Respiratory Therapist Interview Guide

Respiratory therapists (RTs) play a vital role in the healthcare system. As an RT, you provide essential support to patients who need help with breathing, manage chronic respiratory diseases, and work through acute respiratory crises. As the demand for skilled respiratory therapists grows, it’s important to be prepared for job interviews in this competitive field.

As a travel respiratory therapist especially, interviewing well is very important to impress potential employers and secure the best opportunities. Whether you’re seeking a position in a hospital, a clinic, or a long-term care center, we will help equip you with the knowledge and confidence needed to make a great impression.

What Is a Respiratory Therapist?

A respiratory therapist is a highly trained medical professional who specializes in evaluating and treating people with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. RTs play a crucial role in ensuring improving the health and survival of individuals with breathing problems.

Some responsibilities of respiratory therapists responsibilities include:

  • Assessing patients’ respiratory conditions
  • Creating individualized treatment plans
  • Administering respiratory therapies
  • Monitoring patient progress and making adjustments to treatment plans as needed
  • Educating patients and their families about respiratory health and providing guidance on how to manage and prevent respiratory issues

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Becoming a respiratory therapist is very rewarding, but will require you to put in some hard work. Respiratory therapist education requirements include obtaining a college-level degree and obtaining certification by passing a National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) exam.

While you can become a therapist by just getting an associate’s degree and passing the NBRC exam, you can further your career opportunities by earning a bachelor’s degree or even a postgraduate degree in the field. There are also other advanced certifications that you can earn as an RT to further enhance your professional reputation.

Types of Respiratory Therapist Interview Questions

There are two core types of interview questions that you are likely to get while interviewing for an RT position. One is general questions that have the goal of giving the interviewer insights into you personally. This helps them know how hard you will work, how you will fit into their team, and how you handle interpersonal differences.

The other type of respiratory therapist interview questions you are likely to encounter are technical questions. These questions will evaluate your competence and experience as a respiratory therapist. While some questions may evaluate both your personal and professional fit for the position, most will be focused on one or the other.

General Respiratory Therapist Interview Questions

General respiratory therapist interview questions will not be specific to your role as a respiratory therapist, instead focusing on you as a person to see if you will be a good fit for the employer’s culture. Some common questions you may encounter include:

  • Tell me about yourself – Provide a summary of your professional background, focusing on your experience and skills as they relate to the role, but in a personable way.
  • Why did you choose to become a respiratory therapist? – Explain your motivation for pursuing a career in respiratory therapy, highlighting your passion for helping patients and your interest in the field.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? – Share your personal and professional goals, demonstrating your commitment to professional growth and development.
  • How do you handle disagreements at work? – Explain your approach to resolving conflicts professionally, focusing on open communication and finding mutually beneficial solutions.
  • How do you cope with the emotional demands of your job? – Explain your strategies for managing the emotional aspects of the job, demonstrating that you are self-aware of the impact emotionally demanding situations have.
  • How do you handle a patient who is unhappy with their care? – Share your approach to addressing patient concerns, focusing on how you work collaboratively to find a suitable solution.
  • Why are you interested in working in this role? – Share enthusiasm for the specific organization and role, highlighting their mission or values as well as why the role appeals to you.
  • What is an achievement that you are most proud of? – Share a personal or professional achievement that highlights your skill or experience relevant to the role.

Technical Respiratory Therapist Interview Questions

Technical respiratory therapist interview questions are intended to see how skilled and knowledgeable you are in your field. If you have a few years of experience, answering these questions using specific experiences to illustrate your response is often ideal. Some example questions and potential approaches to answering them include:

  • What experience do you have working with respiratory patients? – Describe specific situations or cases where you have provided respiratory care, showcasing your hands-on experience and expertise.
  • Describe a challenging case you have encountered and how you managed it – Share a specific case that highlights your problem-solving skills, clinical knowledge, and ability to adapt to complex situations.
  • What experience do you have with respiratory equipment and technology? – Discuss your familiarity with various types of equipment, focusing on the most advanced or rarely used types of equipment that you have encountered.
  • What is your experience with pediatric and neonatal patients? – Describe your experience working with younger patients, highlighting your ability to adapt your care approach to suit their unique needs.
  • Can you discuss a time when you had to advocate for a patient? – Share a specific example that demonstrates your ability to speak up for the patient’s needs and how you always keep the patient’s needs in mind.
  • What qualities do you believe are essential to be a successful respiratory therapist? – Discuss the key attributes you think are crucial in this profession, including technical expertise, but focusing on empathy and soft skills.
  • What respiratory conditions do you have the most experience with? – Provide an overview of the respiratory disorders you have familiar with, including uncommon conditions as well as common ones.
  • How do you prioritize your workload when managing multiple patients? – Describe your time management and organizational skills.

Respiratory Therapist Sample Resume

Having a high-quality resume is important for getting an initial interview. While everyone’s resume will be slightly different, a typical respiratory therapist’s resume will follow a format similar to the following:

Respiratory Therapy Sample Resume

[Your Name]

[City, State]

[Phone Number] | [Email Address]


[1-2 sentences describing your professional objectives]


[Degree Earned: Associate’s/Bachelors in Respiratory Therapy]

[Name of the Institution], [City, State]

[Graduation Month, Year]

Professional Licensure and Certifications

Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) – National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC)

[Optional: Add any additional certifications such as Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) or other relevant certifications]

Professional Experience

[Job title]

[Name of the Healthcare Facility], [City, State]

[Start Date] – [End Date]

[Describe your key responsibilities, e.g., Administered respiratory treatments and therapies to patients with acute and chronic respiratory conditions]

[Highlight your accomplishments or specific skills used, e.g., Collaborated with interdisciplinary teams to create patient-centered care plans]

[Include any other relevant experience, e.g., Educated patients and families on respiratory care and management]

[Repeat for additional work experiences]

Clinical Rotations

[List the facilities where you completed your clinical rotations, with brief descriptions of the experiences and skills acquired]

[Name of the Healthcare Facility], [City, State]

[Name of the Healthcare Facility], [City, State]


[List relevant skills, e.g., Strong patient assessment and care planning skills]

[Include technical skills, e.g., Proficient in operating ventilators and other respiratory equipment]

[Mention soft skills, e.g., Excellent communication and teamwork abilities]

Professional Memberships

[List any professional organizations you are a member of, e.g., American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)]

Ace Your Next Respiratory Therapist Interview

By anticipating the questions you are likely to be asked and preparing answers that highlight your skills, empathetic approach, and positive personality traits, you will be well-equipped to ace your next interview and get the job you’ve always wanted! See what opportunities await you by searching our open RT jobs.

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