Respiratory Therapist Salary Guide & Career Outlook

Respiratory therapists are also known as physiotherapists in New Zealand. In the United States they earn $51,011, in Australia, their salary is AU$(86,723), and in the United Kingdom, it is E32,268 ($34,154). The pay in New Zealand and Canada has very similar U.S. dollar conversions at $40,851 and $40,936, respectively. Various factors impact the respiratory therapist salary.That includes how experience and different industries affect those wages, what the job outlook and working schedule are, and the common benefits they receive.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make per Year by Country?

Respiratory Therapist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand* India South Africa
Hourly Pay $24.00 C$31.00 ($23.66) E15.51* ($16.42) AU$41.69* ($32.16) NZ$30.00 ($21.69) Rs 208.37 * ($3.13) R93.75* ($7.28)
Annual Pay $51,011 C$53,633 ($40,936) E32,268 ($34,154) AU$86,723 ($66,542) NZ$56,495 ($40,851) Rs 433,424 ($6,498) R180,000 ($13,985)

*These figures are estimated based on the other pay information given. This assumes a 40 hour work week.

make a respiratory therapist salary

Respiratory Therapist Salary Influencing Factors

The pay ranges listed in this respiratory therapist salary guide come from several different sources. Canada, New Zealand, and the United States had enough data reported to Payscale to generate a report. The reported pay from Australia and India is from SalaryExpert. The United Kingdom data comes from Plotr, and for South Africa, it comes from an actual job posting.

1. Location

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in the US?

The annual respiratory therapist pay ranges from $36,622 at the low end to $72,807 at the upper end. However, they may see a bonus of $287.83 to $7,419, profit sharing of $1,325, and a commission of $6,500. If they get paid hourly, they earn $19.20 to $33.42 with an overtime rate from $20.92 to $49.66. In total, they will receive anywhere from $39,674 to $72,073 a year.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in Canada?

Respiratory therapists in Canada can expect a pay from C$36,016 to C$79,012. In addition, they can earn a bonus of C$5,000. The hourly rate is C$22.80 to C$41.35 with overtime of C$11.74 to C$76.48. Their complete salary goes from C$40,614 to C$85,856.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in the UK?

The respiratory therapist salary in the United Kingdom ranges from E22,747 to E43,453. This equates to an estimated hourly rate of E10.93 to E20.89. There are no additional sources of income reported. Therefore the final pay should be similar to the salary listed above.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in Australia?

The average pay for a respiratory technician in Australia is AU$86,723. This number comes from SalaryExpert. This site requires entry of various information to generate a customized estimated salary. Therefore, this number generated after including the skills of filling prescriptions, patient care, and no prior experience in the field.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in New Zealand?

Respiratory therapists in New Zealand are known as physiotherapists. Their salary range is NZ$45,238 to NZ$70,409. Also, they can receive a bonus of NZ$496.65 to NZ$10,067 and commission of NZ$15,075. The hourly pay is NZ$23.26 to NZ$44.50 with overtime of NZ$25.00. Thus, the full respiratory therapist salary is NZ$46,709 to NZ$76,753.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in India?

Similar to Australia, this report comes from SalaryExpert. Therefore, only one number is available. The median respiratory care salary is Rs 433,424.

How Much Does a Respiratory Therapist Make in South Africa?

In South Africa, the respiratory therapist salary for a specific position listed by Global Medical Recruiting is R8,300 to R15,000 a month. This is a tax-free salary. In addition to the salary, they see a monthly bonus of R1,250 for transportation and every year they work they receive an additional bonus of one month’s salary.

2. Experience

In New Zealand, the respiratory therapist salary increases NZ$10,000 in the first 10 years, plateaus for the next 10 years, and then increases about NZ$4,000 for those with more than 20 years of experience. Pay in Canada peaks at 20 years of experience and then decreases slightly. In the United States, their salary increases along a linear path through the entirety of their career.

The most common range of experience in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States is 1-4 years.

3. Industry

Most therapists work in hospitals. The 20 percent who do not work in hospitals work in nursing homes, physician offices, or educate future respiratory therapists. For the most part, an RRT will work with elderly patients or people with chronic conditions. However, as can be seen from the work environment described below this is not always the case.

An example of the type of work environment a respiratory therapist may see is the neonatal intensive care unit. These therapists are responsible for monitoring the respiratory status of at-risk babies and providing surfactant to premature babies to help their lungs breathe. Regardless of the patient, respiratory therapists need to closely monitor their air exchange and provide them with the appropriate amount of additional support.

Schedule & Working Hours

If you pursue a respiratory therapist career, you will work various schedules, including nights, weekends, and holidays. This is because they work in medical facilities that do not close. Shift work is normal. A typical shift for a full-time therapist is 12 hours. They work this shift three times a week.

The shift starts with checking on patient care from the previous therapist. They then make rounds with the rest of the medical team and check on the patients at designated times throughout the day. These are the activities that will happen every day. However, for a therapist that works at a hospital, there activities can change based on which patients get admitted. For all of the patients, the respiratory therapist is responsible for their ventilator assessment, administering their respiratory medicine, conducting needed blood draws, and monitoring their vitals.

Bonuses & Benefits

Full-time respiratory therapists see a typical suite of benefits including healthcare coverage, vacation time, sick time, retirement accounts, possible flexible spending accounts and tuition reimbursement. Their overarching benefit and reason for high job satisfaction are that they get to take care of the patient and help them recover.

These professionals also get to work as part of a valued healthcare team and have responsibility for one portion of a patient’s care.

The table below lists healthcare benefits when they are available.

Country United States Canada United Kingdom Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Medical 78 81 15
Dental 70 71
Vision 60 46 3
None 19 19 83

Career Outlook

In the United Kingdom, there are more jobs in the healthcare sector due to a shortage of skilled workers and a projected increase in the number of respiratory therapists.

The United States job outlook is expected to be 12 percent through the year 2024. The main reason for this increase in openings is due to an aging population and the increasing rise of chronic health conditions. These conditions include obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and others. Certain areas of the country will have a higher demand for respiratory therapists than others. These are primary rural or poor urban areas.

If you identify as a male and are looking for a job as a respiratory therapist, you will be in the minority. The female employees make up for 77 percent New Zeala, along with 79 percent in Canada and 65 percent in the United States.


A respiratory therapist career is a great choice for someone who wants to work in healthcare, enjoys caring for people, and administer medication. Same as the occupational therapist, respiratory therapists will work with the elderly, the general population also needs a certain number of these professionals. They have a middle level of income in most countries and have a flexible schedule with many days off.

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