Respiratory Therapist Wages

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Respiratory Therapist Wages

Respiratory therapist jobs are on a rise in the United States because the salary is decent, and the career outlook is excellent. Here’s an article that focuses on the wages of these professionals, as well as the job description and educational requirements for the same.

The medical industry in the United States is certainly on a rise. This is because the need for quality health care is increasing day by day. Today, with the development in medical science and technology, this industry has witnessed several types of allied jobs as well as medical jobs directly related to patient care and surgeries. A respiratory therapist is one such job, which is not only high paying, but also has a wide scope for development and growth as well.

People who work in the area of providing treatment to patients suffering from respiratory or cardiopulmonary disorders are termed as respiratory therapists. But the most important question young aspirants are confronted with is, how much do these professionals earn? The salary depends upon many factors. As you proceed, you’ll get to know the salary, and also get an idea of the factors associated with it. But first, let’s take a look at what respiratory therapists do to earn their living.

Job Description

We have already seen the definition of respiratory therapist. However, the definition itself doesn’t cover the entire work scope, as there are many other duties and responsibilities that they have to perform. The following enlists some of those tasks and duties.

  • The core job of respiratory therapists involves treating patients from all ages encountering respiratory problems, lung diseases, etc.
  • Providing information and suggesting preventive measures for respiratory problems.
  • Prescribing exercises to improve the activity of breathing.
  • Carrying out diagnostic tests and also conducting physical examinations to identify problems.
  • Preserving medical records pertaining to patient care and history and coordinating with doctors from other departments to know about patient details.
  • Operating equipment, such as ventilators and respirators, and looking after their maintenance and care.
  • Performing administration tasks, such as purchasing additional equipment and medical supplies for the department, and also managing day-to-day schedule and patient appointments.

Educational Requirements

A respiratory therapist’s job is a highly specialized job and therefore requires detailed training of all the aspects related to it. To become a certified respiratory therapist, it is necessary to obtain a high school graduation certificate, with subjects such as science and mathematics. Further, you need to either opt for a 2-year Associate Degree or a 4-year Bachelor’s Degree in respiratory therapy. Both these training programs are governed by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).

Passing the primary certification examination is necessary to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). This exam is followed by another one to obtain a written registration. It is also required to clear the clinical stimulation exam. Both these examinations are necessary in order to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). On becoming an RRT, you can opt for specialized training programs in respiratory care.


The salary actually depends upon the size of the organization and also the educational qualifications. However, experience also plays an important role in deciding your salary. On an average, respiratory therapists earn around USD 40,000 to USD 43,000. According to some statistics, the highest 10 percent of respiratory therapists earned more than USD 55,000, while the lowest 10 percent earned around USD 30,000 per year. These jobs might not be amongst the highest paying, however, looking at the enormous career opportunities in the near future, one can certainly think of opting for a career in this field.

Remember, you might not get high paying jobs in the initial days of your career. But with knowledge, experience, performance, and, most importantly, ‘patient trust’, you can grow enormously and simultaneously earn a lot.

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