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Respiratory Therapist

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What You Need to Know About Respiratory Therapist

Position Description Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.

What Do Respiratory Therapists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Explain treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears.
  • Perform bronchopulmonary drainage and assist or instruct patients in performance of breathing exercises.
  • Relay blood analysis results to a physician.
  • Maintain charts that contain patients' pertinent identification and therapy information.
  • Monitor cardiac patients, using electrocardiography devices, such as a holter monitor.
  • Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Respiratory Therapist Needed Skills

These are the skills Respiratory Therapists say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

  • Oxygen Therapist
  • Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT)
  • Inhalation Therapist
  • Staff Respiratory Therapist
  • Staff Therapist

Job Outlook for Respiratory Therapists

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 130,200 jobs in the United States for Respiratory Therapist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 23.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 30,400 new jobs for Respiratory Therapist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 9,800 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Respiratory Therapist are Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Maryland, or Nebraska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Respiratory Therapist

The typical yearly salary for Respiratory Therapists is somewhere between $43,750 and $83,520.


Respiratory Therapists who work in California, Alaska, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Respiratory Therapists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $50,770
Alaska $76,610
Arizona $58,420
Arkansas $52,050
California $79,640
Colorado $63,070
Connecticut $70,410
Delaware $67,950
District of Columbia $78,540
Florida $57,960
Georgia $57,520
Hawaii $71,460
Idaho $57,700
Illinois $60,500
Indiana $55,610
Iowa $53,870
Kansas $55,080
Kentucky $49,890
Louisiana $53,510
Maine $59,410
Maryland $67,660
Massachusetts $73,660
Michigan $57,040
Minnesota $67,190
Mississippi $49,220
Missouri $56,320
Montana $57,310
Nebraska $55,560
Nevada $73,530
New Hampshire $66,570
New Jersey $73,390
New Mexico $58,200
New York $74,890
North Carolina $56,620
North Dakota $57,720
Ohio $56,830
Oklahoma $54,540
Oregon $69,000
Pennsylvania $56,970
Rhode Island $67,060
South Carolina $55,990
South Dakota $51,510
Tennessee $51,400
Texas $59,930
Utah $61,480
Vermont $66,260
Virginia $60,200
Washington $69,540
West Virginia $50,420
Wisconsin $62,150
Wyoming $57,960

Tools & Technologies Used by Respiratory Therapists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Respiratory Therapists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Database software
  • MEDITECH software
  • Calendar and scheduling software
  • Electronic medical record EMR software
  • HMS

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Learn what Respiratory Therapist education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become a Respiratory Therapist?


Who Employs Respiratory Therapists?


The table below shows the approximate number of Respiratory Therapists employed by various industries.



Image Credit: via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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