Respiratory therapists (RTs) care for patients with lung and heart problems like chronic bronchitis, asthma or sleep apnea. They perform lung capacity tests and administer breathing procedures. RTs are regulated by the Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy, which sets standards and ethics for the profession. Certification is only granted to those whose degree program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,130 respiratory therapists employed in Alabama in 2013. The annual mean salary among them is $46,200.
With a population of 212,237 (2010), Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, has the highest number of employed respiratory therapists, the second highest average salary among RTs and, along with the smaller city of Gadsden, the highest percentage of jobs relative to population. A detailed breakdown of RT salaries in Birmingham is shown here:
- Birmingham Respiratory Therapist Salaries
- Median – $52,560
- Average annual – $46,680
- Entry level – $36,690
- Senior level – $59,060
- Average hourly – $17.55 to $28.40
Annual median salaries for certified RTs in other Alabama cities are shown here:
- Huntsville – $54,747
- Mobile – $51,523
- Montgomery – $51,083
- Gadsden – $50,616
- Decatur – $49,398
- Auburn – $47,848
- Tuscaloosa – $47,161
- Florence – $46,902
- Dothan – $46,586
Approximately 121 students graduate in Alabama each year with degrees in respiratory therapy. A 14% increase in the number of RT jobs is expected in Alabama by 2018.
The table below was furnished by the U.S. Department of Labor and shows respiratory therapist salary data in cities across Alabama.