Respiratory Therapist Salary

Median pay for Respiratory Therapists in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $24.94 per hour. This group's pay is mainly influenced by the specific employer, followed by geography and experience level. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Respiratory Therapists. More than half of Respiratory Therapists (63 percent) survey participants are women. Medical benefits are awarded to a strong majority, and a fair number earn dental coverage. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$37,724 - $74,197
$38K
$51K
$74K
MEDIAN: $51,180
10%
50%
90%

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$19.32 - $33.94
$19
$25
$34
MEDIAN: $24.94
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$25K$50K$75K
Salary
$37,724 - $74,197  
   
Bonus
$307.67 - $9,668  
Commission
$2,000  
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).
)
$39,982 - $72,973  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 529
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
$19.32 - $33.94  
   
Hourly Tips
$8.33  
Overtime
$20.28 - $50.16  
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
$307.67 - $9,668  
   
Commission
$2,000  
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).
)
$39,982 - $72,973  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 2,926

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United States (change)

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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

  • 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


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At the upper end, Respiratory Therapists who move into a Physician Assistant role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Physician Assistants is a much higher $84K per year. 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


Well-known firms with a reputation for hiring numerous Respiratory Therapists include Lincare Inc., Kindred Hospital, Kindred Healthcare, Mercy Hospital, and Baptist Health. The biggest paychecks can be found at Dignity Health — the median salary there is $69K. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks at HCA, Inc. ($60K), Kindred Healthcare ($54K), and Banner Health ($53K).

Respiratory Therapists will find the worst pay at Mercy Hospital, where the median salary crawls in at $42K. Furthermore, compensation is curbed at $54K, leaving little room for growth. A few other companies with smaller-than-average paychecks include University of Michigan (U-M) ($47K), William Beaumont Hospital ($47K), and Baptist Health ($48K).

Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist


Respiratory Therapists report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Sleep Medicine, Long Term Care, and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 6 percent. Skill sets containing Emergency Room also tend to include 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

Pay by Experience for a Respiratory Therapist has a positive trend. An entry-level Respiratory Therapist with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $48,000 based on 1,716 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Respiratory Therapist with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $53,000 based on 841 salaries. An experienced Respiratory Therapist which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $57,000 based on 724 salaries. A Respiratory Therapist with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $62,000 based on 551 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $52,434

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

For Respiratory Therapists, busy New York offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 39 percent above the national average. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Los Angeles (+23 percent), Boston (+18 percent), San Diego (+17 percent), and Baltimore (+12 percent). Pittsburgh is the lowest-paying area, 11 percent south of the national average. Employers pay around 3 percent less in Houston and 1 percent less in Tampa, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Respiratory Therapist

Gender

Female
63 %
Male
37 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 312 votes.
Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
17%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Respiratory Therapist Salaries

▲19%

▲10%

▼0%

National Average
$52,000

▼8%

Skills That Affect Respiratory Therapist Salaries


Sleep Medicine
▲6%


Long Term Care
▲5%


Respiratory therapist
▲3%



▲2%


Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
▼0%

▼0%


Home Health/Home Care
▼0%

National Average
$52,000

Patient Education
▼1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 312 votes.

Gender

Female
63 %
Male
37 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
37%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
17%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 78%
dental benefits
Dental: 71%
vision benefits
Vision: 60%
no benefits
None: 19%
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