What is the salary of a Respiratory Therapist? How much does a Respiratory Therapist make? What are the best states to work as a Respiratory Therapist?

Are any of these questions what you’re looking for? If so, then you’re in the right place. As you will see, we have put together a guide that has everything you need to know about the salary of a Respiratory Therapist, and which states that pay the most.

Of course, it’s not all about the money!

There are many other factors that you must take into consideration when deciding what is the best place to work for YOU. With that being said, we still wanted to provide the monetary information for those who are looking for it.

So if that’s you, keep scrolling for all the details about the salary of a Respiratory Therapist. Let’s dive in! But first, we need to discuss what a Respiratory Therapist actually does on the job. 

What is a Respiratory Therapist?

 A Respiratory Therapist provides therapeutic treatments and carries out diagnostic procedures, among many other high-skill activities. Moreover, Respiratory Therapists are in charge of taking care of patients who are receiving mechanical ventilation (life support), so it’s no wonder that a Respiratory Therapist should earn a hefty salary. The good news is, a Respiratory Therapist does get paid relatively well. But how much exactly do they earn?

How Much Do Respiratory Therapists Make?

According to Salary.comthe average salary that can be earned by a Respiratory Therapist is:

$67,062

Now, this might not seem super attractive at first glance. But the fact of the matter is this: Respiratory Therapists get to earn a good salary while performing one of the most rewarding jobs that there is. Period. 

I mean, what could be better than helping people and seeing patients improve their ability to breathe?

Also, keep in mind that the figure listed above is only the average salary. Most Respiratory Therapists typically earn between $44,490 to $72,912, and sometimes much more certain cases. The lowest paid Respiratory Therapists tend to make less than $37,920. The good news is, there’s still plenty of room to grow even if you find yourself in the lowest paid bracket.

What Influences the Salary of a Respiratory Therapist?

As we all know, quite a number of factors come into play when determining the wages for any specific job category. Your earning potential as a Respiratory Therapist depends on qualification, experience, location, and type of employer.

So, if you’re looking to get paid as a respiratory therapist, you must undergo the necessary training and obtain the relevant qualifications. Speaking of qualifications, the minimum requirement for the job is a two-year associate degree. However, it seems that organizations are pushing more and more for a bachelor’s degree. Only time will tell.

Prospective students are lucky because there are multiple Respiratory Therapy Schools to choose from in each state.

Does Location Affect the Salary of a Respiratory Therapist?

To answer this question briefly: Absolutely!

Respiratory Therapists in some states earn a higher salary than those in other locations in the United States. For instance, a Respiratory Therapist working in Nevada, California, and Connecticut earn, in some cases, much higher salaries than those in other states. 

There are also states that earn significantly less than the average as well. Such states include Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota, Iowa, and Mississippi. We will discuss the salaries of the remaining states below. 

What are the Highest Paying States for Respiratory Therapists?

After doing some research, I was able to find the highest and lowest paying states for Respiratory Therapists. As it turns out, location is the biggest factor that influences the salary and wages of a Respiratory Therapist. Sure, there are other factors that come into play, such as experience, but none as big as the state that you live in.

That’s why it’s important to compare the wages of the best and worst states to work as a Respiratory Therapist. Although for many, money is not the biggest issue. But for a lot of us, the salary amount is a huge factor in where we choose to work and live.

So if you are a new graduate still searching for your first job, or even if you are a student but you’re looking ahead to try to decide where you want to work once you graduate, this list will help you see which states you will be able to earn the most money in. Let’s take a look at the lists of the highest and lowest paying states, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational & Wages Database.

Highest Paying States to Work as a Respiratory Therapist:

State

Average Salary

California

$73,323

Nevada

$69,540

Connecticut

$67,890

New Jersey

$67,670

Alaska

$67,220

Massachusetts

$66,430

Delaware

$66,190

Hawaii

$65,960

New York

$64,380

Washington

$63,380

As you can see, California, on average, offers the largest salaries for Respiratory Therapists, exceeding the national average by 40%. Nevada and Connecticut also offer competitive rates, respectfully. If you’re feeling frisky, Alaska and Hawaii are also two of the highest paying states as well. Any travel Respiratory Therapists out there?

Always keep in mind, though, that some of the higher paying states tend to have a higher cost of living as well. You should do your own research and factor this into the equation as well when choosing a state to work as a Respiratory Therapist. 

Lowest Paying States to Work as a Respiratory Therapist:

State

Average Salary

Kentucky

$45,460

Alabama

$45,770

West Virginia

$46,600

Tennessee

$47,640

Arkansas

$47,680

North Dakota

$47,720

Mississippi

$48,260

South Dakota

$49,160

Oklahoma

$49,160

Missouri

$49,680

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These states may be great in their own respective ways, but if you’re wanting to earn a high salary as a Respiratory Therapist, maybe they’re not for you.

As you can see, Kentucky comes in with the lowest salary for Respiratory Therapists, followed by Alabama and West Virginia. Also, the state where I currently work (Mississippi) comes in on the list as one of the lowest paying states. I love my job and I’m content with the salary I earn, which goes to show that it really isn’t all about the money. 

Now that we what the highest and lowest paying states (in the field of Respiratory Therapy), let’s take a look at the salaries of the other remaining states:

Respiratory Therapist Salary by State:

State

Average Salary

Alabama

$45,770

Alaska

$67,220

Arizona

$52,670

Arkansas

$47,680

California

$73,320

Colorado

$56,640

Connecticut

$67,890

DC

$57,540

Delaware

$66,190

Florida

$53,720

Georgia

$51,430

Hawaii

$65,960

Idaho

$53,770

Illinois

$53,210

Indiana

$51,340

Iowa

$50,680

Kansas

$50,150

Kentucky

$45,460

Louisiana

$51,580

Maine

$53,950

Maryland

$62,010

Massachusetts

$66,430

Michigan

$52,370

Minnesota

$61,460

Mississippi

$48,260

Missouri

$49,680

Montana

$52,340

Nebraska

$51,280

Nevada

$69,540

New Hampshire

$61,080

New Jersey

$67,670

New Mexico

$52,860

New York

$64,380

North Carolina

$52,040

North Dakota

$47,720

Ohio

$52,150

Oklahoma

$49,670

Oregon

$60,560

Pennsylvania

$56,050

Rhode Island

$59,730

South Carolina

$52,810

South Dakota

$49,160

Tennessee

$47,640

Texas

$54,190

Utah

$55,960

Vermont

$57,700

Virginia

$55,960

Washington

$63,380

West Virginia

$46,600

Wisconsin

$56,270

Wyoming

$53,660

 

Are There Job Opportunities in the Field of Respiratory Therapy?

It’s important to note that the entire healthcare industry has grown and will continue to grow over the coming years. The field of Respiratory Therapy is sure to follow suit.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of Respiratory Therapy is bound to grow at a much faster rate than average (as much as 21%) through 2020.

There are several factors as to why this field will continue to rise in the coming years. For starters, the population of old folks (i.e. baby boomers) keeps increasing by the day, and most are in need of a Respiratory Therapist who can help them with breathing difficulties.

As we know, a large percentage of the aging population suffer from severe diseases including COPD, heart disease, pneumonia, and emphysema. This means there will be increased demand for Respiratory Therapists in order to provide care for these patients. So rest assured that by becoming a Respiratory Therapist, you are joining a booming healthcare field that shows no signs of slowing down in regards to growth and job opportunites. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. You now know everything this is to know about the Respiratory Therapist salary and wages. We even covered some of the best (highest paying) and worst (lowest paying) states as well.

All in all, being a Respiratory Therapist comes with loads of benefits. In my opinion, the biggest is knowing that you’re needed to save lives on a daily basis. What more could you ask for? The above-average salary that you earn as a Respiratory Therapist is an added bonus, and to me, it’s just icing on the cake.

Another good thing is that you’ll get to choose the location and medical setting in which you wish to work. You will have the opportunity to work in any state within the United States, just as long as you have the necessary licenses and credentials. And now that you have the list that we provided above, you can make the absolute best decision for you. Thank you so much for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend. 

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