Respiratory Therapist Salary

An average Respiratory Therapist in the United States can expect to take home roughly $24.41 per hour. Pay ranges from $18.74 per hour on the low end to $32.83 on the high end. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by geographic location, followed by the company and tenure. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Respiratory Therapists. Women account for the majority of Respiratory Therapists who responded to the questionnaire — 62 percent to be exact. A fair number enjoy medical while the larger part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the greater part. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$35,383 - $70,370
(Median)
$35K
$50K
$70K
MEDIAN: $49,800
10%
50%
90%

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$18.74 - $32.83
(Median)
$19
$24
$33
MEDIAN: $24.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$35,383 - $70,370  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,502  
Profit Sharing
$152.05 - $4,530  
Commission
$900  
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).
)
$38,795 - $71,061  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 721
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$18.74 - $32.83  
   
Overtime
$20.96 - $48.88  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,502  
   
Commission
$900  
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).
)
$38,795 - $71,061  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 3,255
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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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For Respiratory Therapists, progressing to a Physician Assistant role may result in a significant raise. On average, a Physician Assistant can earn $83K annually. Career advancement for the typical Respiratory Therapist often leads to becoming a Respiratory Therapy Manager or a Registered Nurse; median salaries in these positions are $11K higher and $4K higher, respectively.

Respiratory Therapist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist


Respiratory Therapists flock to Apria Healthcare Group Inc, Kindred Hospital, Lincare Inc., HCA, Inc., and Kindred Healthcare, highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Although Kindred Healthcare heads up the field in terms of compensation, offering the highest median salary at $58K, pay at this particular employer still varies considerably, running the full spectrum from $37K to $76K. Banner Health, HCA, Inc., and Lincare Inc. are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Respiratory Therapists earning around $57K, $54K, or $52K at each firm, respectively.

Workers at William Beaumont Hospital, Baptist Health, and Kindred Hospital also face smaller salaries than the rest of the field — average earnings for these employers come to $47K, $48K, and $50K respectively.

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 23 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 6 percent and 23 percent. Most people familiar with Emergency Room also know 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.


For Respiratory Therapists, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. The average beginner in this position makes around $46K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $52K. Respiratory Therapists with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $56K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $60K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $51,231

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Surpassing the national average by 32 percent, Respiratory Therapists in Los Angeles receive some of the highest pay in the country. Respiratory Therapists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+27 percent), Boston (+23 percent), San Diego (+19 percent), and Milwaukee (+15 percent). With compensation 15 percent below the national average, St. Louis is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Indianapolis (5 percent less) and Atlanta (3 percent less).

Respiratory Therapist Reviews

What is it like working as a Respiratory Therapist at Select Specialty Hospitals?

Respiratory Therapist in Madison:
"My review."
Pros: The variety, day to day challenges, my coworkers and having long stretches of days off without having to use my vacation time, get to leave early at times.
Cons: The lack of care and support from management, they low census people based on the number of ventilators, not patients, patients suffer from lack of better care, staff does not get full time hours some weeks and are often forced to work with limited time and supplies to save $

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Respiratory Therapist Salaries




National Average
$51,000


Skills That Affect Respiratory Therapist Salaries

Long Term Care
up arrow 23%



Surgery Intensive Care Unit (SICU)
up arrow 4%

Sleep Medicine
up arrow 4%

Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU)
up arrow 3%

Critical Care
up arrow 2%

Emergency/Trauma
up arrow 2%

Pediatrics
up arrow 2%

Acute Care
up arrow 1%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 1%

Emergency Room (ER)
0%

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 529 votes.

Gender

Female
62 %
Male
38 %

Years of Experience

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

Common Health Benefits

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