Respiratory therapists (RTs) are health professionals who evaluate,
treat, and care for people who have breathing problems. Respiratory therapists use
oxygen, medicines, and mechanical measures such as chest percussion to help
people breathe more effectively.
Most respiratory therapists work under the direct supervision of a
doctor. Respiratory therapists treat people of all ages, from premature babies
with undeveloped lungs to older adults with respiratory disease. Most
respiratory therapists work in hospitals. But some work in nursing homes
and doctor's offices.
Respiratory therapists can be certified as RTs after they complete a college-level, accredited RT program. The National
Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers voluntary certification and
registration to graduates of accredited programs. Two credentials are awarded
to respiratory therapists who satisfy the requirements: registered respiratory
therapist (RRT) and certified respiratory therapist (CRT). Either the CRT or
RRT examination is the standard in the states that require licensure.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine