Respiratory Therapist Salary
Respiratory Therapists in the United States can expect to earn an average of $24.73 per hour. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is the specific employer, though geography and years of experience have a (lesser) impact as well. A strong majority report receiving medical coverage from their employers and more than half collect dental insurance. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Women account for the majority of Respiratory Therapists who responded to the questionnaire — 65 percent to be exact.
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.Read More...
Respiratory therapists need at minimum an associate’s degree, though many respiratory therapists have bachelor’s degrees. Many RTs have graduated from programs that focus on specifically on respiratory therapist training. Students hoping to one day enter the field of respiratory therapy need to successfully complete classes including human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and other science-related courses. They can also expect to be complete studies in therapeutic and diagnostic techniques, medical terminology, and patient assessment.
Respiratory Therapist Tasks
- 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.
- Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy; vital signs, arterial blood gases and blood chemistry changes and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
- Maintain patient charts with therapy information.
- Inspect, clean, and test respiratory therapy equipment.
Common Career Paths for Respiratory Therapist
For Respiratory Therapists, progressing to a Physician Assistant role may result in a significant raise. On average, a Physician Assistant can earn $84K annually. Typical career progression for a Respiratory Therapist involves becoming a Respiratory Therapy Manager or a Registered Nurse, roles that pay $12K more and $4K more on average.
Respiratory Therapist Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist
Leading companies who hire large numbers of Respiratory Therapists include Lincare Inc., Kindred Hospital, Kindred Healthcare, Mercy Hospital, and Apria Healthcare Group Inc. Dignity Health attracts talent by shelling out the biggest paychecks in the area — the median in that office is $69K. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks at Banner Health ($54K), Lincare Inc. ($53K), and Apria Healthcare Group Inc ($53K).
Mercy Hospital offers the least pay with a median salary of $43K; furthermore, salaries there max out at only $54K. University of Michigan (U-M), William Beaumont Hospital, and Baptist Health are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries, each pays $47K.
Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist
Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Long Term Care, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Respiratory therapist are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 8 percent. Most people skilled in Emergency Room are similarly competent in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Acute Care. Those proficient in Critical Care are, more often than not, also skilled in Acute Care and Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Pay by Experience Level for Respiratory Therapist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Respiratory Therapists do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. The average beginner in this position makes around $48K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $52K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $57K. Respiratory Therapists who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $62K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Respiratory Therapists, working in the bustling city of New York has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Los Angeles (+24 percent), San Diego (+18 percent), Boston (+18 percent), and Philadelphia (+7 percent). Tucson is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 8 percent. Below-median salaries also turn up in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis (7 percent lower and 2 percent lower, respectively).
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