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Respiratory Therapist : What They Do & Average Salaries

What is a Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists help patients dealing with respiratory issues. Operating under doctors’ guidance, they treat a wide variety of patients, including premature infants with underdeveloped lungs to elderly individuals with lung disease. They perform providing oxygen, overseeing ventilators, and delivering drugs to the lungs.

Average Registered Respiratory Therapist Salary in the United States

The average Registered Respiratory Therapist salary in the USA is $76,482, as of March 10, 2024. However, the income range typically falls between $69,493 and $94,359. Income ranges can fluctuate widely depending on many key factors, including educational background, certification, extra skills, and the number of years of experience you have spent in your field.

How to Become Registered Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists usually need at least an associate‚Äôs degree in respiratory therapy, often preferred with a bachelor’s degree. Accredited programs by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) are common.

High school students aiming for respiratory therapy should take biology, algebra, chemistry, and physics courses. Military programs also offer CoARC-accredited degrees.

Curriculum includes anatomy, physiology, and practical experience in clinical settings. Licensing is mandatory in all states except Alaska. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) certifications, with RRT often required by some employers.


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