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Respiratory Care Therapy Major

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Respiratory Care Therapy

5,218 Associates's Degrees Annually
1,563 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
#7 in Popularity (Associate's)
$62,500 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Respiratory Care Therapy Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many respiratory care therapy/therapist graduations there were in 2019-2020 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate Degree 5,201
Bachelor’s Degree 1,572
Undergraduate Certificate 120
Basic Certificate 43

What Respiratory Care Therapy Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, respiratory care therapy/therapist majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in respiratory care therapy/therapist should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Skills for Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist Majors

A major in respiratory care therapy/therapist prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Abilities for Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist Majors

Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Care Therapy?

5,201 Associate's Degrees Annually
73% Percent Women
45% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major is dominated by women with about 73% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of respiratory care therapy/therapist majors is as follows:

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 429
Black or African American 697
Hispanic or Latino 958
White 2,586
International Students 41
Other Races/Ethnicities 490

Geographic Diversity

Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist appeals to people across the globe. About 0.8% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Respiratory Care Therapy Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $51,380 to $122,320 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Respiratory Care Therapy Major  ( 51380 to 122320 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with respiratory care therapy/therapist require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to respiratory care therapy/therapist have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 3.2%
Some College Courses 0.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 60.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 17.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.5%
Master’s Degree 7.9%
Doctoral Degree 5.5%
Post-Doctoral Training 4.2%

Online Respiratory Care Therapy Programs

In the 2019-2020 academic year, 430 schools offered some type of respiratory care therapy/therapist program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 11 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 8 0
Associate’s Degree 357 2
Bachelor’s Degree 2 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 13 4
Post-Master’s 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Respiratory Care Therapy Worth It?

The median salary for a respiratory care therapy/therapist grad is $62,500 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 57% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $452,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to respiratory care therapy/therapist.

Major Number of Grads
Emergency Medical Technology/Technician (EMT Paramedic) 25,604
Physician Assistant 10,746
Radiologic Technology 9,366
Surgical Technology 7,150
Diagnostic Medical Sonography/Sonographer and Ultrasound Technician 5,400
Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapy 5,275
Athletic Training 4,467
Other Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions 1,975
Cardiovascular Technology/Technologist 1,435
Electrocardiograph Technology/Technician 689
Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist 598
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technology 506
Electroneurodiagnostic/Electroencephalographic Technology/Technologist 361
Polysomnography 243
Perfusion Technology/Perfusionist 123
Mammography Technician/Technology 74
Radiation Protection/Health Physics Technician 47
Cardiopulmonary Technology 45
Hearing Instrument Specialist 25
Gene/Genetic Therapy 13
Orthopedic Technology 0

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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