|Quick Facts: Respiratory Therapists|
$58,670 per year
$28.21 per hour
|23% (Much faster than average)|
Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing—for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema. Their patients range from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients who have diseased lungs. They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks, drowning, or shock.
Most respiratory therapists work full time. Because they may work in medical facilities, such as hospitals that are always open, some may work evening, night, or weekend hours.
Respiratory therapists typically need an associate’s degree, but some have bachelor’s degrees. Respiratory therapists are licensed in all states except Alaska; requirements vary by state.
The median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $58,670 in May 2016.
Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increased incidence of respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These respiratory disorders can permanently damage the lungs or restrict lung function.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for respiratory therapists.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of respiratory therapists with similar occupations.
Learn more about respiratory therapists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.