Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Respiratory Therapist?

Are you looking for a career that pays well, doesn’t take tons of schooling, and lets you help people? 

It may seem like this trifecta is impossible, but that’s right where we step in and tell you all about a career as a respiratory therapist.

Wait, what is a respiratory therapist? What does it take to become a respiratory therapist?

Keep reading to have these questions and more answered.

What Is a Respiratory Therapist?

A respiratory therapist is a person who works closely with patients who have difficulty breathing. As a respiratory therapist, you will help to create artificial airways for patients who can’t breathe on their own, recommend treatment plans, ensure patients are following proper prescription dosages, and help patients understand and treat disease.

A respiratory therapist can either go to school for a two-year associate’s degree and obtain a certificate or complete a four-year bachelor’s program. Sites such as Respiratory Therapy Zone can help you excel in whichever schooling program you decide.

Salaries for respiratory therapists vary depending on education and experience level.

What Does It Take to Become a Respiratory Therapist?

But, what does it take to actually become a respiratory therapist? What kind of person do you need to be?

These are some of the main personality traits that most respiratory therapists possess:


The number one personality trait of a respiratory therapist is empathy. Empathy gives us the ability to put ourselves in other’s shoes, even when we don’t want to. Empathy is often referred to as bedside manner in the healthcare field.


There will be times that a respiratory therapist will find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to tell a family some bad news. It’s crucial that a respiratory therapist remain composed during this time and in other emergency situations. 

Remember that empathy is important, but having too much empathy can lead to losing composure during difficult times. 

Critical Thinking

Respiratory therapists, especially those who work in a hospital, can find themselves in emergent situations where they have to quickly think on their feet. As a respiratory therapist, a patient’s life may be in your hands. 

Critical thinking is a must-have personality trait for anyone in the medical field.

Self Control

Self-control is important to practice, as sometimes an ordering physician will disagree with your recommended treatment plan. No matter how badly you might want to argue or treat the patient your way, it is imperative that you practice self-control and follow instructions.

You’ll also need to use self-control to help you comply with HIPAA regulations.

Do You Have What It Takes?

After learning all about a career as a respiratory therapist, do you think you have what it takes?

Let’s recap:

What is respiratory therapy?

Respiratory therapy is a rewarding career in which you have the opportunity to help patients breathe again through means such as creating clinical airways, recommending treatment, helping patients understand disease and treatment plans, and more.

What does it take to become a respiratory therapist?

Becoming a respiratory therapist isn’t a decision that you can make overnight. It takes time, dedication, empathy, self-control, and so much more.

Is respiratory therapy not right for you? Browse through the rest of our site from our ways to raise your income and improve your life.