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Respiratory therapists

OaSIS code 32103.01

Respiratory therapists assist physicians in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. Respiratory therapists who are supervisors or instructors are included in this occupation.


Also known as

  • Registered respiratory therapist (RRT)
  • Respiratory therapist

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Perform diagnostic tests, such as arterial blood gas analysis and cardiopulmonary functions tests
  • Operate and monitor respiratory equipment to administer treatments such as oxygen, oxygen-air mixtures, humidified air or specialty medical gases
  • Operate, monitor, maintain and test a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment
  • Perform or assist with interventions such as airway maintenance, line insertions, inductions and intubations, and manage patients and associated equipment
  • Execute anesthesia assistance services
  • Perform artificial respiration and external cardiac massage
  • Evaluate and monitor patients’ cardiorespiratory conditions
  • Provide and optimize patients’ mechanical ventilation
  • Assist with transport of high-risk patients
  • May prepare and administer authorized medications
  • Supervise and train students and other respiratory therapists
  • Participate in home care programs for chronic respiratory patients and provide patient and family education
  • Participate in research related to cardiac and pulmonary disorders.

Additional information

  • Supervisory and instructor positions in this unit group require experience in their respective fields as a respiratory therapist, clinical perfusionist or cardiopulmonary technologist.
  • Respiratory therapists may work in specific areas of practice such as anesthesia, critical care, neonatal and pediatrics, cardiopulmonary diagnostics, respiratory home and community care, research and private health industry.

Similar occupations classified elsewhere


  • Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (32109)

NOC hierarchy breakdown

NOC version

NOC 2021 Version 1.0

Broad occupational category

3 – Health occupations


2 – Occupations usually require a college diploma or apprenticeship training of two or more years; or supervisory occupations

Major group

32 – Technical occupations in health

Sub-major group

321 – Technical occupations in health (except practitioners of natural healing)

Minor group

3210 – Technical occupations in therapy and assessment

Unit group

32103 – Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists

Occupational profile

32103.01 – Respiratory therapists

Work characteristics

Work characteristics gathers the various components describing the work environment of each occupation, such as employers, work activities, and the work context. Each category displays up to 10 descriptors in descending order based, firstly, on their attributed ratings by the level of complexity (for Work Activities) or other measurement dimensions (for Work Context), and secondly, in alphabetical order. The whole list of descriptors and their ratings can be expanded at the bottom of each page.

Work Activities

Proficiency or complexity level
Assisting and Caring for Others
5 - Highest Level
Clerical Activities
5 - Highest Level
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
5 - Highest Level
Analyzing Data or Information
4 - High Level
Applying New Knowledge
4 - High Level

Work Context

Structural Job Characteristics

Structured versus Unstructured Work
Degree of freedom to determine tasks and priorities
3 - Moderate amount of freedom
Work Week Duration
Worked hours in a typical week
2 - Between 35 to 40 hours

Physical Work Environment

Physical Proximity
Physical distance from others
5 - Physically touching or very close

Physical Demands

2 - Less than half the time
4 - More than half the time
Bending or Twisting the Body
3 - About half the time

Interpersonal Relations

Contact with Others
4 - Every day, a few times per day
4 - More than half the time
Work with Work Group or Team
4 - Highly important
4 - Every day, a few times per day


  • Extended care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Public health centres
  • Respiratory home care companies

Skills and abilities

This section displays the various competencies required for an occupation. Each category displays up to 10 descriptors in descending order based, firstly, on their attributed ratings by the level of proficiency (for Skills and Abilities) or importance (for Personal Attributes) and secondly, in alphabetical order. The whole list of descriptors and their ratings can be expanded at the bottom of each page.


Proficiency or complexity level
Arm-Hand Steadiness
3 - Moderate Level
Auditory Attention
3 - Moderate Level
Categorization Flexibility
3 - Moderate Level
Colour Perception
3 - Moderate Level
Control of Settings
3 - Moderate Level


Proficiency or complexity level
4 - High Level
Operation and Control
4 - High Level
Operation Monitoring of Machinery and Equipment
4 - High Level
Oral Communication: Oral Expression
4 - High Level
Critical Thinking
3 - Moderate Level

Personal Attributes

5 - Extremely important
Attention to Detail
5 - Extremely important
Concern for Others
5 - Extremely important
Stress Tolerance
5 - Extremely important
Active Learning
4 - Highly important