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Updated

Pulmonary Function Technician

Pulmonary function technicians conduct tests on patients. These tests help physicians with the technical aspects of diagnosing and treating lung disease.

  • Avg. Salary $82,517.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.12
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 2,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Cardiopulmonary Technologist, Lung Function Technician, Physiological Laboratory Technologist, Respiratory Function Technician, Spirometry Technician

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Cardiopulmonary Technologists (3214.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists and CardioPulmonary Technologists (D214) 
  • 2011 NOC: Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists (3214) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Pulmonary Function Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Cardiopulmonary Technologists
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 Mar 31, 2018

In general, pulmonary function technicians:

  • collect and review a patient’s related medical history.
  • note any past or present exposure or risk factors
  • operate, monitor, maintain, calibrate, and test related diagnostic and therapeutic equipment (to measure lung volumes, diffusion capacity, peak inspiratory/expiratory pressures, and airway hyperactivity)
  • assess patient fitness for testing
  • advise the physician of any changes in a patient’s condition (when appropriate)
  • explain procedures and provide information and care for patients before and during tests
  • decide whether test results are reliable (for example, the patient demonstrated proper technique and effort)
  • perform a variety of related tests
  • explain test results and make referrals (as needed)
  • organize patient reports and records
  • keep information confidential
  • clean, disinfect, maintain, calibrate, and test diagnostic equipment
  • keep supply inventories
  • prepare medications and provide treatments under lab protocol (as determined by the lab’s medical director)
  • supervise and train students and other technicians
  • provide technical support for research
  • answer phones, schedule patient appointments, and perform other admin tasks.

In health care settings, they may work with various health care providers.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Pulmonary function technicians may work regular weekday hours, part time, or on a casual basis.

Work settings vary a lot. Some technicians work in health care settings such as medical clinics or pulmonary function labs. In hospitals, they may perform tests in a lab or at a patient’s bedside.

In the mining, manufacturing, and construction industries, workers may be exposed to asbestos, silica, or coal dust. To address this, technicians travel to work sites to conduct routine tests on workers. In mills, gas plants, and drilling rigs, workers must wear respirators. Technicians conduct mobile tests to fit workers for respirators.

Pulmonary function technicians spend most of their working hours on their feet. They may be required to help lift patients with mobility issues.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Pulmonary function technicians need to possess:

  • speaking and listening skills
  • the ability to be organized
  • the ability to think critically
  • the ability to solve problems
  • flexibility
  • interpersonal skills
  • the ability to work on their own and in a team setting.

They should enjoy:

  • using equipment to perform precise tasks
  • having clear guidelines and organized methods
  • dealing with people.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Technicians must successfully complete a pulmonary function technician course approved by the Government of Alberta or an approved equivalent. They also must have Health Care Provider level certified CPR.

If their role is limited, the technician requires at least 2 years of post-secondary education. This must be in a related science field such as biology, kinesiology, or physiology. The technician is provided with training supervision. Some companies provide mobile occupational health and safety services. In general, technicians require a valid driver’s licence.

Technicians who are performing testing in a Level III or IV lab must meet further qualifications. To learn more, see the Certification Requirements section.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Technicians who perform testing in a Level III or IV lab must be either:

Some employers require both types of registration.

Entry-level technicians may be hired without being registered. They are expected to join as student members. Soon after, they are expected to become active registered members.

Some employers may require additional training in pulmonary technology. This can be acquired through courses or supervised on-the-job clinical training. The lab’s medical director or delegate is responsible for ensuring the technician is trained according to lab standards.

Technicians are responsible for keeping up with current technical trends in cardiopulmonary diagnostics. They must maintain records of continuing education.

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, Government of Alberta.

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
Government of Alberta
8th Floor, Labour Building
10808 - 99 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5K 0G5
Call: 780-427-2687
Fax number: 780-422-0014
Website: work.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety.html

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Some pulmonary function technicians work for private companies that offer occupational health and safety services. Others work for health facilities such as hospitals and medical labs. Some work part time, full time, or as casual workers in other health care roles. They also provide testing services on a part-time or contract basis.

Prospects for advancement depend partly on the size of the organization. They improve with time on the job and further training.

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 [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • 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 Mar 31, 2018

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

Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists

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 $36.81 $40.69 $37.90 $36.81
Overall $42.06 $46.71 $44.12 $42.06
Top $47.30 $57.76 $51.05 $47.30

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
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

48%
48%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

N/A

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
  • Science
    • Biology
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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

College and Association of Respiratory Therapists of Alberta (CARTA) website: www.carta.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. 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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