According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than average for all occupations.” This is explained by the fact that as the U.S. population ages, so too will an increased incidence of respiratory conditions, thus leading to an
increased demand for respiratory therapy services.
Median pay for RTs is about $60,000/year.
Respiratory therapists who seek out leadership roles find great career ladders in most settings. RTs who excel on the job will often advance from staff therapist, to shift supervisor, to department manager. There are even therapists who have ascended to the highest levels of hospital administration.
RTs who specialize in home care often branch out even further, establishing their own respiratory home care companies to provide equipment and clinical services. Others have started successful businesses providing respiratory diagnostics services, patient care education, and other services related to the field.
Some therapists venture into the corporate world as well, taking positions with equipment manufacturers as product or marketing specialists.
With the knowledge gained through the years of experience as an RT, their technical and patient care know-how is considered invaluable to these firms.
If you have a passion for education, you can parlay a successful career as an RT into a faculty position at a school of respiratory therapy, or as a clinical education coordinator for a hospital or other respiratory therapy department.
These therapists often get involved in respiratory care research as well, conducting the clinical studies that form the scientific basis for the progression.