Respiratory Therapy Technician

Conduct basic tests to diagnose lung problems.

What does a Respiratory Therapy Technician do?

This is one of those stepping-stone types of jobs that you take to get into another career. In this case, the other career is that of a Respiratory Therapist. A Respiratory Therapist works in a hospital or other healthcare environment, diagnosing and treating breathing problems in patients.

The position of Respiratory Therapy Technician is really entry-level, so get ready to do the grunt work no one else wants to do. Though that might sound unappealing, you’re working with patients and helping them get better, so it’s a pretty rewarding job. The Respiratory Therapy Technician will do things like setting up exam rooms and getting all the necessary tools (things like suction cups and nebulizers) ready for the exam.

During an exam, the Respiratory Therapy Technician might help measure the patient’s lung capacity by administering what’s known as a flow test, or set up and dispense oxygen. As the Therapist works, it’s your job to monitor the patient, making careful note of what’s being done and how the patient is reacting.

Although you do a lot to help Doctors, a big part of you job entails educating patients. You might explain how to do different breathing exercises to stop an asthma attack, or show a postoperative lung patient how to use an oxygen mask or adjust their oxygen tank. You also teach patients how to quit smoking, and prevent or cure respiratory illnesses.