Health Career Profiles

Respiratory Therapist

Career Description

Respiratory therapists are health care professionals who provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to patients requiring basic and complex cardiopulmonary services. Respiratory therapists assess the cardio-respiratory systems of patients, perform and interpret diagnostic breathing and blood tests, and develop and implement respiratory therapy care plans for clients.

Part of a respiratory therapist’s role includes operating, maintaining and inspecting respiratory therapy equipment such as ventilators, anesthetic machines, oxygen delivery devices and other equipment. They also monitor and evaluate patient progress. Some respiratory therapists provide services to the general patient population, while others specialize in a specific area such as neonatal, palliative, rehabilitation, pulmonary function, or sleep labs.

Academic and Licensing Requirements

  • High School diploma with 5 university preparatory courses including English, math and 2 sciences (Chemistry and Biology or Physics)
  • Completion of a 4 year Bachelor of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy or diploma after 3 years
  • Passing grade on the National Certification Examination

To work as a Respiratory Therapist in Nova Scotia, registration and licensing with the Nova Scotia College of Respiratory Therapists is required.

Where to study in Nova Scotia