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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 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate’s Degree 5,232
Bachelor’s Degree 1,563
Undergraduate Certificate 132
Basic Certificate 107

What Respiratory Care Therapy Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to respiratory care therapy/therapist and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist Majors

Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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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

When studying respiratory care therapy/therapist, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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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?

5,232 Associate's Degrees Annually
71% Percent Women
45% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major is dominated by women with about 71% 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:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist Students with Associate's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 428
Black or African American 668
Hispanic or Latino 1,017
White 2,647
International Students 39
Other Races/Ethnicities 433

Geographic Diversity

Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist appeals to people across the globe. About 0.7% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Respiratory Care Therapy Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $51,380 to $122,320 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to respiratory care therapy/therapist. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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

Find out what the typical degree level is for respiratory care therapy/therapist careers below.

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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 2018-2019 academic year, 424 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) 19 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 12 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 9 0
Associate’s Degree 356 6
Bachelor’s Degree 1 0
Post-Baccalaureate 19 1
Master’s Degree 12 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) 28,841
Radiologic Technology 9,673
Surgical Technology/Technologist 7,958
Diagnostic Medical Sonography/Sonographer and Ultrasound Technician 5,530
Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist 5,297
Athletic Training 4,064
Other Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions 1,908
Cardiovascular Technology/Technologist 1,429
Physician Assistant 811
Electrocardiograph Technology/Technician 773
Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist 645
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technology/Technician 580
Electroneurodiagnostic/Electroencephalographic Technology/Technologist 337
Polysomnography 322
Mammography Technician/Technology 73
Radiation Protection/Health Physics Technician 53
Cardiopulmonary Technology/Technologist 43
Hearing Instrument Specialist 39
Gene/Genetic Therapy 17
Perfusion Technology/Perfusionist 10

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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