Monday, May 20, 2024

Path to Becoming a Respiratory Therapist in Nigeria

Last Updated on August 10, 2023


Respiratory therapy plays a vital role in healthcare, especially in a country like Nigeria where respiratory diseases are prevalent.

Also, respiratory therapists are specialized healthcare professionals who care for patients with respiratory conditions, providing diagnostic tests and treatments to improve their lung function and overall well-being.

Respiratory therapy involves the assessment, treatment, and management of patients with breathing and lung disorders.

Therapists work closely with physicians to develop care plans, administer oxygen, conduct breathing exercises, and monitor patients’ response to therapy.

They also educate patients on self-care and provide emotional support throughout the treatment process.

Respiratory therapists are an essential part of the healthcare team, particularly in managing respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia.

They help patients breathe better and improve their quality of life by reducing symptoms, preventing complications, and optimizing lung function.

Their expertise in pulmonary rehabilitation also aids in the recovery process.

Nigeria is experiencing an increasing demand for respiratory therapists due to the rising cases of respiratory diseases and the need for comprehensive respiratory care.

With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the importance of respiratory health, the demand for skilled therapists to assist in the treatment and management of patients is at an all-time high.

Consequently, there is a growing need to train and equip more respiratory therapists in Nigeria to meet this demand.

Basically, respiratory therapy is a crucial aspect of healthcare in Nigeria. By providing specialized care, respiratory therapists contribute significantly to the well-being of patients with respiratory conditions and improve the overall quality of healthcare in the country.

With the growing demand for respiratory therapists, it is imperative to invest in their training and development to ensure a competent workforce that can address the respiratory healthcare needs of the population effectively.

Educational Requirements

To become a Nigerian respiratory therapist, achieve these steps:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy or related field for foundational knowledge.

  • Meet academic requisites: Five credits in subjects like English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.

  • Secure additional certifications like the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) for competency validation.

  • Attain state license by passing a state/national exam and fulfilling regulatory criteria.

  • Engage in continuous education and professional development to stay updated with evolving healthcare practices.

  • Gain practical experience through clinical rotations, internships, refining patient care skills and critical thinking.

Read: Personal Stories: A Day in the Life of Nigerian Nursing Assistants

Training Programs

Training programs for respiratory therapy in Nigeria are expanding, with accredited institutions offering comprehensive options:

  • University of Lagos: Four-year Bachelor’s program includes theoretical and practical courses, hands-on healthcare training.

  • University of Ibadan: Two-year diploma focuses on practical skills, clinical experience, patient assessment, treatment protocols.

  • Federal School of Respiratory Therapy, Lagos: One-year certificate for intensive respiratory care training, hands-on curriculum.

  • Short courses available at various centers and hospitals: Cover critical care, mechanical ventilation, pulmonary function testing.

Growing options cater to aspiring and practicing respiratory therapists, emphasizing hands-on training and practical skills.

Read: Career Advancement Opportunities for Nigerian Nursing Assistants

Curriculum and Coursework

In respiratory therapy programs, students undergo a comprehensive curriculum that equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to become successful respiratory therapists in Nigeria.

The coursework is designed to cover various subjects and provide practical training opportunities.

Overview of the Curriculum

  • Anatomy and Physiology: This subject lays the foundation by teaching students about the structure and function of the respiratory system.

  • Pharmacology: Students learn about different medications used in respiratory care, their actions, side effects, and administration techniques.

  • Respiratory Care Techniques: This course focuses on teaching students the skills required to assess, monitor, and treat patients with respiratory diseases.

  • Pulmonary Diagnostics: Students learn how to perform various diagnostic tests such as spirometry, arterial blood gas analysis, and radiographic imaging.

  • Patient Assessment: This subject helps students develop the skills to conduct thorough physical examinations and interpret patient data.

  • Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology: Students study the abnormal physiological processes that occur in the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

  • Respiratory Pharmacology: This course delves deeper into the pharmacological management of respiratory diseases.

  • Respiratory Care Management: Students learn how to develop care plans, provide patient education, and manage respiratory emergencies.

Practical Aspect of the Curriculum

The curriculum emphasizes hands-on experience to ensure that students are well-prepared for their future career as respiratory therapists. Practical training is provided through clinical rotations and internships.

  • Clinical Rotations: Students are assigned to different healthcare settings, such as hospitals or clinics, where they work under the supervision of experienced respiratory therapists. During these rotations, they apply their theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios, gaining valuable practical skills.

  • Internships: In addition to clinical rotations, students are required to complete internships in respiratory therapy departments. This allows them to work closely with professionals and further enhance their skills in a supportive and supervised environment.

During their clinical rotations and internships, students have the opportunity to observe and participate in various respiratory care procedures, including the administration of oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilator management, and airway clearance techniques.

They also gain experience in interacting with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals.

The curriculum and coursework in respiratory therapy programs in Nigeria offer a holistic approach to education, ensuring that students gain both theoretical and practical knowledge.

By covering a wide range of subjects and providing hands-on training, the programs prepare aspiring respiratory therapists for a fulfilling and successful career in respiratory care.

Read: A Day in the Life of a Nigerian Psychiatrist: An Insider’s Look

Path to Becoming a Respiratory Therapist in Nigeria

Licensing and Certification

Licensing in Nigeria requires these steps for respiratory therapists:

  • Complete accredited respiratory therapy program (diploma/degree) at recognized institution.

  • Apply for licensure via Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria (MRTBN), submitting transcripts, clinical training proof, fee.

  • Pass MRTBN’s licensing exam assessing therapy skills, knowledge for safe practice.

  • Optional: Pursue certification exams (e.g., CRT, RRT) from NBRC to enhance credentials.

  • Certification exams cover patient assessment, procedures, equipment, disease management with multiple-choice questions and skills assessments.

  • Maintain proficiency with continuing education via workshops, seminars, conferences for latest practices.

  • Regularly renew certifications to demonstrate competence, commitment to high-quality respiratory care, and professional growth.

  • Continuing education and certifications ensure evidence-based care, adaptation to evolving practices, and improved patient outcomes.

  • Professionals engaging in education and renewal reflect dedication, earn employers’ trust, and elevate respiratory care standards.

In essence license acquisition in Nigeria encompasses accredited education, MRTBN application, exam success, optional NBRC certification, continuous education, and certification renewal.

Read: Career Advancement for Psychologists in Nigeria

Career Opportunities and Job Outlook

Respiratory therapy flourishes in Nigeria with diverse career prospects:

  • Hospitals: Vital respiratory care for patients of all ages.

  • Clinics: Managing respiratory conditions.

  • Home care: Providing treatment at home.

  • Rehabilitation centers: Assisting lung function recovery.

  • Research and academia: Teaching, research roles.

High demand due to population growth, respiratory diseases, healthcare tech advancements.

Job outlook positive; demand expected to rise, aided by technology and health awareness.

COVID-19 emphasized respiratory therapists’ role, heightened need for skilled professionals.

In short, respiratory therapy offers fulfilling careers across sectors, driven by demand, tech, and health emphasis.

Salary and Benefits

In Nigeria, respiratory therapists earn ₦1,200,000 to ₦2,500,000 annually. Benefits include:

  • Health insurance for medical coverage.

  • Pension plan ensuring future financial stability.

  • Paid time off: sick leave, vacations.

  • Flexible work schedules for work-life balance.

  • Professional development opportunities for skill enhancement.

  • Professional association memberships for networking and industry updates.

Variations exist among institutions; larger organizations often offer comprehensive benefits.

In fact, Nigeria’s respiratory therapists enjoy competitive salaries and an array of benefits that contribute to their financial security, well-being, and professional growth.

Personal Qualities and Skills

  • Good communication skills are essential for a respiratory therapist to effectively interact with patients and their families.

  • Empathy is crucial in this profession as therapists need to understand the emotional needs and concerns of their patients.

  • Attention to detail is important to ensure accurate assessments, treatment plans, and monitoring of patients’ progress.

  • Problem-solving abilities enable therapists to analyze complex situations and make quick decisions to provide the best care.

  • The ability to work in a team is necessary as respiratory therapists often collaborate with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

  • Handling stressful situations effectively is a vital skill as therapists work in high-pressure environments such as emergency rooms or intensive care units.


The path to becoming a respiratory therapist in Nigeria is a promising and rewarding one.

Respiratory therapists play a vital role in the healthcare system, providing specialized care for patients with respiratory conditions.

By summarizing the path, we have seen that aspiring respiratory therapists need to complete a Bachelor’s degree program in respiratory therapy and pass the necessary licensing exams.

It is important to highlight that respiratory therapists are in high demand and the profession offers a fulfilling career with opportunities for growth and advancement.

Aspiring individuals interested in the field should not hesitate to pursue the necessary education and training.

Through dedication and hard work, they can embark on a rewarding career path in respiratory therapy, making a positive difference in patients’ lives and contributing to the healthcare sector in Nigeria.

So, if you have a passion for helping others and a keen interest in respiratory care, consider becoming a respiratory therapist and join this valuable profession today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *