You may have been treated by a respiratory therapist or be interested in becoming one and therefore wonder how much they are paid. It is worth investigating what their job is and what qualifications and skills they have as well as how much they get paid.
What does Respiratory Therapist do?
A respiratory therapist will treat people who have problems with breathing or heart and lung problems. These could include premature babies who have underdeveloped lungs as well as adults with various conditions such as asthma, COPD or cystic fibrosis.
As part of the job the therapist will work with other medical staff to decide on the best course of treatment for the patient. They will perform examinations and tests to evaluate then and they will treat them using oxygen, chest physiotherapy and medications. They will use ventilators to treat those patients that cannot breathe on their own and regularly check the patients and the equipment. They will also supervise therapy technicians.
Obviously they will need good communication skills both to talk to other staff as well as the patients and their families. Being able to diagnose a condition and together with a team decide on the best treatment is very important. Being flexible and able to respond to changes in condition and new information from team members is very important. It will also be necessary to keep skills up to date as things can change in medicine with regards to new research and medication which all staff will need to be aware of.
What Education and Skills are Required?
There are many possible training courses offered in universities and colleges available as well as courses in the armed forces. The training will give practical experience as well theory and credits will be earned towards a qualification, which is normally a degree. Subjects studied will include human anatomy and physiology, physics, chemistry, pharmacology, maths and microbiology.  It is common for someone to already be working in healthcare before taking this qualification so that they already have some knowledge, perhaps in a broader sense. They may be a doctor or nurse and will then take a degree or diploma course in order to specialise in this area. It is possible to take a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Physiology at some institutions which will have a specialist option in respiratory physiology. There are also Master’s degrees available in related areas such as Clinical Respiratory Physiology, Advanced Cardiology, Respiratory Disease Management and Respiratory Care.
How much does a Respiratory Therapist Earn?
The salary will change according to experience and there is a London weighting added on for those working in London and the outskirts of London. The starting salary is likely to be around £23,747 and after some experience it could rise up to as much as £43,453. The average salary tends to be around £32,000. These figures will change if the work is for the NHS, the armed forces or in a private practice. In the NHS they will fit into their pay bands, but working for the armed forces or a private practice will have a different system.