Respiratory Therapist Salary
February 12, 2010
Medical tech careers are rewarding in more ways than just a paycheck and a steady job, they are also rewarding than the fact that you know that you’re helping people who can often times not help themselves. Pursuing a career as a registered respiratory therapist can provide the same sense of accomplishment, reward and stability.
With thousands of Americans suffering from breathing problems, there is no doubt that the demand for respiratory therapists will only increase in coming years. This fast-track career held over 120,000 jobs in the United States alone as of 2006. With a quickly earned certification or degree you can expect to quickly land a job as a respiratory therapist earning on average about $40,000 per year. Let’s take a look at many of the factors that will determine job placement, annual salary and educational programs.
Respiratory Therapist Job Description
As a respiratory therapist, you will work closely under the supervision and direction of a physician or doctor. It is your responsibility as a therapist to evaluate, care for and treat patients with breathing disorders. Some patients whom you may view on a daily basis may have symptoms such as lung problems or asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. You may also have to deal with patients who have been victims of heart attacks or involved in accidents, along with infants who were born prematurely and people who may have cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or even AIDS.
Some of the treatments and care you may provide to patients are that of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administering drugs to the lungs, administer oxygen, work with mechanical ventilators and measure a patient’s lung function. Skills that can come in handy for job placement is that of experience working with children or infants, and having people skills as you will be dealing with many patients on a day-to-day basis.
Most respiratory therapists jobs can be found in hospitals who have departments in anesthesiology and pulmonary medicine. Other respiratory therapist will find jobs at private physician offices, with health practitioners or find jobs in home health care. Job hours can be expected to be that of a normal 40 hour work week, but working in the medical field could mean working split shifts, long hours, weekends and even nighttime shifts. You will spend the majority of your time either standing or walking, and be exposed to stressful situations when an emergency arrives. It is important to keep in mind that you will be exposed to infectious diseases and viruses anytime you work in a hospital, however you will be taught proper procedures to help minimize any risk of contracting diseases.
Respiratory Therapist Training
If you’re considering pursuing a career as a respiratory therapist, keep in mind that there are two levels that you can achieve as a therapist. The first level being that of a certified therapist and the second being that of a registered respiratory therapist (RRT).
Respiratory therapist programs will include taking courses in physics, mathematics, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry and biology. Classes for respiratory therapists are offered through technical schools, community colleges, medical schools and the Armed Forces. It is important that when pursuing any career that no matter what school you receive training from, to make sure that it is an accredited school.
Technical schools will offer hands on training allowing a student to personally perform therapeutic and diagnostic procedures along with patient assessment. A few key factors that are vital while attending a respiratory therapy school is that you must be able to remain focused, pay attention to detail, work well with others, follow instructions and be able to use a computer.
Respiratory Therapist Salary
With the demand of respiratory therapists jobs expected to increase by up to 23% in the next six years, it is likely that the expected annual average respiratory therapist salary range will increase as well. There are many factors that come into play to determine what a therapists will make each year.
Geographic location as well as job location will play a large role in the expected salary range of a registered respiratory therapist. The amount of schooling and job experience you have will also help determine how much your hourly or annual income will be. Demand will also be a determining factor when averaging out the expected yearly income for respiratory therapist.
As of 2006 the average yearly salary for a respiratory therapist was $47,440 a year, while a large majority of therapist Saul and average income of $37,650 per year to $50,860 per year. A smaller percent of respiratory therapist saw a lower average salary at only $32,000 per year while some respiratory therapist saw a yearly salary of up to $58,000 per year.
As you can see there is definitely some fluctuation in the amount a person can expect to earn as a respiratory therapist. These fluctuations in salary are a direct reflection of a technician’s location, experience, schooling and job demand for a particular area. As long as people are sick and need help, there will always be a job demand for those who pursue her career in the medical field.