Respiratory Therapist Salary

respiratory therapist salaryA respiratory therapist is a health care professional who specializes in patients who have difficulty breathing. Patients who suffer from chronic respiratory illnesses, such as COPD, severe asthma, or emphysema would fall under the jurisdiction of a respiratory therapist.  Respiratory illness can strike at any time, regardless of age or gender. Patients can be prematurely born infants, the elderly, or a person in the prime of their life. A respiratory therapist provides care to people from all walks of life, with all manner of varying severity of illnesses.

 

National Average Respiratory Therapist  Salary

$58,490

 

Salary Range

Hourly Wage                          Annual Wage

                    Upper:             $32.67                                       $78,230

                    Median:           $27.27                                       $56,730

                    Lower:              $19.89                                       $41,380

 

 

States With Highest Salary

State                                    Avg. Hourly Wage                 Avg. Annual Wage

  • California                                      $37.15                                      $77,280
  • Nevada                                            $34.55                                     $71,870
  • New Jersey                                    $33.59                                      $69,870
  • Massachusetts                              $33.31                                     $69,280
  • Alaska                                              $33.16                                     $68,970

 

*All statistical data is from the U.S. Department of Labor and is updated quarterly

 

Job Description:

The primary task of a respiratory therapist, is to evaluate and treat patients suffering from breathing difficulties, in order to stabilize oxygen levels in the blood.  Patients can range in age from infants to the elderly as respiratory distress can strike at any age. They treat many types of illness ranging from chronic conditions such as asthma to emergency situations such as heart attacks and drownings.

Patient evaluation is an important part of treating respiratory illness. Therapists use a variety of tests to determine the status of a patient. They will check for such things as lung capacity and blood gas concentrations.

Treatments will vary by condition but may include the facilitation of mucus removal from the patient’s lungs to improve oxygen intake, connecting patients who cannot breathe on their own to life-support systems, or prescribing medication to treat a condition.

A respiratory therapist has many responsibilities in the course of their daily work. Some of the more common and critical of these responsibilities will include:

  • Arrange for a preliminary interview and general examination of patients who show signs of suffering from severe breathing or chronic cardiopulmonary ailments.
  • Arrange a consultation with the attendant physician in order to draw up a comprehensive plan of treatment.
  • Perform any tests that are needed to precisely diagnose any possible illness.
  • Perform any prescribed course of treatment. Such treatment may include a course of physical therapy and/or medications.
  • Monitor the course of the patient’s treatment, and make a precise record of their progress.
  • Supervise the actions of respiratory therapists and other technicians as tests are conducted.
  • Write up an evaluation following the conclusion of all tests.
  • Instruct patients as to the correct manner in which to use their prescribed medications and other courses of special treatment.

findaschoolbutton

Work Environment:

Respiratory TherapistAs of the year 2012, there were just under 120,000 respiratory therapists working full or part time jobs in the United States. Respiratory therapy may take place in a number of varying environments. The most obvious environment in which to receive respiratory therapy care is in a hospital. Others may work in nursing homes or hospices. Some specialize in outpatient care, which may take place in the home of the patient.

Working conditions may vary depending on where the individual works. Due to the nature of their position and its attendant responsibilities, respiratory therapists do tend to stay on their feet for extended long periods of time. In addition, the may be called upon to lift or turn disabled patients who cannot walk on their own or get out of bed.

There are also a number of safety measures which the therapist must learn. For example, when dispensing aerosol medication or anesthesia, great care must be taken to give the precisely correct dosage to the patient. Other safety measures and regulations will apply, depending on the duties assigned to the therapist.

Individuals in this profession will normally work a 40 hour week. However, most hospitals and private health care facilities will operate on a 24 hour schedule. Therapists may thus find themselves working late night hours, or during weekends and holidays. In addition, the position can be an incredibly stressful one during periods of emergency.

 

How To Become A Respiratory Therapist:

Respiratory Therapist Schools:

To be considered for the position, all applicants will need an associate’s degree. However, many employers will prefer (or require) that the applicant possess a bachelor’s degree. Many colleges offer specialized respiratory therapy programs, and there are also dedicated respiratory therapy schools in most states.

A specialized course of training will involve such areas of study as human anatomy, diagnostic procedures, physiology, microbiological study, pharmacology, doctor-patient relations, medical equipment, first aid, and other related subjects. Gaining a full bachelor’s degree from most colleges or respiratory therapist schools will normally involve four years of study.

 

Respiratory Therapist Certification And Licensing:

Respiratory therapists are required to be licensed in all states with the exception of Alaska. The precise nature of these licensing requirements will vary from state to state. Most states will require that the applicant complete a professional certification exam, the composition of which is determined by the health board of that state.

Certification is not always required, but is expected by many, if not most, potential employers. This will usually require that the applicant graduate from an accredited certification program after taking a special exam. Passing this certification will very often be required before a respiratory therapist can receive a license from the state they wish to practice in.

findaschoolbutton

Who Should Become A Respiratory Therapist?

Persons who apply for respiratory therapist jobs need to be attentive, goal driven, detail oriented, and possess excellent problem solving and interpersonal skills. A knowledge of mathematics and science will come in extremely handy while performing the purely technical aspects of the job.

However, there is much more to this job than simply acting in the capacity of a medical technician. Persons who engage in this profession need compassion and empathy. Dealing with the needs and demands of people who may be ill tempered or volatile due to the stress and frustration that their condition brings is a task that will sometimes try the patience of even the most compassionate individual. Be forewarned that this is not a position for the impatient, or for the faint of heart.

 

How Much Does A Respiratory Therapist Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2014, the median respiratory therapist salary for an individual working in the United States was $58,490. The lowest 10 percent of persons employed in this profession earned $41,380, while the highest 10 percent earned $78,230. The state with the highest average salary is California with an annual mean salary of $77,280.

Factors That Can Influence Salary:

There are many factors which will influence the level of respiratory therapist salary in that location, such as the type of work place that the individual may find themselves in. A city hospital can afford to pay more than a smaller facility. A private institution may likewise be able to pay a higher salary than one that is funded by the state.

Geography also plays a role in determining the average salary. A person working in a state with a large population such as New York or California will generally earn more than one who works in a smaller, relatively poorer state such as Oklahoma. The level of experience an individual has will also be a deciding factor. The higher the level of experience and qualification a respiratory therapist possesses, the higher their skills will be valued.

 

Career Path:

There are a number of other careers that certification and training as a respiratory therapist can lead to. Some individuals who retire from this field will transfer to other areas such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or more technical areas such as radiation therapy. Others may choose to continue their education beyond the initial certification stage and become Registered Nurses or Doctors in a related field. The potential for career advancement beyond the initial stage of respiratory therapist is wide open.

 

Job Outlook:

Employment in the field of respiratory therapy is becoming more widely sought after than ever. Indeed, as the average age of the American citizen increases and health related problems increase accordingly, the field as a whole is expected to grow by a rate of 17 percent in the next ten years. Now is an excellent time to consider joining this rapidly expanding and richly rewarding occupation.

Respiratory Therapist Schools

Matching School Ads
  • Health Care degrees include BA in Health Care Administration, BS in Health Information Management, BS in Nursing (RN to BSN), and more.
  • Coursework focuses on relevant topics in the health care field, such as administration, planning, and policy.
  • Students can specialize in areas like Human Resource Management, Health Care Informatics Systems, and Long-Term Care Management.
  • Online degree programs that can help students pursue a degree on their own schedule.

Programs:

  • BA/Complementary and Alternative Health
  • Works closely with an advisory board from the medical community to ensure that their curriculum, equipment and instruction are current and relevant.
  • Offers special tuition pricing for Veterans, Active Duty Military and spouses/qualifying dependents of all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves.
  • ABHES-accredited:  An  advantage upon graduation
  • Short-term education:  Programs range from 10 months to 2 years
  • Blackboard Learn mobile allows students to complete assignments on the go.

Programs:

  • A.S. - Health Sciences - Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Degrees offered include Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Master of Business Administration.
  • Students are instructed in relevant business skills like communication, mathematics, and management.
  • Coursework emphasizes the development of project management, communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.
  • Flexible, 100% online and campus based programs available.

Programs:

  • MS in Management - Health Care Management
  • MBA - Health Care Management
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students

Programs:

  • Healthcare Management (BS)
  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine.
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities.
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content.
  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • Available business concentrations include Accounting, Economics, General Management, Marketing, and Human Resource Management.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA and Online Graduate Business Programs in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Programmatic accreditation provided by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Programs:

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • Healthcare Management programs at the bachelor and master’s level, with undergraduate specializations in health services administration and gerontology management.
  • Specialized degrees that provide in-depth study across multiple disciplines, such as law, marketing, business, government, and technology.
  • Industry-current curriculum where more of the courses you take are devoted to your field of interest, on average, than at other similar schools.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).

Programs:

  • Master's – Healthcare Management
  • Summarize the roles, functions, and impacts of an effective healthcare manager.
  • Evaluate existing research using quantitative statistical tools to assist in healthcare management decision making.
  • Identify, evaluate, and respond to common types of healthcare ethical dilemmas.
  • Describe the value of personal and professional development, community service, and life-long learning in healthcare management.
  • Evaluate the impact of information systems and technology on healthcare processes and the securing of health information.
  • Analyze the strategic impact of human resource development and management on healthcare organizations.

Programs:

  • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
  • Master - Healthcare Administration and Management
  • BS - Healthcare Administration and Management
  • Why study nursing at Grand Canyon University?
  • Our bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing are CCNE-accredited and the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions (CONHCP) is approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
  • We provide many options to prepare you to begin or advance your nursing career, including bridge programs and dual degrees.
  • GCU provides a low student-to-teacher ratio and a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients.
  • Request more information today about program offerings, CCNE accreditation, start dates, financial aid and more!

Programs:

  • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
  • Education Connection is a 100% Free College Matching Service used by 50,000 People Daily.
  • Get Matched to the Right Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, Healthcare Administration, Health Informatics, Nursing and Health Sciences Degree Program for YOU.
  • Affordable and Flexible Health and Medical Assisting Degree Programs from Top Colleges Across the Nation. Both Online And Campus!
  • Just Fill Out a Few Questions and You Can Find Your Perfect Medical Degree Program Within Minutes.
  • Start Using our Fast, Free, and Easy Matching Service Right HERE and Right NOW!

Programs:

Similar Careers: