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How Do I Become a Respiratory Therapy Assistant?

YaShekia King
YaShekia King

Respiratory therapist assistants are healthcare professionals who help respiratory therapists to care for patients who struggle with heart and breathing issues. An individual who wishes to become a respiratory therapy assistant needs to complete two years of post-secondary training to gain the best job opportunities in the industry. These professionals must handle pressure well, be organized, and be willing to take direction from supervisors, who include physicians.

If you want to become a respiratory therapy assistant, you should consider completing a two-year associate degree program at a vocational school or technical college. Getting into this type of program requires submission of your high school diploma or the equivalent certification. Your school additionally will ask you to fill out an admissions form and might require that you provide a copy of your high school transcript before you can begin learning how to become a respiratory therapist assistant.

A respiratory therapy assistant must learn how to use a bag valve mask.
A respiratory therapy assistant must learn how to use a bag valve mask.

A variety of medical classes will teach you how different body systems work during respiratory care aide training. You should specifically study the anatomy and function of the respiratory system as well as that of the closely involved cardiovascular system, which includes the heart. Airway management additionally is an important course that explains how to use industry devices to successfully complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This process involves giving a victim chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing if the person is not taking in air correctly and his or her blood circulation is poor. Most employers require that a person who wishes to become a respiratory therapy assistant be certified in this skill area.

Clinical opportunities during a training program to become a respiratory health assistant will give you firsthand experience in this field. You are often required to successfully complete these practicums before you can graduate. They help you to sharpen your skills on maintaining data on patients’ health statuses and demonstrating to patients how to use respiratory equipment at home. Your responsibilities also include regularly assisting respiratory therapists, who are responsible for monitoring patients with breathing difficulties and administering medications to them as indicated.

After completing real-world learning opportunities during a respiratory training program, you must begin looking for jobs in this field. You need to contact your training institution to find out about hospitals near you that are searching for someone who wants to become a respiratory therapy assistant. During interviews with potential supervisors, you should emphasize your skills with setting up respiratory equipment and completing administrative tasks to help to keep track of vital patient data.

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Discussion Comments


@ocelot60- I think that it is actually a good strategy that would allow your relative to get valuable experience in respiratory therapy while she pursues a higher degree. Not only will a respiratory therapy assistant position pay pretty well, but many of the credits and classes needed are probably ones that your relative will be able to use towards becoming a therapist.

As an assistant in this field, your relative will also learn what an actual respiratory therapist does. This experiences will help your relative decide if she really wants to pursue a higher degree, or if she is happy being an assistant.


I have a relative who wants to become a respiratory therapist, but she has to work to pay her way through school. Right now, she is working as a waitress but would like to find a better paying job so she doesn't have to take out student loans. Is it a good idea for her to become a respiratory therapy assistant first so she can work in the field while she is earning a higher degree? Or would it be a waste of time and money to pursue this type of degree first?

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    • A respiratory therapy assistant must learn how to use a bag valve mask.
      By: Leonid Smirnov
      A respiratory therapy assistant must learn how to use a bag valve mask.