Respiratory Therapist Salary
Average Respiratory Therapists in the United States make around $24.68 per hour. This group's pay is mainly influenced by residence, followed by the specific employer and years of experience. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. A strong majority report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a majority collect dental insurance. More than half of Respiratory Therapists (64 percent) survey participants are women. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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
Respiratory Therapists may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Physician Assistant. The latter position pays an average of $84K annually. 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 $12K and $4K, respectively.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist
Lincare Inc., Kindred Hospital, Kindred Healthcare, Apria Healthcare Group Inc, and Banner Health are some prominent firms with considerable interest in employing a large team of Respiratory Therapists. Those at Advanced Lifeline Services can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $63K. Other employers shelling out big bucks include Kindred Healthcare, Banner Health, and Apria Healthcare Group Inc, where Respiratory Therapists typically earn around $57K, $54K, or $53K, respectively.
A few other companies with smaller-than-average paychecks include Mercy Hospital ($43K), University of Michigan (U-M) ($47K), and William Beaumont Hospital ($47K).
Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist
Respiratory Therapists seem to wield many skills 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 of 6 percent, 5 percent, 4 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Those who learned Emergency Room also tend to know 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.
More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $48K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $52K. Respiratory Therapists who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $57K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $62K on average.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 41 percent, Respiratory Therapists in New York receive some of the highest pay in the country. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Los Angeles (+25 percent), San Diego (+18 percent), Philadelphia (+18 percent), and Denver (+6 percent). Pittsburgh ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 7 percent below the national average.
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