Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists, and Cardiopulmonary Technologists

(NOC 3214)

in All Health

Respiratory therapists assist physicians in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. They are employed in hospitals, extended care facilities, public health centres and respiratory home care companies. Clinical perfusionists provide technical support to patients undergoing cardiac surgery and patients requiring cardio-respiratory support. Cardiopulmonary technologists assist physicians in the technical aspects of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. Clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists are primarily employed in hospitals. Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists who are supervisors or instructors are included in this group.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 20 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 275. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists, and Cardiopulmonary Technologists most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. Also, a large percentage of the workforce is self-employed which should be an important consideration for those thinking about employment in the occupation.

The median employment income for 59% of Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists, and Cardiopulmonary Technologists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $68,939. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$24.04

Minimum

$31.75

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$17,805

Minimum

$58,457

Median

$78,937

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$25.50

Median

$41.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Respiratory therapists assist physicians in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. They are employed in hospitals, extended care facilities, public health centres and respiratory home care companies.

Clinical perfusionists provide technical support to patients undergoing cardiac surgery and patients requiring cardio-respiratory support. Cardiopulmonary technologists assist physicians in the technical aspects of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. Clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists are primarily employed in hospitals.

Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists who are supervisors or instructors are included in this group.

Job duties

Respiratory therapists perform 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 medications.
  • Operate, monitor, maintain and test a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment.
  • Assess patients and perform or assist with interventions such as airway maintenance, line insertions, inductions and intubations.
  • Perform artificial respiration and external cardiac massage.
  • Assist with transport of high-risk patients.
  • 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.

Clinical perfusionists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Assemble, maintain and operate extracorporeal circulation equipment, intra-aortic balloon pumps and other heart assist devices to support or temporarily replace patients' cardiopulmonary functions during open-heart surgery.
  • Administer blood products, drugs and other substances through heart-lung machines and other devices as directed by cardiac surgeons and anesthetists to maintain adequate flow of oxygenated blood to all organs of the body.
  • Monitor vital signs to support and maintain patients' physiological functions and metabolic needs during cardiopulmonary surgery.
  • Participate in routine maintenance, calibration and inspection of all perfusion related equipment.
  • Supervise and train student clinical perfusionists and other clinical perfusionists.

Cardiopulmonary technologists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Perform diagnostic tests, such as pulmonary function and asthma stress, or assist physicians with cardiac and cardiopulmonary stress tests and bronchoscopies.
  • Determine patients' blood characteristics such as activated clotting time and oxygen saturation.
  • Operate, monitor, maintain, calibrate and test diagnostic and therapeutic equipment.
  • Monitor patients and advise physician of any changes in patients' condition.
  • Prepare medications and administer inhaler and other treatments under supervision of cardiologist.
  • Provide information and care for patients during tests.
  • Assist with the preparation of cardiac catheterization room, prepare specialized catheters and assist cardiologists during catheterization.
  • Perform analysis, programming and monitoring of implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators during surgery.
  • Supervise and train students and other cardiopulmonary technologists.
  • Provide technical support for research. // Respiratory therapists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, critical care, pediatrics, cardiopulmonary diagnostics and respiratory home care.

Sample job titles

  • anesthesia technologist
  • cardiopulmonary technician
  • certified clinical perfusionist (CCP)
  • perfusionist
  • pulmonary function technologist
  • registered respiratory therapist (RRT)
  • respiratory care practitioner
  • respiratory technician
  • respiratory technologist
  • respiratory therapy clinical instructor

Skills

To work in these fields, you should be interested in medicine and health. Manual dexterity and good coordination are necessary. You must be able to deal with people in a mature, tactful, and professional way. You should also be comfortable working with instruments, apparatus, and technology. A background in science would be helpful.

Job requirements

  • Respiratory therapists require the completion of a three-year college, hospital or university degree program in respiratory therapy, including clinical training.
  • Registration with a provincial regulatory body is required for respiratory therapists.
  • Clinical perfusionists require the completion of a respiratory therapy or registered nursing program with a minimum of one year of work experience as a respiratory therapist or registered nurse and completion of a college or university program in clinical perfusion, including clinical training.
  • Certification with the Canadian Society of Clinical Perfusion is required for clinical perfusionists.
  • Cardiopulmonary technologists require a two-year college diploma in an allied health discipline such as respiratory therapy, nursing diploma, or a university degree in a related science and completion of a college post-diploma program in cardiovascular technology and additional training in pulmonary technology through courses or supervised on-the-job clinical training.
  • Registration with the Canadian Association of Cardio-pulmonary Technologists (CACPT) may be required.

Other considerations

Although the majority of people in these jobs are employed full-time, part-time and casual work arrangements are common. Shift-work is common in these jobs. Supervisory and instructor positions in this group require experience in their respective fields as a respiratory therapist, clinical perfusionist or cardiopulmonary technologist.

By the numbers

Quick look

260

employed in 2016

71.4%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

83.9%
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16.1%
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40.6

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

77.1%

employed full-time

10.2%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

62.5%

Halifax

10.7%

Cape Breton

10.7%

Annapolis Valley

8.9%

Southern

8.9%

Northern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

96.2%

Health Care and Social Assistance

3.8%

Other Industries

What is the age of Employment?

33.3%

25-34

33.3%

35-44

16.7%

45-54

6.7%

15-24

Compared to: All Health

31.4%

45-54

27.6%

35-44

20.5%

55-64

15.2%

25-34

4.9%

65+

Top levels of education

49.1%

Bachelor's degree

$25,907 median annual income
21.1%

College certificate or diploma

$28,283 median annual income
10.5%

University advanced certificate or diploma

N/A
8.8%

University certificate or diploma

$15,847 median annual income
5.3%

High school

N/A

Compared to: All Health

39.4%

College certificate or diploma

$36,693 median annual income
27.6%

Bachelor's degree

$57,186 median annual income
7.2%

Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry

$83,000 median annual income
6.9%

High school

$24,119 median annual income
5.1%

Master's degree

$87,808 median annual income

Education & training

Respiratory care therapy/therapist

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of physicians, to assist in developing respiratory care plans, administer respiratory care procedures, supervise personnel and equipment operation, maintain records, and consult with other health care team members. These programs include courses in the applied basic biomedical sciences; anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the respiratory system; clinical medicine; therapeutic procedures; clinical expressions; data collection and record-keeping; patient communication; equipment operation and maintenance; personnel supervision; and procedures for special population groups.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Respiratory Therapist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Respiratory Therapists
1959 Upper Water Street, Suite 1301
Halifax, NS B3J 3N2
(902) 423-3229
(902) 422-2388

Contacts

National Alliance of Respiratory Therapy Regulatory Bodies
1440, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, bureau 721
Montreal, QC H3G 1R8
Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists
201-2460 Lancaster Road
Ottawa, ON K1B 4S5
Tel: (800) 267-3422
Fax: (613) 521-4314
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Job postings

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