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Respiratory Therapy (SOC CODE: 29-1126.00)

Job Description Overview

Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures maintain patient records and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.

Related Careers

  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Respiratory Therapy Technicians
  • Medical Assistants
  • Therapists, All Other
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants

Sample Job Duties

  • Perform endotracheal intubation to maintain open airways for patients who are unable to breathe on their own.
  • Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, or blood chemistry changes, and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
  • Set up and operate devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, or aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment.
  • Work as part of a team of physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals to manage patient care by assisting with medical procedures or related duties.
  • Maintain charts that contain patients' pertinent identification and therapy information.
  • Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition.
  • Relay blood analysis results to a physician.
  • Inspect, clean, test, and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when necessary.
  • Explain treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears.

    What Classes Do I Need to Take?

    • Respiratory Therapy: AS Degree

      Technology and Health Division
      Degree S1205

      The Respiratory Therapy Program, which is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (COARC), is designed to train students to function as Respiratory Therapists.

      Respiratory Therapy is the application of technical skills involving a complete understanding of cardiopulmonary physiology and recognition of various pathological conditions that alter the patient’s ability to breathe effectively.

      By applying medical gases under pressure - i.e., compressed air, oxygen, and other mixtures - to the airways through the use of various kinds of equipment, the therapist, under the direction of the physician, treats the diseased or ineffective respiratory system.

      Some mechanical aptitude and the ability to perform fine motor movements with hands and fingers is required in learning the operation of specialized equipment. This includes diagnostic apparatus which aids the physician in detecting cardiorespiratory diseases.

      This degree requires the completion of General Education coursework plus the following:

      Required Courses

      RESD 50Theory and Principles of Respiratory Therapy2
      RESD 51ARespiratory Therapy Science4
      RESD 51BRespiratory Therapy Science4
      RESD 52Pulmonary Anatomy and Physiology3
      RESD 53Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology3
      RESD 55Adult Respiratory Intensive Care3
      RESD 56ATechniques of Respiratory Therapy2.5
      RESD 56BTechniques of Respiratory Therapy6
      RESD 56CTechniques of Respiratory Therapy2.5
      RESD 56DTechniques of Respiratory Therapy6
      RESD 57BSpecial Procedures for Respiratory Care1.5
      RESD 58Neonatal Intensive Care3
      RESD 59Respiratory Therapeutic Modalities3
      RESD 60Comprehensive Pulmonary Assessment2
      RESD 61Current Issues in Respiratory Care3
      RESD 62Pharmacology for Respiratory Care1.5
      Total Units50

      Respiratory Department website 

      Guided Pathway of Study

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