What is a Respiratory Therapy Technician

A respiratory therapy technician (also known as Respiratory Therapy Assistants, Respiratory Care Assistants or Respiratory Therapist Assistants) is someone who assists a respiratory therapist in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory ailments. They aid in monitoring patients during treatments; use ventilators during therapies; work with patients to help treat conditions such as emphysema, asthma, pneumonia, and cystic fibrosis (among others); and prepare equipment for therapeutic purposes. They also aid in the modification of treatments, and the performing of various diagnostic procedures. For more on job duties and how to become a respiratory therapy technician, please visits our respiratory therapy technician job description page.

Work Environment

The work environment for respiratory therapy technicians is consistently medical in nature; hospitals are the primary place of employment, along with physician’s offices, nursing homes, and home health care services. They may also be employed by the state government, or in ambulatory care services.

Often the work will involve acting as part of a team, and interacting in close proximity to people with various diseases or infections. A good deal of contact with others is necessary, as it is field that involves working with one or more people, to benefit a patient.

Work Schedule

Most of the work for respiratory therapy technicians will be during a typical business schedule (ie 9-5, Monday-Friday), with some flexibility in days (weekends may be required, especially for patient treatments). However, as patients may become ill or injured at any time, and pulmonary crises may require a respiratory therapist, the technician may be required in some emergency instances, leading to evening or holiday work. However, this will be an exception rather than a rule; while a respiratory therapy technician will need to be prepared for such emergency work, it will not be required of them often.

Mean Annual Respiratory Therapy Technician Salary

The mean annual respiratory therapy technician salary is $47,510. The mean salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and divid that value by the total number of employees. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $31,590 and the top 10% makes over $66,530.

Respiratory Therapy Technician Salary: Quick Summary

2012 Mean Salary$47,510 per year
$22.84 per hour
Top 10% Salary$66,530 per year
$31.99 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$31,590 per year
$15.19 per hour
Number of Jobs, 201213,460

Respiratory Therapy Technician Job Outlook and Prospects

As the field is fairly new, and there is a preponderance of other medical professionals who can perform the same or similar tasks, the job outlook for respiratory therapy technicians is not particularly promising, especially compared to other positions in the medical field. While some growth is expected with the upcoming baby-boom retirements, there are many in private medicine, such as nursing assistants, who can fill the role of the respiratory therapy technician. There is a 4% increase in expected jobs expected from 2010-2020, far below the average expected growth of 19%.

Respiratory Therapy Technician Salary: Factors of Influence

The average respiratory therapy technician salary is $47,510 per year. While this figure is influenced by aspects such as experience, industry, and geographic location, these areas show less influence than other careers in the medical industry might see; in most cases, there is a $10,000 difference on either side, though geographic location offers the best possible difference, reaching gains of nearly $25,000.

Education and Specialization 

Education for respiratory therapy technicians is generally a two-year degree. With this in mind, education itself offers little in the way of salary improvement. Furthermore, as respiratory therapy technicians work under a respiratory therapist, there is little in the way of specialization. One can, however, work to improve their knowledge in the field, and upgrade their career to that of a respiratory therapist, if they so desire; this will bring a requisite salary raise.

Experience and Position 

Experience is one of the best ways to improve respiratory therapy technician salary. There is little room for position improvement, as a respiratory therapy technician works directly under a respiratory therapist. However, with added experience generally comes higher salary. 


The industry worked in offers some potential for salary consideration. Respiratory therapy technicians working in home health care services will earn below the national average, with a mean annual salary of $38,320. Meanwhile, those working in nursing care facilities receive the highest average salaries, at $59,750 per year. Most other industries have average salaries at, or near, the national average for the position.


The geographic location is the primary factor affecting respiratory therapy technician salary. The majority of states have averages in the $45,000-$50,000 range, however there are extremes on either side.

Puerto Rico, for instance, has an average of just $19,510. Nevada, on the other hand, far outstrips all others, with an average salary of $70,900. The next highest following Nevada is Connecticut at $62,850, and Maryland rounds out the top three at $62,060.

Metropolitan areas have similar tendencies, with Las Vegas, NV in the highest spot, with a salary base averaging $71,910. California sneaks in to the second position, with Santa Rosa-Petaluma offering $65,930, and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA comes third at $64,690.

Respiratory Therapy Technician Salary: Top 5

Top Paying Metropolitan AreasTop Paying StatesTop Paying IndustriesStates with Highest Employment Level
Las Vegas, NV: $71,910Nevada: $70,900Nursing Care Facilities: $59,750Texas: (1,450 jobs) $49,030
Santa Rosa- Petaluma, CA: $65,930Connecticut: $62,850Specialty Hospitals: $50,460Florida: (980 jobs) $46,400
Seattle, WA: $64,690Maryland: $62,060Other Ambulatory Health Care Services: $50,040Pennsylvania: (790 jobs) $47,010
Nassau, NY: $63,080New Jersey: $59,070General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $48,120California: (780 jobs) $51,350
Baltimore, MD: $61,780Washington: $59,000State Government: $47,970Michigan: (650 jobs) $46,730

Respiratory Therapy Technician Salary State by State