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Respiratory Therapists

Take a breath and choose a good career in respiratory therapy.

When a person experiences breathing difficulties, a physician likely will order care from a respiratory therapist. Simply put, respiratory therapists assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders, with patients as young as infants to the elderly. Respiratory therapists initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures and treatments; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check and operate diagnostic equipment. 

 Coordinating with a patient's general physician , many respiratory therapists have a long-term relationship with their patient depending on the nature of the medical condition. 

The number of Respiratory Therapists needed will increase 32 percent by 2028 with annual job opening of 241!


32% growth

Retirements 83 Transfers 76 Growth 82

Even at the entry-level, Respiratory Therapists earn $10,000 more per year than the median for all occupations in the region!

Entry $50,660 Median $60,194 Experienced $66,782

Start Early and Be Prepared!

High School Endorsement: Public Service | STEM

High school students should strive for a high GPA that will provide them with an edge and advanced math and science courses if possible. Courses specific to the field of respiratory therapy are also helpful which include cardiopulmonary physiology, respiratory pharmacology and cardiopulmonary diagnostics.

Figure out: is this right for you?

These skills, interests, and knowledge areas are recommended for a career as a respiratory therapist. The following data describes the relative importance of each knowledge/skill area from the opinion of those in the industry.


Customer & Personal Service

Meeting the expected quality of customer satisfaction when interacting with customer and potential customers.



Everything surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of human injuries and ailments, including symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures


Problem Sensitivity & Reasoning

The ability to pinpoint and evaluate a current or future problem, finding its source, causation, and a potential solution


Problem Comprehension

The ability to evaluate a potential or occurring problem to understand it's causes and effects.


*Source: Texas Career Check.

Pathway to Becoming a Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists are regulated and licensed by the state similar to that of registered nurses and doctors.

Anyone pursuing a career as a respiratory therapist must have an associate's degree or higher from an accredited entry or advanced level respiratory therapy education program and pass a certifying exam. There are two levels of certification administered by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). The entry-level certification is Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). Once achieving CRT status, persons who have graduated from an advanced level program may seek advanced certification as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).

The RRT examination is typically required for employment in advanced respiratory therapy positions. Many employers, however, prefer the RRT credential and may include this as a minimum requirement. Additional information about obtaining respiratory therapy credentials is available at National Board of Respiratory Care, and the Committee for Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

In Texas, persons seeking a career in respiratory therapy must qualify for a state license. Requirements for a license in Texas are:

  • High school graduation or the equivalent
  • Graduation from an accredited respiratory care education program
  • Successful completion and recognition as a CRT or RRT by the National Board of Respiratory Care
  • Completion of Texas licensing application and payment of licensing fee. Additional state licensing information can be found at Texas Department of State Health Services.

Advancement Opportunities

Although the minimum requirement to become a CRT is an associate's degree, higher level programs resulting in a bachelor's or master's degree open opportunities to specialize areas such as intensive care units and supervisory positions. Advanced career opportunities also exist in the pharmaceutical, home health and medical device industry.

Certifications can also demonstrate specialized education and capabilities which can lead to career advancement as well. For a list of relevant certifications, click here

Gulf Coast Region Respiratory Therapy Programs

Gulf Coast Region Respiratory therapy programsCommunity Colleges


Major Employers in the Gulf Coast Region


If you have questions about our Industry/Occupation Profiles or are an organization in the Gulf Coast Region, please contact

*Includes the following counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.

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