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Pulmonary Function Technician

Pulmonary function technicians conduct tests to assist physicians in the technical aspects of diagnosing and treating lung disease.

  • Avg. Salary $71,542.00
  • Avg. Wage $42.14
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 2,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Lung Function Technician, Respiratory Function Technician, Spirometry Technician

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Pulmonary Function Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Cardiopulmonary Technologists
NOC code: 3214.3
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to operate, monitor, maintain, calibrate and test diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and to determine patients' blood characteristics such as activated clotting time and oxygen saturation

METHODICAL

Interest in speaking to advise physician of any changes in patient condition; in monitoring patients; in providing information and care for patients during tests; in preparing medications and administering inhaler and other treatments under supervision of cardiologist; and in assisting with the preparation of cardiac catheterization room, preparing specialized catheters and assisting cardiologists during catheterization

innovative

Interest in compiling data by performing diagnostic tests, such as pulmonary function and asthma stress, by assisting physicians with cardiac and cardiopulmonary stress tests and bronchoscopies and by performing analysis, programming and monitoring of implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators during surgery

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Pulmonary function technicians work in close co-operation with physicians, nurses and health care support staff. In general, technicians:

  • collect and review patient's related medical history and document any past or present exposure or risk factors
  • operate and monitor diagnostic equipment to test pulmonary function (for example, to measure lung volumes, diffusion capacity, peak inspiratory/expiratory pressures, airway hyperactivity)
  • explain procedures before and during tests
  • decide whether test results are reliable (the patient demonstrated proper technique and effort)
  • explain test results 
  • organize and keep patient reports and documentation confidential
  • clean and disinfect, maintain, calibrate and test diagnostic equipment
  • maintain inventories of supplies.

In health care settings, they also may:

  • evaluate patient fitness for testing and, when appropriate, advise a physician of changes in a patient's condition
  • sample and analyse arterial blood gases
  • conduct exercise or asthma testing
  • answer phones, record patient appointments or perform other administrative tasks.
Working Conditions
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Most pulmonary function technicians work regular weekday hours.

Work environments vary considerably in this occupation. Some technicians work in health care settings such as medical clinics or pulmonary function laboratories. In hospitals, they may do bedside tests as well as test patients in a laboratory setting. Some pulmonary function technicians travel to worksites in the mining, manufacturing and construction industries to conduct routine tests for workers who are exposed to asbestos, silica or coal dust at the worksite. They also may conduct mobile tests to ensure mill, gas plant and drilling rig workers are fit to wear respirators that are required on the job.

Pulmonary function technicians spend most of their working hours on their feet and may be required to help lift immobile patients.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Pulmonary function technicians need the following characteristics:

  • excellent communication skills
  • good organizational, critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • flexibility
  • the ability to get along well with people of all ages
  • the ability to work independently and in a team environment.

They should enjoy using equipment to perform tasks requiring precision, having clear guidelines and organized methods, and dealing with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014

To meet legislated requirements in Alberta, technicians must successfully complete a pulmonary function technician course approved by the Director of Medical Services, Alberta Human Services, or an approved equivalent. The approved course is currently offered by Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. Pulmonary function technicians must recertify every five years.

Companies that provide mobile occupational health and safety services may hire high school graduates and provide training supervision. A valid driver's licence is usually required. Related health care education or training is a definite asset.

Employment in a hospital pulmonary function laboratory generally requires a two year post-secondary diploma in respiratory therapy or a related degree.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Pulmonary Function Technician

Pulmonary function technicians conduct tests to measure lung volume capacity and the rate of air flow out of lungs. For more information, see the Pulmonary Function Technician occupational profile in OCCinfo.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Code, employers must provide health assessments for workers who are exposed (as defined in the Code) to asbestos, silica or coal dust. These health assessments must include pulmonary function testing (spirometry) conducted by pulmonary function technicians who have certification in spirometry.

What You Need

Certification requires successful completion of a pulmonary function technician course approved by the Director of Medical Services or an approved equivalent. Re-qualification is required every five years. For official, detailed information about certification requirements, contact Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Program Development, Alberta Jobs, Training, Skills and Labour.

Working in Alberta

Pulmonary function technicians who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if registered pulmonary function technicians in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Program Development
Alberta Job, Training, Skills and Labour
8th Floor, Labour Building
10808 - 99 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5K 0G5
Phone number: 780-427-2687
Fax number: 780-422-0014
Website: employment.alberta.ca/SFW/1349.html

Employment & Advancement
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Pulmonary function technicians work for private companies that offer occupational health and safety services, and health facilities such as hospitals and medical laboratories. Some work part time or full time in other health care occupations and provide pulmonary function testing services on a part time or contract basis.

Advancement opportunities depend on the size of the organization and the technician's qualifications.

Pulmonary function technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3214: Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists and Cardio-Pulmonary Technologists. In Alberta, 98% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Hourly wages are directly related to the technician's qualifications.

Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
NOC code: 3214

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $30.00 $39.40 $35.64 $35.64
Overall $33.00 $50.47 $42.14 $42.20
Top $36.00 $51.06 $45.28 $45.80

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

N/A

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Oct 20, 2014

Canadian Association of Cardiopulmonary Technologists (CACPT) website: www.cacpt.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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