Respiratory Therapist Salary

Median pay for Respiratory Therapists in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $24.41 per hour. The bottom of the pay range sits near $18.74 per hour, and the top verges on $32.83. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by geography, but the company and tenure are influential factors as well. A fair number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the greater part collect dental insurance. Work is enjoyable for Respiratory Therapists, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Female Respiratory Therapists are more common than men among those who completed the survey; more than half (62 percent) are women. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$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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Respiratory Therapists who go on to become Physician Assistants may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Physician Assistants is $83K annually. It is quite typical for Respiratory Therapists to transition into roles as Respiratory Therapy Managers or Registered Nurses, where reported median earnings are $11K and $4K higher per year.

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, Kindred Hospital, Lincare Inc., HCA, Inc., and Kindred Healthcare, firms that are at the top of the field. Respiratory Therapists flock to Kindred Healthcare for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $58K lead the pack in compensation; however, Kindred Healthcare also provides employees with a wide spectrum of compensation ranging from $37K at one end to $76K at the other end. Respiratory Therapists will also find cushy salaries at Banner Health (+$57K), HCA, Inc. (+$54K), and Lincare Inc. (+$52K).

A few other companies with smaller-than-average paychecks include William Beaumont Hospital ($47K), Baptist Health ($48K), and Kindred Hospital ($50K).

Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist


Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. 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 Critical Care also know Acute Care and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Those familiar with Emergency Room tend to be well versed 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.


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 $46K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $52K 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 report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $60K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $51,231

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

Los Angeles offers some of the highest pay in the country for Respiratory Therapists, 32 percent above the national average. Respiratory Therapists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+27 percent), Boston (+23 percent), San Diego (+19 percent), and Milwaukee (+15 percent). St. Louis is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 15 percent. Below-median salaries also turn up in Indianapolis and Atlanta (5 percent lower and 3 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 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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