Respiratory Therapist Salary

The average Respiratory Therapist in the United States can expect to rake in roughly $24.35 per hour. Earnings generally vary between $18.55 per hour and $32.98. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is geography, though career duration and the individual firm have a (lesser) impact as well. The majority of Respiratory Therapists (62 percent) who took the survey are female. 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 the larger part collect dental insurance.

$34,174 - $68,963
(Median)
$34K
$49K
$69K
MEDIAN: $48,858
10%
50%
90%

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$18.55 - $32.98
(Median)
$19
$24
$33
MEDIAN: $24.00
10%
50%
90%

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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
$34,174 - $68,963  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,248  
Profit Sharing
$152.05 - $4,530  
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).
)
$38,179 - $71,053  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 601
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
$18.55 - $32.98  
   
Overtime
$20.85 - $49.24  
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 - $1,248  
   
Profit Sharing
$152.05 - $4,530  
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).
)
$38,179 - $71,053  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 2,474
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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 progress into high-paying roles like Physician Assistant, where median compensation is $82K annually. A common career progression for a Respiratory Therapist is to become a Respiratory Therapy Manager or a Registered Nurse. Compared to Respiratory Therapists, the first group earns $11K more on average, and the second group earns $4K more.

Respiratory Therapist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist


Many Respiratory Therapists can be found at Apria Healthcare Group Inc, Lincare Inc., Kindred Hospital, HCA, Inc., and Select Specialty Hospitals, firms that are at the top of the field. For Respiratory Therapists, comfortable salaries can be found at Kindred Healthcare; in fact, average earnings are around $58K, the highest in the area, though the difference in the company's lowest and highest employee paychecks ($37K versus $83K) is great. Other employers shelling out big bucks include Banner Health, HCA, Inc., and Lincare Inc., where Respiratory Therapists typically earn around $57K, $55K, or $52K, respectively.

For Respiratory Therapists, below-average salaries can be found at Apria Healthcare Group Inc; in fact, average earnings are around $48K, the lowest in the area, though the difference in the company's lowest and highest employee paychecks ($41K versus $73K) is great. A few other companies with smaller-than-average paychecks include Kindred Hospital ($49K), Select Specialty Hospitals ($52K), and Lincare Inc. ($52K).

Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist


Respiratory Therapists seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Lucky workers who know Long Term Care can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 22 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 7 percent and 22 percent. For most people, competency in Critical Care indicates knowledge of 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.


For Respiratory Therapists, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $45K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $51K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $56K in this role. Respiratory Therapists who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $60K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


For those looking to make money, Respiratory Therapists in Los Angeles enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 35 percent above the national average. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+26 percent), San Diego (+18 percent), Milwaukee (+15 percent), and Dallas (+5 percent). In St. Louis, salaries are 14 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Employers in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis also lean toward paying below-median salaries (10 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Respiratory Therapist Salaries




National Average
$51,000


Skills That Affect Respiratory Therapist Salaries

Long Term Care
up arrow 22%



Surgery Intensive Care Unit (SICU)
up arrow 4%

Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU)
up arrow 4%

Critical Care
up arrow 3%

Emergency/Trauma
up arrow 3%

Acute Care
up arrow 2%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 2%

Pediatrics
up arrow 2%

Emergency Room (ER)
up arrow 1%

Home Health/Home Care
0%

National Average
$51,000

Patient Education
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 464 votes.

Gender

Female
62 %
Male
38 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
35%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
19%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 69%
vision benefits Vision: 57% employee benefits None: 19%
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