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Respiratory Therapist Salary

For Respiratory Therapists, hourly average wages total $24.35 per hour. Earnings sit near $18.51 per hour on the lower side but can approach $32.90 on the higher side. Residence is the main element affecting pay for this group — experience level and the particular employer are driving factors as well. Female Respiratory Therapists survey participants are more prevalent than men — 62 percent of professionals. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Respiratory Therapists. A strong majority enjoy medical while a majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than half. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$33,933 - $68,816
(Median)
$34K
$49K
$69K
MEDIAN: $48,693
10%
50%
90%

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$18.51 - $32.90
(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
$33,933 - $68,816  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,210  
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).
)
$38,046 - $70,983  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 581
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 - $32.90  
   
Overtime
$21.28 - $49.25  
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 - $1,210  
   
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).
)
$38,046 - $70,983  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 2,349
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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 may progress into high-paying roles like Physician Assistant, where median compensation is $82K annually. Respiratory Therapy Managers or Registered Nurses are common next-step roles for Respiratory Therapists moving up in their careers; annual pay for Respiratory Therapy Managers is $11K higher on average, and it's $4K higher for Registered Nurses.

Respiratory Therapist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Respiratory Therapist


Respiratory Therapists fill the offices of leading firms Apria Healthcare Group Inc, Lincare Inc., Kindred Hospital, HCA, Inc., and Select Specialty Hospitals. Although Kindred Healthcare leads the field in pay with a median salary of $58K, employees there receive a wide spread of salaries, from $37K on the low end all the way up to $84K at the top. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks at Banner Health ($57K), Select Specialty Hospitals ($56K), and HCA, Inc. ($54K).

Apria Healthcare Group Inc offers the lowest pay in the field with a median salary of just $48K, but on the other end, some employees may earn up to $73K. Kindred Hospital, Lincare Inc., and HCA, Inc. also rank near the bottom for pay, handing out $50K, $52K, and $54K-paychecks on average.

Popular Skills for Respiratory Therapist


Respiratory Therapists seem to wield many skills on the job. 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 who learned Emergency Room also tend to know Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Acute Care. Most people who know 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.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Respiratory Therapists — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $45K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $51K on average — a distinctly larger sum. On average, Respiratory Therapists make $56K following one to two decades on the job. Respiratory Therapists who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $60K.

Pay Difference by Location


Los Angeles is home to an above-average pay rate for Respiratory Therapists, 35 percent higher than the national average. Respiratory Therapists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+26 percent), San Diego (+17 percent), Milwaukee (+13 percent), and Dallas (+4 percent). Falling short of the national average by 14 percent, the area with the worst salaries is St. Louis. Below-median salaries also turn up in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis (9 percent lower and 6 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 22%




Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU)
up arrow 4%

Critical Care
up arrow 3%

Acute Care
up arrow 3%

Emergency/Trauma
up arrow 3%

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
up arrow 2%

Pediatrics
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 455 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: 68%
vision benefits Vision: 56% employee benefits None: 19%
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