Respiratory Therapist Salary

An average Respiratory Therapist in the United States can expect to take home roughly $24.32 per hour. Earnings sit near $18.60 per hour on the lower side but can approach $32.84 on the higher side. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is geography, though tenure and the specific company have a (lesser) impact as well. Most Respiratory Therapists like their work and job satisfaction is high. A strong majority report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a majority collect dental insurance. Female Respiratory Therapists survey participants are more prevalent than men — 62 percent of professionals. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$34,428 - $68,778
(Median)
$34K
$49K
$69K
MEDIAN: $48,898
10%
50%
90%

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$18.60 - $32.84
(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
$34,428 - $68,778  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,245  
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).
)
$38,334 - $70,640  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 606
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
$18.60 - $32.84  
   
Overtime
$20.81 - $49.05  
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 - $1,245  
   
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).
)
$38,334 - $70,640  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 2,486
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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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As Respiratory Therapists transition into upper-level roles such as Physician Assistant, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Physician Assistants earn $82K on average per year. Respiratory Therapists most often move into positions as Respiratory Therapy Managers or Registered Nurses; those groups report median salaries that are $11K higher and $4K higher, respectively.

Respiratory Therapist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist


Dominating the field, Apria Healthcare Group Inc, Lincare Inc., Kindred Hospital, HCA, Inc., and Select Specialty Hospitals are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Respiratory Therapists. Employees of Kindred Healthcare can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $58K; however, pay is widely dispersed from bottom to top, ranging from $37K to $83K. Soaring salaries can also be found at Banner Health, HCA, Inc., and Lincare Inc., where earnings of $57K, $55K, or $52K are standard for Respiratory Therapists.

The consistently lowest paying firm is Apria Healthcare Group Inc, where the median salary is just $47K. There isn't much variation there, either; the pay scale ranges only from $41K to $72K. Kindred Hospital, Select Specialty Hospitals, and Lincare Inc. also rank near the bottom for pay, handing out $49K, $52K, and $52K-paychecks on average.

Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, facility with Long Term Care, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 22 percent, 7 percent, and 6 percent, respectively. Most people familiar with Critical Care also know 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.


Respiratory Therapists with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $45K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $51K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Respiratory Therapists see a median salary of $56K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn much more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts; the more senior group reports an average income of $60K.

Pay Difference by Location


Respiratory Therapists will find that Los Angeles offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 35 percent. 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 (+6 percent). Trailing the national average by 14 percent, St. Louis is the market with the smallest paychecks. Workers in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (9 percent less and 4 percent less, 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%

Pediatrics
up arrow 3%

Acute Care
up arrow 2%

Emergency Room (ER)
up arrow 1%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
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
18%
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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