Certified Respiratory TherapistSample Job Descriptions, Salaries, and Interview Questions

Respiratory therapists evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients who have difficulty breathing. They might work with infants who have undeveloped lungs, the elderly with lung disease, or anyone suffering from asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic respiratory disease, COPD, chest trauma, or heart disease. Respiratory therapists work closely with doctors and nurses to develop treatment plans designed to help restore as much natural breathing function in patients as possible.

The role of a respiratory therapist includes interviewing patients, examining them, treating them, and teaching them how to administer treatments on their own. Respiratory therapists are a crucial part of caring for people living with cardio-pulmonary disease and disorders.

Sample job description

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a respiratory therapist is $71,200 per year in the United States and $75,800 including a yearly bonus. Salaries will vary depending on experience, education, and geographical location.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$74,950$91,600
Los Angeles, California$84,550$103,350
Denver, Colorado$70,450$86,150
Washington, DC$85,850$104,900
Miami, Florida$70,100$85,700
Orlando, Florida$64,700$79,100
Tampa, Florida$65,350$79,850
Atlanta, Georgia$68,550$83,800
Chicago, Illinois$78,800$96,300
Boston, Massachusetts$85,200$104,150
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$67,900$83,000
New York City, New York$89,700$109,600
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$73,050$89,250
Dallas, Texas$71,100$86,900
Houston, Texas$70,800$86,500
Seattle, Washington$82,000$100,250
National Average$64,050$78,300

Sample interview questions

  • How do you provide emotional support to patients undergoing treatment?
  • How do you ensure patients receive the appropriate treatment and medication on time?
  • How do you minimize errors in your work?
  • How would you rate your problem-solving skills? 
  • Can you give an example of how you evaluated a patients’ symptoms and consulted with other healthcare professionals?
  • How would you motivate an uncooperative patient?
  • What was the most challenging respiratory condition you have treated? 
  • How would you explain a specific respiratory treatment to a scared or anxious patient?
  • Have you ever had to provide emergency assistance to a patient who was in a critical condition? What happened and what did you do?
  • What are the tools used by a respiratory therapist?
  • Explain why aerosol therapy is given.
  • What are important parts of the upper airway of the human respiratory system?
  • What is an anticholinergic?
  • What are the consequences of inadequate humidification?
  • What are five mechanisms for adding humidity to a gas artificially?
  • Why is humidity therapy necessary when supplemental oxygen is given to a patient?
  • What is bronchospasm?
  • What should a patient do if they are having an asthma attack and have no medication?
  • What is Emphysema? What is the treatment for it?
  • What are the typical symptoms of a respiratory system disorder?

Are you interested in becoming a respiratory therapist?

If you have an interest in becoming a respiratory therapist, we will put you in contact with one of our headhunters or recruiters to see if you are a perfect fit for one of our job openings. If a job opening does not suit you, we will always keep you in mind as new positions open up. We have vast experience connecting medical professionals with some of the most well-known healthcare organizations in the country. Your next job or career in respiratory therapy can be right around the corner. Check out our latest job openings and our blog for career advice.

Similar job titles and careers 

  • Adult Critical Care Specialist, ACCS
  • Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist, RPFT
  • Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist, NPS
  • Sleep Disorders Testing and Therapeutic Intervention
  • Respiratory Care Specialist, SDS
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner, RCP

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