What to expect from a career as a Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapy is a popular career choice for those wishing to enter the health care field. Respiratory therapy programs at Ontario colleges prepare students to apply for certification to become registered respiratory therapists. From there, graduates can work in both home care and public health care settings, assisting patients with cardiopulmonary abnormalities or deficiencies.

If you’re interested in helping people in need and can see yourself specializing in respiratory care, here’s what you need to know.

Respiratory Therapy Courses

Ontario college respiratory therapy programs combine in-class theory with hands-on training and lab work. Core courses in anatomy and physiology provide a foundational knowledge of the human body, while classes on arterial blood gases and anesthesia give information targeted to respiratory therapy.

Practical classes such as cardiac function testing, mechanical ventilation and respiratory care procedures will help you build the skills you need to assess and treat patients. You will then put these skills into practice through a clinical placement or hospital practicum.

General Respiratory Therapy Program Requirements

Respiratory therapy programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, including a grade 12 English and grade 12 mathematics credit. Additional senior science credits will be required but will vary by institution, so be sure to check each institution’s requirements closely.

A medical history and background check may also be required.

Note: To become a licensed respiratory therapist, graduates of respiratory therapy programs must complete the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) certification exam. Graduates may also wish to continue their education in a graduate studies program specializing in anesthesia assistance (or other health care program).

Respiratory Therapy Jobs and Salaries

Certified respiratory therapists have the option to specialize in adult or child care, and also have a number of different care settings available to them. These include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Emergency / Operating rooms
  • Intensive care units
  • Neonatal nurseries
  • Community care facilities

Other career opportunities can be found in sales, maintenance, education and consulting positions.

The average starting salary for respiratory therapy graduates is roughly $50,000, with the potential to increase with experience and skill level.

Ontario Colleges Offering Respiratory Therapy Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of respiratory therapy programs at Ontario colleges.

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