Careers in the Licensed Professions

Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory Therapy Print Profile PDF

As directed by a physician, respiratory therapists (RT) evaluate cardiopulmonary (heart and lungs) health and treat respiratory conditions, such as pneumonia and asthma. A respiratory therapy technician (RTT) provides the same services under the supervision of a physician or RT. Examples of services:

  • set up and monitor therapies and environmental controls
  • insert and maintain an artificial airway
  • cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
  • start & support equipment that helps people to breathe
  • administer medications needed for respiratory care
  • educate patients and families


Respiratory Therapist: An associate or a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy.  RT education programs in New York must be approved by the State Education Department.  

Respiratory Therapy Technician: A one-year certificate program in respiratory therapy technology.  RTT education programs in New York State must be approved by the State Education Department.  


Respiratory Therapist: National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Certified Respiratory Therapist examination and the Registry Examination. Respiratory Therapy Technician: NBRC Certified Respiratory Therapist examination

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.




Salary and Projected Growth

  • RT salary range: $60,140-$84,230
  • RTT salary range: $42,680-$67,550
  • Projected growth: RT-faster than average; RTT-below average

Where Could I Work?

  • Hospitals (often in critical care and other inpatient units)
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation clinics
  • Home health care

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Biology, chemistry, and medical technology
  • Supervised clinical education

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Cooperation
  • Communication
  • Attention to detail

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a respiratory therapist about what they do and how they got started!

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Last Updated: January 14, 2020