Your Respiratory Therapy Career
Respiratory Therapy F.A.Q.
It can take 2-4 years to become a respiratory therapist. To qualify for respiratory therapy jobs, you’ll need to:
1. Earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited respiratory therapy education program.
2. Earn one of two certifications: Certified respiratory therapist (CRT) or registered respiratory therapist (RRT).
3. Get your state license (with the exception of Alaska).
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, respiratory therapists earn a median salary of $70,540/year or $33.91/hour. This can typically range from $62,260–$81,610, depending on your location, experience, and credentials.
Respiratory therapy jobs are growing fast at 13%, with over 133,000 jobs in 2022.
Over 80% of respiratory therapists work in state, local, or private hospitals.
Depending on your respiratory therapy specialty, you might work in emergency rooms, neonatal ICUs, critical care units, cardiopulmonary diagnostic labs, rehabilitation centers, or nursing homes.
Respiratory therapy requires a unique blend of technical proficiency and interpersonal skills. Have the following skills? You might be a great fit for the field:
● Compassionate Communication: Actively listen and empathize with your patients in their struggles.
● Critical Thinking & Problem Solving: Assess your patient’s symptoms and work to develop a customized treatment plan.
● Detail-Oriented: Carefully monitor your patient’s vitals, progress, and treatments to ensure quality care.
● Resilience & Patience: Stay committed, even when working through long shifts and challenging problems.
Respiratory therapists need one of two credentials:
● Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or
● Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
Which do you need? It depends. CRT is viewed as an entry-level certification, while RRT is more advanced. RRTs must also pass the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE).
To qualify for respiratory therapy jobs as fast as possible, you might choose to earn an associate’s degree and become a CRT.
Consider earning your bachelor’s degree and becoming an RRT for higher pay and increased job opportunities.