The Respiratory Therapist Salary: How Much You Can Make and How to Begin a Career in Respiratory Therapy

William Miller

If you’re interested in respiratory therapy, it’s important to know what your earning potential is. Let’s discuss the average and median respiratory therapist salaries, the job outlook and the qualifications you need.

The Average and Median Respiratory Therapist Salary – Fresh Data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median respiratory therapist salary was $61,830 per year ($29.73 per hour) in 2021. The average pay was slightly higher at $68,190 annually ($32.78 hourly). However, it’s important to keep in mind that these numbers can vary depending on experience, location, and other factors.

For instance, respiratory therapists who work in hospitals tend to earn more than those who work in nursing facilities. In addition, those who work in metropolitan areas usually earn more than those who work in rural areas. As a result, it’s important to research salaries in your specific area before making a decision about whether to pursue a career in respiratory therapy.

Respiratory Therapist Salaries over the Years

The respiratory therapist salary has increased steadily over the years. In fact, respiratory therapists earned an average of $62,500 in 2018. This number has grown by 9% in just three years, and is expected to keep growing. So, there’s a good chance that your respiratory therapist salary will be even higher by the time you finish your training.

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Here are some more average annual salaries to compare:

  • 2010 – $55,200;
  • 2012 – $57,200;
  • 2014 – $58,490;
  • 2016 – $60,640;
  • 2018 – $62,500;
  • 2020 – $65,640.

As you can see, the wages have been growing by around $1,000 every year. This trend is likely to continue, so respiratory therapists can expect to see a healthy salary increase during their careers.

The Average Respiratory Therapist Salary by State

Now that you know a bit more about respiratory therapist salaries, it’s important to look at how they vary by state. The 5 highest-paying states for this job, as reported in 2021, were: California ($92,660), Alaska ($83,530), New York ($83,510), Hawaii ($80,140), and Massachusetts ($78,470).

This is probably due to the cost of living in these states. However, it’s important to note that the salaries in some lower-paying states, such as West Virginia and Kentucky, are still quite respectable at around $55,000 per year. You can find a full graph showing the data by state on the BLS’ website.

The Job Outlook for Respiratory Therapists

The respiratory therapist job outlook is good. In fact, the profession is expected to grow by 23% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average. This growth is largely due to an aging population and an increase in respiratory conditions – COVID-19 has also been a factor.

As a result, respiratory therapists will be in high demand in the years to come. So, if you’re thinking about pursuing this career, now is a good time to do so.

What Exactly Do Respiratory Therapists Do?

A respiratory therapist is a healthcare professional who helps patients with respiratory problems. They may work in a hospital, clinic, or nursing home, and often specialize in one area such as pediatrics, critical care, or pulmonary rehabilitation.

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Respiratory therapists help patients breathe easier by providing treatments such as oxygen therapy, chest physiotherapy, and aerosol therapy. They also educate patients and their families about respiratory conditions, how to manage them, and the importance of following a treatment plan.

Is Respiratory Therapy the Right Career for You?

If you’re interested in helping people with respiratory problems, then respiratory therapy may be the right career for you. This job is both challenging and rewarding, and offers many opportunities for growth. The respiratory therapist salary is also quite good, with wages increasing steadily over the years.

What Hours Can You Expect to Work?

Most respiratory therapists work full-time, although some may choose to work part-time. They often work evening or night shifts, as well as weekends and holidays. This can be difficult for those with families, but it’s also important to note that the pay is usually higher during these times.

Qualifications for Becoming a Respiratory Therapist

If you’re thinking of becoming a respiratory therapist, you’ll need to complete an accredited respiratory therapy program. These programs typically last two years and include both classroom instruction and clinical experience.

After completing a program, you will need to pass the National Board for Respiratory Care’s (NBRC) certification exam. This is a mandatory credentialing exam that all respiratory therapists must pass in order to practice.

Interested in Becoming an RRT? Respiratory Therapist Salaries Are Decent

As you can see, the wages for respiratory therapists have been steadily increasing over the past few years. In fact, the average salary for this profession is now around $68,190 per year, and is expected to keep growing. This means that you can expect to make a decent living if you pursue this career.

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If you’re interested in becoming a registered respiratory therapist, now is a good time to do so. The job outlook is good, and the respiratory therapist salary is respectable. So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey today!



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