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Respiratory Therapist Salary

An average Respiratory Therapist in the United States can expect to take home roughly $24.38 per hour. The pay spectrum stretches from $18.51 per hour to $32.91. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by geographic location, but tenure and the particular employer are influential factors as well. A fair number 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. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction.

$33,505 - $68,526
(Median)
$34K
$49K
$69K
MEDIAN: $48,578
10%
50%
90%

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$18.51 - $32.91
(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
$33,505 - $68,526  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,222  
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).
)
$38,016 - $70,959  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 574
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
$18.51 - $32.91  
   
Overtime
$21.19 - $49.30  
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 - $1,222  
   
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).
)
$38,016 - $70,959  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 2,302

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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

  • 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' salaries may rise greatly for those who assume a higher-end position such as a Physician Assistant. The average Physician Assistant brings home $82K per year. When Respiratory Therapists are ready for the next step in their careers, they often become Respiratory Therapy Managers or Registered Nurses. Those roles pay an additional $11K and $4K, respectively.

Respiratory Therapist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist


Apria Healthcare Group Inc, Lincare Inc., Kindred Hospital, Select Specialty Hospitals, and HCA, Inc. are leaders in the field that employ a large number of Respiratory Therapists. For Respiratory Therapists, comfortable salaries can be found at Kindred Healthcare; in fact, average earnings are around $58K, the highest in the area, though the difference in the company's lowest and highest employee paychecks ($37K versus $84K) is great.

Bringing up the rear, Apria Healthcare Group Inc's median pay of $48K is the lowest in town; however, employee salaries widely range, with some making up to $73K.

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 22 percent above average. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 7 percent and 22 percent. Those familiar with Emergency Room tend to be well versed in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Acute Care. Most people familiar with Critical Care also know 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, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $45K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $51K. Respiratory Therapists bring in $56K after working for 10 to 20 years. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $60K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.

Pay Difference by Location


Los Angeles offers some of the highest pay in the country for Respiratory Therapists, 35 percent above the national average. Respiratory Therapists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+25 percent), Philadelphia (+21 percent), San Diego (+16 percent), and Milwaukee (+14 percent). St. Louis ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 14 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Indianapolis (6 percent lower) and San Antonio (5 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Respiratory Therapist Salaries




National Average
$51,000


Skills That Affect Respiratory Therapist Salaries

Long Term Care
up arrow 22%




Critical Care
up arrow 4%

Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU)
up arrow 4%

Acute Care
up arrow 3%

Emergency/Trauma
up arrow 3%

Pediatrics
up arrow 3%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 2%

Emergency Room (ER)
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 453 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: 56% employee benefits None: 19%
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