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Quick Facts - Respiratory Therapists

Quick Facts - Respiratory Therapists

Quick Facts: Respiratory Therapists

2022 Median Pay $70,540 per year

$33.91 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education Associate’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2022 133,100
Job Outlook, 2022-32 13% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 16,700


What Respiratory Therapists Do

Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing—for example, because of a chronic condition such as asthma.

Work Environment

Most respiratory therapists work full time. Because they may work in medical facilities that are always open, such as hospitals, they may have shifts that include nights, weekends, or holidays.

How to Become a Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists typically need an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. Respiratory therapists must be licensed in all states except Alaska; requirements vary by state.


The median annual wage for respiratory therapists was $70,540 in May 2022.

Job Outlook

Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 8,600 openings for respiratory therapists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


* Data based on BLS 2022 reporting.