Respiratory therapists provide oxygen and other treatments to people who have breathing difficulties. These allied health workers typically have an associate degree and must be licensed in all states, except Alaska. Hourly wages vary according to work setting and location.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that respiratory therapists earned an average hourly wage of $27.83 in 2013, with a wage rage from $19.76 to $36.90 an hour. Most respiratory therapists worked in general medical and surgical hospitals, where the average hourly wage was $27.68. The next-largest employer -- specialty hospitals -- paid $28.43 an hour. However, top pay in the healthcare industry, as well as all industries that employed respiratory therapists, is in outpatient care centers. Respiratory therapists in these facilities earned an average hourly wage of $33.59. Kentucky was the lowest-paying state for respiratory therapists in 2013, with an average hourly wage of $22.18. California earned top pay honors, with an average hourly wage of $36.48.
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