Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat, and care for patients with cardiopulmonary and other breathing disorders under instruction of a physician. Victims of heart attack, drowning, stroke, or shock are given emergency care from a respiratory therapist. Therapists also assist patients with emphysema and chronic asthma. To work as a respiratory therapist, one must obtain an Associates Degree and pass an examination to earn a respiratory certification. To become a registered respiratory therapist, one must pass two more clinical examinations.