Respiratory therapists are dedicated medical professionals who care for patients with breathing problems, such as from emphysema, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They are needed to treat people across the lifespan, from newborn babies who were born prematurely, to elderly people facing lung disease. As a result, respiratory therapists are vital to the healthcare system.
Respiratory therapists enjoy a career that is fulfilling both personally and professionally. On a daily basis, these professionals have the unique opportunity to help people in need and to change others’ lives. Their dedication and expertise also translates into a rewarding paycheck. The respiratory therapist salary potential is great – about 35% above the national average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
If you are considering a career as a respiratory therapist, rest assured that this is a career where you can do what you love and feel compensated for it. And, unlike many other healthcare careers, becoming a respiratory therapist does not require a long-term (and therefore expensive) investment in medical school. You can become a respiratory therapist with a specialized associate degree, and start practicing and earning in just two years’ time.
Using occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as from the Connecticut Department of Labor, we’ve compiled the average respiratory therapist salary data, as well as job outlook information, below. With this, you can walk into this career path with clear expectations and confidence for the earning potential ahead.
How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in the U.S.?
In May 2021, the latest data available, the average salary for respiratory therapists was $68,190 annually, according to national statistics. This is well-above the national average for all occupations, which is $45,760 per year.
The top 90% of respiratory therapists in the nation earn upwards of $95,000 per year, while those starting out may earn closer to $47,000 annually.
In terms of hourly wages, respiratory therapists in the United States can expect to earn $32.78 per hour, on average.
Of course, the respiratory therapist salary will vary by experience, education, employer, and location. Some states, like Connecticut, boast even higher salary potential for respiratory therapists.
What is the Respiratory Therapist Salary in Connecticut?
According to the Connecticut Department of Labor (CT DOL), respiratory therapists earn an average salary of $72,981 annually, across the state. This equates to $35.09 per hour, and is approximately 18 percent above the national average for respiratory therapists today.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics supports this, ranking Connecticut among the top 12 paying states for respiratory therapists in the U.S.
Top-Paying Cities for Respiratory Therapists in Connecticut
Based on the Connecticut DOL data, the top-paying regions of Connecticut are as follows:
- New London/Norwich: $76,491 annually
- Bridgeport/Stamford: $75,991 annually
- New Haven: $72,471 annually
- Hartford: $71,604 annually
- Waterbury: $68,594 annually
Respiratory Therapist Salary: Entry-Level vs. Experienced
Of course, salary is always based on experience. More seasoned respiratory therapists, with more training and practice under their belts, will be positioned for higher earning opportunities. Meanwhile, entry-level respiratory therapists – such as those right out of an associate degree program – will often need to work their way up the salary threshold.
Entry-level respiratory therapists are those who have just graduated an associate degree program and who are recently licensed in the field. They are typically applying to their first, in-field job as a respiratory therapist. For these practitioners, the entry-level salary is about $28.31 per hour, versus the state’s average of $35.09 hourly.
Mid-level and experienced respiratory therapists usually have several years of patient care experience, having worked at a direct practice or clinical facility. These practitioners usually earn between $30.43 and $39.27 hourly in Connecticut, with the potential to earn even more as they grow their career.
Top-Paying Industries for Respiratory Therapists
Respiratory therapists who work in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and physician offices can often expect high salary outcomes. Most respiratory therapists work full time. Because of the significance of their work, and depending on their place of work and industry, some respiratory therapists may need to work during evening, night, or weekend hours.
Nationwide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the top-paying industries for respiratory therapists are as follows:
- Outpatient Care Centers: $46.38 per hour, or $96,470 per year
- Employment Services: $42.02 per hour, or $87,410 per year
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: $34.60 per hour, or $71,970 per year
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $33.00 per hour, or $68,640 per year
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories: $32.93 per hour, or $68,490 per year
In Connecticut, the top-paying industries for respiratory therapists include:
- Professional and Business Services: $35.77 per hour
- Education and Health Services: $34.10 per hour
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities: $31.36 per hour
- Financial Activities: $26.78 per hour
The Job Outlook for Respiratory Therapists
Amidst an aging Baby Boomer population and the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, respiratory therapists are needed everywhere: hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and even public health settings. They are needed to treat patients battling chronic respiratory conditions, in nursing homes where numbers are increasing, and in agencies to help detect and prevent disease.
Nationwide, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow an incredible 23% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. This translates to about 10,100 openings each year for respiratory therapists, on average, over the decade. Many of these openings are due to current respiratory therapists retiring from the workforce, while others are simply to keep up with the growing demand.
In the state of Connecticut, there are expected to be about 115 job openings for respiratory therapists annually.
If you are considering a career in respiratory therapy, now is the time to get started. The career field is booming and the need for qualified professionals is not expected to fade.
Start Your Future in Respiratory Care
Pursuing a career in respiratory therapy is a great move for someone who is dedicated, compassionate, and looking to breathe new life into their career.
As mentioned above, you do not need to invest a lot of time or money into medical school with this career path. Respiratory therapists just need an associate degree in Respiratory Therapy in order to be eligible to take their certification exam. This means just a couple of years to complete.
If you are ready to dive into a career is respiratory care, Goodwin University is a great place to start. You can gain critical knowledge and skills in our comprehensive respiratory therapist program, as well as encounter multiple opportunities to put your skills to practice in an active, health care setting.
As a leader in healthcare education, Goodwin University has very close, clinical partnerships with hospitals, health centers, and physicians throughout the state. As part of our respiratory care curriculum, you will carry out clinical rotations and get exposed to real-life experiences with real patients in need. Classes and clinical rotations are offered in the evenings and can be tailored to your busy schedule.
To learn more about the Respiratory Therapist salary in Connecticut, call Goodwin at 800-889-3282. You may also request more information online about our flexible respiratory therapist program.