Respiratory therapists, also known as respiratory care practitioners, address breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. These essential healthcare workers evaluate and treat all types of patients, ranging from premature infants with underdeveloped lungs to elderly people suffering from disease. They may provide care for chronic conditions such as asthma or emphysema and also work in emergency care to assist victims of stroke, drowning, shock and other situations.
These professionals are increasingly in demand and an important part of the healthcare team. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, faster-than-average employment growth is projected for respiratory therapists. Job opportunities should be very good, especially for respiratory therapists with cardiopulmonary care skills or experience working with infants. A professional license is required to provide clinical services in this field.