Registered respiratory therapists are responsible for the evaluation and treatment of patients with lung disorders. Before becoming an RRT one must have CRT (certified respiratory therapist) credentials and have taken and passed the National Board of Respiratory Care test. A RRT is the highest level of respiratory care therapist. A respiratory therapist with this certification can expect to be involved in more critical care settings and also earn a higher annually salary depending on their experience level.

Specialized Jobs for Respiratory Therapists

Registered respiratory therapist conduct interviews, and perform limited physical exams and diagnostic tests, in both the hospital and home care settings. For example, RRT's can determine the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in a patient's blood by running an A.B.G. (arterial blood gas) test. Another test commonly performed by a RRT is the blood gas analyzer. This test will detect the pH of the blood, which indicates the acidity/alkalinity of the blood. RRT's will also look at the norms for patients such as age, weight, and sex to determine if a patient has lung deficiencies when their results are determined from a P.F.T (pulmonary function test). Registered respiratory therapists then evaluate the results of each test to determine the best technique to treat each patient in the most effective manner.

In the critical care areas of hospitals, RRT's take patients that cannot breathe and administer a tube in their trachea that connects the patient to a ventilator. After they have been ventilated for an hour, the registered respiratory therapist does an A.B.G. to determine if the vent settings are correct. RRT's must constantly monitor each patient on the vent to adjust the levels accordingly. A registered respiratory therapist career is wonderful for many critical care settings that are very hands-on.