Respiratory therapists (RTs) care for patients with breathing problems. Their duties range from providing oxygen to crucial life-saving/life-support functions like resuscitation, administering mechanical ventilation and caring for premature infants with underdeveloped lungs.
California has approximately 14,160 actively licensed respiratory therapists – more than any other state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that RTs will experience a 19 percent job growth during the ten-year period between 2012 and 2022. The Respiratory Care Board of California (RCBC) regulates the profession’s activities, and issues California Respiratory Care Practitioner RCP) licenses. To date, the RCBC has issued over 34,000 RCP licenses.
California boasts the highest respiratory therapist salaries of any US state, with top salaries as high as $101.60/year and an annual mean salary of $73,060 (hourly rate of $35.13).
However, salaries vary considerably with location. The Loa Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metro area has the highest RT employment level in the U.S. while San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City is the top-paying metro area in the nation.
In general, RTs with the most education attract higher salaries and those with “RRT” credential earn more than those who possess CRT certification.
The following list explores variations in the median annual salary of RTs employed in different California cities:
The table below provides 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) salary information for Respiratory Therapists in California: