workable plan to prevent respiratory problems.

More on Respiratory Therapist Job Description

They encourage family members who live with the patient to participate in treatments and learn how to do them themselves if necessary so that the patient can return home sooner.

It is also the duty of the respiratory therapist to refer patients to specialists who are best suited to treat them individually.

They provide referrals between different health care professionals when needed.

Respiratory therapists detect and treat problems, such as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), respiratory infection, or tuberculosis.

They also use diagnostic equipment, such as spirometers, to evaluate patients for respiratory problems that require further attention.

Respiratory Therapist Job Description Sample/Example/Template

The respiratory therapist job description involves the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Provide patients with the best possible level of care when they are hospitalized in the hospital for respiratory problems, including the most advanced treatments that medical science has to offer
  • Perform diagnostic tests and procedures as needed to evaluate patients for respiratory problems and diseases
  • Provide patients with medications and other treatments such as inhalers, nebulizers, and oxygen therapy as needed by the patient during hospitalization or after discharge from a hospital
  • Help patients maintain good health habits to prevent respiratory problems
  • Communicate in both oral and written language with other medical professionals who treat patients to ensure that the patient is receiving full care at a medical facility or leaving the hospital soon after discharge if possible
  • Direct the care of patients in a medical facility during the night, day, or on weekends to ensure that they get their medications, treatments, and other medical procedures they need while they are in the hospital or after they are discharged from a hospital
  • Work as part of a team that includes doctors, nurses, and other specialists to help patients return home sooner after surgery or a serious illness or injury caused by respiratory problems
  • Assist family members of patients who live with them with their care when it’s necessary for them to leave the hospital for any reason
  • Maintain the patient’s medical charts, which contain information on diagnosis and treatments received by patients
  • Assist nurses in respiratory therapy at a hospital to assist with doing daily tasks while they are caring for patients with respiratory problems.

Respiratory Therapist Job Description for Resume

If you have worked before as a respiratory therapist or are currently working in that role and are making a new resume or CV, you can apply the respiratory therapist job description sample provided above in creating an impressive Professional Experience section for your resume.

You can highlight the respiratory therapist duties and responsibilities from the sample job description above in your resume’s Professional Experience to emphasize the fact that you have been successful performing the job of a respiratory therapist.

This piece of information in your resume can greatly influence the recruiter/employer to hire you for the role, especially if the new position that you are seeking requires someone with some work experience as a respiratory therapist.

Respiratory Therapist Requirements: Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities for Career Success

If you are seeking the respiratory therapist job, here are major requirements that most recruiters/employers may want you to meet to be hired:

  • Be licensed in the state or country you want to work in
  • Have a postsecondary degree in respiratory therapy or other related field such as business, law, music, or physical education that provides a good basis for employment as a respiratory therapist
  • Strong understanding of the field of respiratory therapy and ability to help patients return home sooner after they leave the hospital
  • Possess strong knowledge of how the human body works
  • Be emotionally strong to work with patients with respiratory problems and their families, as well as medical professionals treating them
  • Possess good powers of observation to properly care for patients
  • Physically strong enough to lift and move elderly or injured people who need assistance in hospitals, geriatric facilities like assisted living or rehabilitation facilities, and their homes if they are not able to help themselves while they are recovering from illnesses or injuries caused by respiratory problems or diseases.

Respiratory Therapist Salary

According to, the average registered respiratory therapist salary in the United States is $72,073 as of March 29, 2022, with a pay range of $65,484 to $78,349.


Respiratory therapists are vital in providing care for patients who have respiratory problems and diseases.

They also help to educate the medical community about new treatments for respiratory problems, as well as other types of chronic illnesses and injuries.

This post is helpful to individuals interested in the respiratory therapist career; they will be able to boost their knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of the job.

It is also useful to recruiters/employers needing to create a detailed job description for the respiratory therapist role, for use in the hiring process for the position.

They can apply the sample respiratory therapist job description provided on this page in making one for their organizations.