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Respiratory Therapist Salary

Respiratory Therapists in the United States can expect to earn an average of $24.10 per hour. Compensation ranges from $18.24 per hour on the lower end to $32.76 on the higher end. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by location, but career length and the individual firm are influential factors as well. More than half of Respiratory Therapists (62 percent) survey participants are women. For the most part, Respiratory Therapists enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. A strong majority report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a majority collect dental insurance.
$32,326 - $68,587
(Median)
32K
40K
48K
58K
69K
MEDIAN: $48,417
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

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$18.24 - $32.76
(Median)
18
24
28
33
MEDIAN: $24.00
10%
50%
75%
90%

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Show Annual Salary Show Hourly Rate

National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$32,326 - $68,587  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,476  
Profit Sharing
$289.62 - $4,404  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$37,490 - $70,709  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 561
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$18.24 - $32.76  
   
Overtime
$20.46 - $49.13  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,476  
   
Profit Sharing
$289.62 - $4,404  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$37,490 - $70,709  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 2,229
United States (change)

Job Description for Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists, or RTs, work with people who are experiencing issues with breathing and, often, cardiopulmonary issues. In many cases, their patients include premature infants born without fully developed lungs, as well as children and adults who suffer from problems such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Generally, a respiratory therapist meets with a patient and examines them; after discussing the results of the exam with a physician, they then put together a plan of treatment for the patient. Often, the plan involves removing mucous from a patient’s lungs, as well as inserting a ventilation tube down the patient’s throat in order to connect it to an oxygen-delivering machine. Respiratory therapists working in emergency rooms also often provide care to heart attack, drowning, and shock victims. Respiratory therapists working in home health care often set up ventilators and other life-supporting equipment, as well as providing care takers with direction on the equipment’s use.

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Respiratory Therapist Tasks

  • Maintain patient charts with therapy information.
  • Inspect, clean, and test respiratory therapy equipment.
  • Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy; vital signs, arterial blood gases and blood chemistry changes and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
  • Determine requirements for treatment; type, method and duration of therapy based on physicians' orders.
  • Set up and operate mechanical and therapeutic devices following specified parameters of treatment.

Common Career Paths for Respiratory Therapist


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Respiratory Therapists may go on to top-notch roles like Physician Assistant, where median pay is $82K annually. Respiratory Therapists typically move into roles as Respiratory Therapy Managers or Registered Nurses, and those positions pay $11K more and $4K more, respectively.

Respiratory Therapist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist


Apria Healthcare Group Inc, Lincare Inc., Select Specialty Hospitals, HCA, Inc., and Kindred Healthcare are leaders in the field that employ a large number of Respiratory Therapists. Select Specialty Hospitals offers the best pay with a median salary of $59K, though salaries there don't seem that varied, bottoming out near $42K and maxing out at just $72K.

The pay scale is far from balanced at Apria Healthcare Group Inc. While salaries on one end can reach $72K, the company's median pay sits at $47K, the lowest in the field.

Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist


Survey takers working as Respiratory Therapists report using a large range of professional skills. Lucky workers who know Long Term Care can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 21 percent above average. Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 9 percent and 21 percent. Most people familiar with Critical Care also know Acute Care and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It is often found that people who know Emergency Room are also skilled in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Acute Care.

Pay by Experience Level for Respiratory Therapist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $45K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $51K. On average, Respiratory Therapists make $55K following one to two decades on the job. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $59K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Respiratory Therapists in Los Angeles enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 38 percent above the national average. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+27 percent), San Diego (+16 percent), Philadelphia (+16 percent), and Milwaukee (+15 percent). Pittsburgh is the lowest-paying area, 12 percent south of the national average. St. Louis and Denver are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 7 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Respiratory Therapist Salaries




National Average
$51,000


Skills That Affect Respiratory Therapist Salaries

Long Term Care
up arrow 21%






Acute Care
up arrow 4%

Emergency/Trauma
up arrow 4%

Pediatrics
up arrow 4%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 2%

Emergency Room (ER)
up arrow 1%

Home Health/Home Care
up arrow 1%

Patient Education
0%

National Average
$51,000

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 431 votes.

Gender

Female
62 %
Male
38 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
36%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
19%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 69%
vision benefits Vision: 56% employee benefits None: 19%