Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists, and Cardiopulmonary Technologists

(NOC 3214)

in All Health

Respiratory therapists work with health care teams to diagnose, treat, educate, and promote wellness in patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. They work for hospitals, extended care facilities, public health centres, and respiratory home care companies. Respiratory therapists may specialize in areas like anesthesia, critical care, pediatrics, cardiopulmonary diagnostics, and respiratory home care. Clinical perfusionists provide technical support to patients undergoing cardiac surgery and patients requiring cardio-respiratory support. Cardiopulmonary technologists help 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, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 10 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

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 so job opportunities may not be that frequent. 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 moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists, and Cardiopulmonary Technologists most commonly work full-time hours.

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

$25.00

Minimum

$31.00

Median

$37.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$17,805

Minimum

$58,457

Median

$78,937

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Respiratory therapists work with health care teams to diagnose, treat, educate, and promote wellness in patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. They work for hospitals, extended care facilities, public health centres, and respiratory home care companies. Respiratory therapists may specialize in areas like anesthesia, critical care, pediatrics, cardiopulmonary diagnostics, and respiratory home care.

Clinical perfusionists provide technical support to patients undergoing cardiac surgery and patients requiring cardio-respiratory support. Cardiopulmonary technologists help 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:

  • Complete diagnostic tests like arterial blood gas analysis and cardiopulmonary functions tests.
  • Use and monitor respiratory equipment to administer treatments like oxygen, oxygen-air mixtures, humidified air, or medications.
  • Use, monitor, maintain, and test a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment.
  • Assess patients and complete or assist with interventions like airway maintenance, line insertions, inductions, and intubations.
  • Do artificial respiration and external cardiac massage.
  • Help 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:

  • Assemble, maintain, and run 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:

  • Complete diagnostic tests like pulmonary function and asthma stress or help physicians with cardiac and cardiopulmonary stress tests and bronchoscopies.
  • Determine patients' blood characteristics like activated clotting time and oxygen saturation.
  • Use, 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.
  • Help prepare cardiac catheterization room, prepare specialized catheters, and help cardiologists during catheterization.
  • Analyze, program, and monitor implanted devices like pacemakers and defibrillators during surgery.
  • Supervise and train students and other cardiopulmonary technologists.
  • Provide technical support for research.

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

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 like 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

While most 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

280

employed in 2016

73.2%

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

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

61.4%

Halifax

10.5%

Cape Breton

10.5%

Annapolis Valley

8.8%

Southern

8.8%

North Shore

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

100.0%

Health care and social assistance

What is the age of Employment?

24.0%

35-44

22.0%

45-54

22.0%

25-34

16.0%

15-24

16.0%

55-64

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

50.0%

Bachelor

$58,441 median annual income
21.4%

College Diploma

$54,504 median annual income
10.7%

Diploma Above Bachelor

N/A
8.9%

Diploma Below Bachelor

N/A
7.1%

High school

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Respiratory Therapist

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs prepare students, under the supervision of physicians, to help develop respiratory care plans, administer respiratory care procedures, supervise staff and equipment operation, maintain records, and consult with other health care team members. They 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

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Respiratory Therapist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

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
Montreal, QC
Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists
Ottawa, ON
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
Bedford, NS