Respiratory therapy technicians evaluate, monitor, treat and care for patients with breathing disorders, and provide specific respiratory procedures under the supervision of a doctor or health care professional. Based primarily on test results, a breathing treatment program could be created for a patient, for which a respiratory therapy technician may help by monitoring, overseeing and providing feedback during particular sessions.

Respiratory Therapy Technician

Respiratory Therapy Technician Schools

Students interested in respiratory therapy technician schools can look for programs at vo-tech schools, community colleges, and universities and learn how to provide technical care to patients with acute and chronic respiratory illnesses. An associate degree is typically necessary to gain entry-level skills while a bachelor's degree can help students to gain more advanced abilities. Respiratory therapy training programs are available at schools across the country, including:

  • St. Paul College: Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, this community and technical college in St. Paul, Minn., offers an associate of applied science degree in respiratory therapy and first-hand learning experiences from skilled professionals.
  • University of Cincinnati: This school, in Ohio, makes available a bachelor's of science degree in respiratory therapy that can be completed entirely online and with no need for student visits to campus at all. The program also can be completed in as little as 20 months.
  • Stevens-Henager College: With campus locations in Salt Lake City, Utah and Boise, Idaho, the respiratory therapy program at this school leads to an associate degree. It can be completed in as little as 20 months, includes two clinical experiences and offers students the opportunity to go to school during the day, the evening or even online.
  • Gulf Coast State College: The program at this school, in Panama City, Fla., is aimed at helping students prepare to work toward their Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. Education leads to an associate degree, and includes five clinical experiences, four seminars in selected topics and five respiratory care labs.
  • Community College of Philadelphia: The respiratory therapy program at this community college, in Pennsylvania, includes classroom learning, lab experiences, and supervised training in a healthcare setting. It leads to an associate of applied science degree and prepares students to seek Certified Registered Therapist (CRTP) credentialing.

Whether you are working toward an associate or bachelor's degree in one of the respiratory therapy technician training programs, you should gain knowledge and skills in anatomy and physiology, mechanical ventilation, pulmonary, pharmacology and more. Completing a program that is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care also may be helpful to seeking licensure or certification.

Respiratory Therapy Courses

An associate degree is usually needed to enter the field, although some employers do prefer to hire individuals with a bachelor's degree, reports the BLS. Most programs include subject matters such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
Other educational requirements for respiratory therapy technicians include: 
  • Courses in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Various types of diagnostic testing and equipment
  • Clinical experiences guided by a supervisor.

Certification and Licensing for Respiratory Therapy

Certification can be earned through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). This organization offers two levels of certification:

  1. The Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT)
  2. The Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) -- This requires applicants to already be CRT certified. 
Completion of an academic program is necessary for certification in either one and students must also pass a testing exam.

Licensure is required for respiratory therapy technicians in all states except for Alaska, according to the BLS. Typically, a professional certification exam is necessary to get a license, although applicants may need to take a state exam as an alternative. A state board of health will have more information about the requirements for state licensure.

Resources for Respiratory Therapy Technicians

  • American Association for Respiratory Care
  • Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs
  • National Board for Respiratory Care
  • International Association of Respiratory Therapists (IART)


  1. About Us. International Association of Respiratory Therapists, no date. http://iaresp.com/aboutus.php
  2. Respiratory Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm#tab-6
  3. Respiratory Therapists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292054.htm
  4. Respiratory Therapy Technicians, CareerOneStop, 2015. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=000110111&soccode=292054
  5. Projections Central, Long-Term Occupational Projections, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  6. Respiratory Therapy, St. Paul College. http://www.saintpaul.edu/programs/healthscience/Pages/Respiratory-Therapist.aspx
  7. Online Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy, University of Cincinnati. http://respiratorytherapy.uc.edu/lpppc-rt/?Access_Code=UC-BSHSRC-GOOGLEMOBILE&kwd=respiratory%20therapist%20degree%20programs&gclid=CIHmlsb4scoCFVJhfgodApsP9w
  8. Associate of Applied Science Respiratory Therapy. Stevens-Henager College. http://www.stevenshenager.edu/respiratory-therapy-as-aas
  9. Respiratory Therapy, Gulf Coast State College. https://www.gulfcoast.edu/health_sciences/respiratory/aas_degree_plan.htm
  10. Respiratory Care Technology, Community College of Philadelphia. http://www.ccp.edu/academic-offerings/all-offerings/health-care/degree-programs/respiratory-care-technology

Respiratory Therapy Technicians Skills

Below are the skills needed to be respiratory therapy technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Active Listening3.753.75
Service Orientation3.623.62
Critical Thinking3.623.62
Reading Comprehension3.53.75

Respiratory Therapy Technicians Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be respiratory therapy technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Problem Sensitivity44
Oral Comprehension44.25
Oral Expression3.884
Inductive Reasoning3.883.75
Deductive Reasoning3.753.75

Respiratory Therapy Technicians Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be respiratory therapy technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Customer and Personal Service4.465.4
Medicine and Dentistry4.444.18
English Language4.183.91
Public Safety and Security3.872.93

Respiratory Therapy Technicians Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being respiratory therapy technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.765.54
Assisting and Caring for Others4.756.43
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events4.76.14
Getting Information4.675.53
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge4.625.7

Respiratory Therapy Technicians Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being respiratory therapy technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work StyleImportance
Concern for Others4.76
Self Control4.61
Attention to Detail4.56

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Respiratory Therapy Technicians

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Respiratory Therapy Technicians jobs , as of 2017

Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim330 $46,360
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land260 $51,040
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson260 $59,350
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale260 $61,060
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas250 $24,560
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington230 $52,320
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell220 $47,160
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach170 $50,520
San Antonio-New Braunfels150 $53,400
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood70 $38,710

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to respiratory therapy technicians

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Respiratory Therapy Technicians.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.