Careers

Respiratory Therapist

What is a Respiratory Therapist?

A respiratory therapist treats people with breathing or cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) problems, including premature babies with underdeveloped lungs, and children or adults with cystic fibrosis, asthma and COPD.

How much does a Respiratory Therapist earn?

The starting salary for a respiratory therapist is about £23,747, with the average respiratory therapist earning around £32,268. With more experience, this could rise to as much as £43,453.

These figures are intended as a guideline only.

So tell me more about how to be a Respiratory Therapist

A respiratory therapist's job usually involves:

  • Consulting with physicians and other healthcare staff to develop and modify individual patient care plans
  • Evaluating patients by performing physical examinations and diagnostic tests
  • Treating patients using oxygen or oxygen mixtures, chest physiotherapy, and aerosol medications
  • Using ventilators to treat patients who cannot breathe on their own
  • Performing regular checks on patients and equipment
  • Supervising respiratory therapy technicians

Becoming a Respiratory Therapist: What does it take?

Many colleges and universities, vocational-technical institutes, and the armed forces offer training suitable for becoming a respiratory therapist. These training programmes will allow therapists to earn course credits and gain supervised, practical experience treating patients.

Respiratory therapy programmes (which normally come in the form of degrees) include modules in human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, pharmacology, and mathematics. 

What is the job market like for careers in respiratory therapy?

Jobs in the healthcare sector are generally better paid than in others, and there are more vacancies due to skills shortages. The number of those working in the sector is expected to rise in the coming years.

Respiratory therapy courses and training to build your career

You'll start training to become a respiratory therapist once you're already employed in a more straightforward role like a physician or a nurse. This will involve pursuing a bachelor's degree or a diploma (either a Diploma of Higher Education in Respiratory Care or Respiratory Disease Management) from an accredited post-secondary institution.

The Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Clinical Physiology has a specialist option in respiratory physiology, and you can also take a Master of Science (MSc) programme in the following:

  • Respiratory Care
  • Respiratory Disease Management
  • Advanced Cardiology
  • Clinical Respiratory Physiology
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