Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory Therapist

Median Salary

Years of School

Job Outlook

The major duty of Respiratory Therapist is offer treatment and care for patients who are suffering from cardiopulmonary and breathing difficulties.

Additionally, these medical experts may also be used to offer emergency medical care to patients experiencing shock, heart attack or asphyxiation.

Job Description

When it comes to tasks performed by the respiratory therapist, the medical specialist majorly treats patients with difficulties in breathing.

As is not enough, respiratory specialists also treat chronic diseases as lung infections in elderly patients and premature infants.

When a patient has experienced asphyxiation or heart attack, you can call respiratory therapist so that he can take care of the emergency.

Therapists work in a number of environments from nursing care facilities, hospitals, out-patient care in patient’s homes and private doctor offices.

Respiratory therapists who normally works in office doctors tend to works regularly while those in nursing care facilities and hospitals may work weekend or night hours.

Respiratory Therapist Duties

  • Provision of emergency care
  • Performance of diagnostic tests
  • Keeping and monitoring records of treatment progress
  • Implementation of the treatment programs
  • Supervising respiratory therapy in technical times when implementing tests
  • Developing programs of treatment after consultations with physicians.

Alternative Job Titles

Registered Respiratory therapist – This is basically one with the highest level of respiratory therapist certification.

Certified Respiratory therapist – Generally an entry level for all the respiratory therapists and it’s usually awarded after one has met the academic requirements and importantly passing the relevant NBRC exam.

It’s normally a requirement that a respiratory therapist much possesses an associate degree although most of the employers prefer those with a bachelor’s degree.

The relevant and main certification body for all the respiratory therapists is National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).


One major question that lingers in everyone’s mind is what is the salary of a Respiratory Therapist?

Research indicates that the median salary for a normal therapist is generally about $64,706 (national average).

Moreover, the lowest paid Respiratory Therapist earns about $53,422 while the highest paid earns approximately $75,497 or more.

Certification is basically what determines the salary of these medical experts.

A therapist with a registered respiratory therapist certificate earns the most while a therapist with a median registered one earns a sitting salary of $63,000 and above.

The highest paid median registered respiratory therapist is one who nurses care facilities.

He earns a salary of about $57, 450 followed by one who carries out home health care services who earns about $55, 960.

Studies indicate that respiratory therapists who work in private physicians are the lowest paid with a salary of $52, 500.

Average Annual Salary by State

State Avg. Annual Salary
Alabama $61,406
Alaska $73,506
Arizona $64,124
Arkansas $59,853
California $72,665
Colorado $65,418
Connecticut $69,753
Delaware $68,977
Florida $62,247
Georgia $63,736
Hawaii $67,489
Idaho $61,406
Illinois $68,589
Indiana $63,218
Iowa $62,506
Kansas $62,312
Kentucky $61,342
Louisiana $64,253
Maine $65,353
Maryland $66,389
Massachusetts $73,636
Michigan $66,647
Minnesota $69,042
Mississippi $57,589
Missouri $63,606
Montana $61,600
Nebraska $61,212
Nevada $67,424
New Hampshire $68,330
New Jersey $73,895
New Mexico $60,436
New York $77,712
North Carolina $63,412
North Dakota $60,371
Ohio $64,512
Oklahoma $61,471
Oregon $67,942
Pennsylvania $69,642
Rhode Island $68,524
South Carolina $61,083
South Dakota $56,942
Tennessee $59,983
Texas $64,253
Utah $61,342
Vermont $63,865
Virginia $64,900
Washington $70,789
West Virginia $59,012
Wisconsin $64,383
Wyoming $58,883


The minimum required level for an entry of respiratory therapist position is primarily an associate degree although a good number of employers prefer a bachelor’ degree.

You can get a respiratory therapist program in universities, colleges, and crucially technical institutions.

Sample courses offered in Respiratory Therapy Program:

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Pulmonary care
  • Medical terminology
  • Respiratory-related therapeutics
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Physiology and anatomy

It’s a recommendation that students who are interested in pursuing a degree in respiratory therapy to take courses in math, physics, biology and most significantly, health.

Which institution you should choose?

If you want to join a school and pursue respiratory therapy course in a school, ensure you join an institution that has been certified by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

Certification & Licensing

Any certificate that is over to respiratory therapy expert must have been approved by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).

In a nutshell, NBRC offers two types of certification to students who have taken the course depending on the one you have taken.

The two types of certification include the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and importantly the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) designation.

Furthermore, the exam is done by respiratory therapists normally consists of 160 multiple choices and the fee is usually estimated to be about $190.

Students are normally given 3 hours to finish this exam.

For you to take part in the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) exam, you must first have acquired an associate degree from a certified degree and crucially finished a bachelor’s degree coursework in the equivalent field.

Job Outlook

The job market for Respiratory Therapists is one of the best when it comes to seeking a job.

Additionally, research indicates that form the year 2016 to 2026 career opportunities for respiratory therapists are estimated to rise by about 28%.

This is generally more than other jobs which are expected to rise between 8 to 15%.

In the current times, the field has employed about 130,200 people but by 2026 the number of employees is expected to rise to approximately 160,700.