Job Outlook is Good for Respiratory Therapists

 Published: May 2, 2019

By: Heather Willden


photo of two medical professionals walking up a staircase

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than average for all occupations.” This is explained by the fact that as the U.S. population ages, so too will an increased incidence of respiratory conditions, thus leading to an increased demand for respiratory therapy services.

Know the facts

A recent article published by Fox Business “Top 25 fastest-disappearing jobs in the US” listed Respiratory Therapy Technicians in the number two spot of their list. This presents a perceived perspective contrary to the Bureau of Labor Statistics projection referenced above.

First, a Respiratory Therapy Technician is not a Respiratory Therapist.

Second, the Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician designation was eliminated by the National Board for Respiratory Care in 1999, when it transitioned to the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). There are currently only two levels of respiratory therapist: the certified respiratory therapist (CRT) and the registered respiratory therapist (RRT).

Quick stats

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics, the National Employment Estimate for Respiratory Therapists is 129,600, while there are only about 9,000 Respiratory Therapy Technicians remaining in the workforce.

As part of the certification elimination in 1999, by design, the Respiratory Therapy Technician is naturally phasing out. In fact, the position is not listed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook index.

The Respiratory Therapist career, however, is robust and growing strong. Respiratory Therapists can be found in all U.S. states and beyond. The profession continues to thrive and adapt to ever-changing technology, environments, and population. Respiratory therapists are vital to their health institutions and deliver quality patient care.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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