32103 – Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists



32103 – Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
Respiratory therapists assist physicians in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. 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. Respiratory therapists are employed in hospitals, extended care facilities, public health centres, sleep, private or dental clinics and respiratory home care companies. 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 unit group.


Index of titles
Anesthesia assistant
Anesthesia technologist
Cardiopulmonary technician
Cardiopulmonary technologist
Cardiopulmonary technology instructor
Cardiopulmonary technology supervisor
Cardiovascular perfusion clinical instructor
Cardiovascular perfusion instructor
Cardiovascular perfusion supervisor
Cardiovascular perfusion technologist
Cardiovascular perfusionist
Certified clinical perfusionist (CCP)
Chief perfusionist
Chief respiratory technologist
Clinical perfusion clinical instructor
Clinical perfusion supervisor
Clinical perfusionist
Extracorporal circulation technologist
Extracorporal technician
Extracorporal technologist
Inhalation technologist
Oxygen therapy technician
Perfusion technologist
Polysomnographic technologist
Pulmonary function technologist
Registered respiratory care practitioner
Registered respiratory therapist (RRT)
Respiratory care practitioner
Respiratory technician
Respiratory technologist
Respiratory therapist
Respiratory therapy chief
Respiratory therapy clinical instructor
Respiratory therapy supervisor


Main duties
This group performs some or all of the following duties:

Respiratory therapists
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.

Clinical perfusionists
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 anaesthetists 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 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.


Employment requirements
Respiratory therapists require the completion of a three-year college or university degree program in respiratory therapy, both including clinical training.
Licensing is required for respiratory therapists in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
A national certification for respiratory therapists is available for therapists working in Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
In Quebec, a certificate is required for respiratory therapists to prescribe smoking cessation medication.
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.


Additional information
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.
Supervisory and instructor positions in this unit group require experience in their respective fields as a respiratory therapist, clinical perfusionist or cardiopulmonary technologist.


Other medical technologists and technicians (32129)
Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (32109)