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California Respiratory Therapist Salaries

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:

California City
CRT Credential
Anaheim
$63392
Apple Valley
$59869
Bakersfield
$58098
Berkeley
$64051
Burbank
$61867
Carlsbad
$59813
Coachella
$58589
Escondido
$59407
Fresno
$57516
Huntington Beach
$62392
Irvine
$62392
Los Angeles
$61867
Oakland
$64051
Pasadena
$61867
Riverside
$59525
Sacramento
$61291
San Diego
$60033
San Francisco
$68903
Santa Barbara
$59711
Victorville
$60304

The table below provides 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) salary information for Respiratory Therapists in California:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
Bakersfield-Delano CA
260
65640
Chico CA
160
79610
Fresno CA
290
83760
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA Metropolitan Division
4250
72930
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA
5700
72770
Modesto CA
180
82700
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA Metropolitan Division
1170
88770
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura CA
240
72580
Redding CA
120
67200
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA
1290
67320
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville CA
720
86720
Salinas CA
100
83250
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA
900
63590
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont CA
1900
89600
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City CA Metropolitan Division
730
90730
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA
760
86960
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine CA Metropolitan Division
1450
72290
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta CA
180
75560
Santa Cruz-Watsonville CA
Estimate Not Released
67650
Santa Rosa-Petaluma CA
130
75830
Stockton CA
270
68640
Vallejo-Fairfield CA
180
86730
Visalia-Porterville CA
120
68450
North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area
90
70110
Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area
90
76690