2014 Salary Survey Results, Part 2

The 2014 Salary Survey results have garnered a lot of interesting findings so far. Part 1 explored average salaries by gender, region, age and more — and some might have been surprised by the numbers. A small bump in average salary did little to even out the gender disparity, and where you practice could affect your pay by as much as 24%. But there are more numbers to crunch and more surprises to uncover in this year’s survey.

Part 2 takes a look at salaries according to where in the field you have chosen to practice, your educational choices, and your career path. The survey suggests all of these decisions impact your wallet, so take a look at Part 2 to find out where you stand, and where you might consider moving to make a few more bucks.

Employment Setting
Most, or 60%, of survey takers work in a hospital setting, yet the 1% who work in private practice reported making 4% more. Surprisingly, those who chose “other” as their employment setting claimed the highest average salary at $72,235. A closer look at why this might be the case suggests their individual job titles might tip the scales in their favor a bit.

Charts Central: Check out the full results of the 2014 Salary Survey Results, Part 2

A lot of changes are forcing hospitals and therapists to evolve their practice. Although reduced reimbursement for COPD readmissions is shifting focus toward better discharge planning and home care, therapists working in the home reported the lowest average salary, 37% less than the therapists in the mysterious “other” category, and 20% less than the majority working in hospitals.

Sleep experts working in a sleep center or a sleep lab -making up just as many respondents, 14%, as last year — seem to be doing well for themselves. This year’s respondents make 9% more than last year. And while they make more than home care RTs, they still came in with an average salary 4% less than what was reported by hospital-based respiratory professionals.

Specialty
There was a lot of diversity when it comes to pay according to specialty. Faculty members came in at the top, making 14% more than the next highest paid therapists, Neonatal/Pediatrics, and a whopping 41% more than home care therapists. We also had some newly reported specialties, speaking to the diversity of the field. Asthma educators became a measurable group this year, if only at 1% of survey takers. They reported salaries in the middle of the road at $60,429, more than those working in the ED, long-term care and sleep, but less than those specialized in acute/critical care, cardiopulmonary and pediatrics.

Education
It’s no surprise your education can go a long way toward beefing up your paycheck, but the numbers might be more shocking than you expected. Most therapists, 54%, practice with an associate’s degree, but getting that 4-year degree really seems to pay off … literally. Therapists with a bachelor’s degree make almost 10% more, and Master’s educated therapists make 30% more. The few who stick it out to get a doctoral degree make almost 50% more than those with the entry level associate’s degree.

Credentials
Although almost more important than your educational background, the credentials you hold didn’t seem to make quite the splash as educational choice. The majority of practitioners, 69%, are RRTs, while only 7% are RSTs. Two percent decided to cover all of their bases and have both credentials. Having both credentials helps when it comes to compensation, as those 2% make between 3 and 4% more than therapists with either an RRT or RST after their name. The black horse of this question was the ever-elusive “None of the Above” category. Respondents who listed none of the common credentials came in with salaries that averaged 12% more than the RRTs. Just as with the employment setting, the individual job titles of these “None of the Above” survey takers were the key. Almost all of them, 73%, hold a position of leadership, whether as a lead tech or therapist, department manager/head or supervisor.

More and more therapists are seeking specialty certifications to improve their patient care and their pay. This year, 34% said they hold a specialty certification, while 28% said so last year. While the pay difference isn’t too impressive, no one can argue with 8% more each year.

Title
And this is where all the differences seem to boil down to — title. The largest group of our respondents, like last year, claimed their primary position to be staff at 38%. But upper management had their say in this year’s survey too, as department directors made up 7% of respondents, 10% were managers, and another 7% were lead therapists.

The field continues to adapt, offering therapists a wide range of career paths. Last year we listed only 6 options, while this year 15 different titles showed up with statistical significance; yet, 3% still chose “other.” The highest paid title was department director at $83,961. Staff made about half as much as their directors, while managers reported salaries just 8% below the directors. Shift supervisors came in with higher salaries than expected, making 7% less than managers, but more than faculty, lead therapists, and both sleep center managers and supervisors.

There is a lot more to glean from this year’s survey, so check out all of Part 2 to get more details on pay and career diversity. Don’t forget to check back next month to learn about average salaries by experience and age, as well as benefits, retirement and more!

View Part 2 of the 2014 Results Here!

The next installment of the 2014 Salary Survey Results will delve into average salaries by experience and age, as well as benefits, retirement and more, so check back next month to learn more!

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