Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $61,330 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,850 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,980.
The top paying industry was hospitals, where the median annual salary was $61,670. This is followed by offices of physicians ($61,120) and then nursing care facilities ($59,260).
Autonomy and Flexibility
Respiratory therapists have a lot of control over the treatment they plan and how it is delivered. However, patients autonomy is a key part of best practice and therefore respiratory therapists must ensure that their patients remain in control of their decisions and always have the final say. Respiratory therapist also work in busy hospitals or other facilities and therefore may have less control over their schedule, limiting the career flexibility.
Locations and commute
According to Zippia, the best states to be a respiratory therapist, based on salary and total number of jobs, were:
- Vermont, where the average annual salary is $61,883
- Maine, where the average annual salary is $60,359
- New York, where the average annual salary is $66,602
- California, where the average annual salary is $74,097
- North Dakota, where the average annual salary is $56,874
The worst states for respiratory therapists Arizona, Utah, Michigan, New Mexico and Iowa.
82% of respiratory therapists in the United States worked for hospitals. 4% were employed by nursing care facilities and a further 2% by offices of physicians.
Respiratory therapists spend much of their time on their feet. They are vulnerable to injuries because they may need to lift or turn disabled patients. They will work very closely with other medical professionals, such as registered nurses, physicians or medical assistants.