Respiratory Therapy Assistant

Help patients with their lung treatments.
picture of Respiratory Therapy Assistant

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$30,000 – $66,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Respiratory Therapy Assistants do?

Respiratory Therapy Assistants help Respiratory Therapists treat patients who have heart and lung problems, or other health issues that affect breathing. A Respiratory Therapy Assistant is to a Respiratory Therapist as a Nurse is to a Doctor.

Most Respiratory Therapy Assistants start as Respiratory Therapy Aides. Aides have little or no contact with patients, and focus on maintaining the equipment. Respiratory Therapy Assistants, however, spend most of their time with patients.

Your primary role as a Respiratory Therapy Assistant is monitoring patients during treatment. You administer the correct dosage of medication and ensure that equipment works properly. You also keep records of each treatment session and document the patient’s progress.

After each session, you explain any home-care instructions to your patient, and show him how to use at-home equipment if necessary. The patient could be a child who needs an asthma inhaler, or an elderly patient who needs instructions on using an oxygen tank.

You also play a role in diagnosing patients’ conditions. Through breathing tests and EKGs, you check how the lungs and heart are functioning. These test results help the Respiratory Therapy Assistant assign treatment.

Your work not only helps patients breathe easier, but also offers comfort and support during treatments. Even a minor problem can seem scary, and you help explain what’s really going on and why your patients shouldn’t worry.

Should I be a Respiratory Therapy Assistant?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • How to Become a
    Respiratory Therapy Assistant

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