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Home > Healthcare Professionals > Medical Education and Allied Health Programs > Allied Health > Respiratory Care > About Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory Therapists are Allied Health professionals who work with patients to help diagnose, treat and prevent lung disease. Treatments may consist of providing mechanical ventilation to a patient who is having severe difficulty breathing, or providing supplemental oxygen to a person suffering from emphysema, or assisting a premature infant with the first breaths of life.
Respiratory Therapists work along side of nurses, physicians, and other allied health professionals to provide direct patient care. They are the only allied health professionals who are specially trained to use life-support equipment such as mechanical ventilators. Respiratory Therapists are a part of the emergency response team in the hospital, taking action to aid a person’s breathing when they are in distress.
According to Salary.com, the average starting base income in the Delaware Valley area is approximately $50,000 per year for a full-time position. This does not include a shift differential or over-time pay which is often available. Hospitals usually offer generous benefit packages to their employees, as well.
Most Respiratory Therapists work in hospitals. Within the hospital, they work with all age groups…from a premature infant’s first breath, to a great-grandfather’s last breath, and every age in between. A Respiratory Therapist may initially meet a patient in the Emergency Department where they came for severe shortness of breath. Then, may be followed up to the Intensive Care Unit, where they will continue to be taken care of by a Respiratory Therapist. They may work in a diagnostic area in a hospital to measure blood oxygen levels or the volume of air in the lungs.
Home health companies may employ Respiratory Therapists to assist patients with lung disease in their own homes.
With continuing improvements in technology, Respiratory Therapists may choose to work with equipment companies to sell and/or train current Respiratory Therapists with new technology.
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