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Contact: Bill Dubbs

AARC Releases Comprehensive Study on Respiratory Therapy Profession

Dallas, TX (Feb. 9, 2001) -- The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) 2000 Respiratory Therapist Human Resources Survey reveals a shortage of respiratory therapists (RTs) in today's healthcare system and many other important facts about the profession.

The study reveals details about:

  • the number of therapists working
  • the venues in which they practice
  • demographic characteristics of therapists
  • their compensation
  • supply and demand for respiratory therapists

For example, the study shows that hospitals alone reported 6,500 vacant full time equivalent (FTE) RT positions in 2000. To fill these vacancies, as well as those in every other venue of care employing RTs, the research showed that fewer than 5,600 new RTs entered the workforce during that year. Researchers came to this and other conclusions after examining responses from nearly 2,000 surveys returned by employers in acute care, long term care, and home care settings, as well as from RT education programs and individual therapists.

AARC Associate Executive Director Bill Dubbs says the AARC has conducted five human resources surveys over the past 20 years and that this study is the most comprehensive of its kind. "While previous AARC surveys relied exclusively on data provided by employers in acute care hospitals, this study was much broader," he said. "It included separate surveys to employers in all common respiratory therapy employment venues as well as respiratory therapists themselves, regardless of where they were employed."

Dubbs said the study projects there are 111,706 respiratory therapists currently in the workforce; the highest number ever reported. It also found that approximately three-fourths of all therapists at work are employed by acute care hospitals. Highlights from the hospital employer survey include:

  • 2,987 with 35+ beds surveyed; 778 respondents; 26.0% response rate
  • 74.2% urban (50,000 or more); 25.8% rural
  • Projects 86,702 staff therapist FTEs budgeted this year with 5,153 of those staff FTEs vacant
  • Mean salaries; Director $26.45, Supervisor $20.99, Staff $16.66, Diagnostic Technologist $17.51, Instructor/Educator $20.71, Disease Manager/Patient Educator $19.04
For more information about the AARC Respiratory Therapist Human Resources Study, visit the AARC website at www.aarc.org or call the AARC at 972/243-2272. You can purchase this study at the AARC Online Store (http://store.yahoo.com/aarc) or call Order Fulfillment at 972/406-4663. Cost is $55 plus shipping for AARC members, $75 plus shipping for nonmembers.