For another year, the tough economy is the underlying thread in any discussion of salary in the sleep medicine field. While industry growth appears stable, the salaries of three out of six job categories that we surveyed were less so. The salaries of sleep center administrators held steady or increased from 2009 to 2010, but the salaries for sleep medicine practitioners—from sleep technicians to sleep physicians—fell overall. Registered polysomnographic technologists (RPSGTs), however, managed to pull away from the pack and have a good year, keeping the profession an attractive option for those looking to enter the field.

METHODOLOGY

Sleep Review’s fourth annual salary survey was conducted in partnership with Wells Fargo Securities, LLC. The salary survey included responses from 429 respondents received between June 22 and June 29, 2010. The salary figures are the respondents’ base salaries; they do not include the value of additional bonuses, stock options, or other incentives.

Unlike last year, this year’s survey looked at the median salary rather than the average reported salary. It is unlikely that the same people responded as did in 2009, so an absolute comparison cannot be assumed. Please consult other salary surveys conducted by industry professional associations for a more complete picture of the salary picture for the sleep medicine field.


Alison Werner is associate editor of Sleep Review. She can be reached at sleepreviewmag@allied360.com.

SLEEP TECHNICIAN

Of the six job categories surveyed, sleep technicians reported the largest decrease in their median salaries from 2009 to 2010. While no technicians from the Mountain and New England regions responded to the survey, and five or fewer responded for each of the remaining regions, technicians responding to the survey reported a 19% decrease in their median salary from $40,000 in 2009 to $32,500 this year. Median salaries ranged from $26,000 at the low end for technicians working in the East North Central region to $51,150 at the high end for technicians in the Pacific region.

SLEEP PHYSICIAN (MD)

Sleep physicians in the Pacific took first place for the highest median salary at $285,000 this year; however, this figure shows a 12% drop from last year’s high median salary of $325,000 for doctors practicing in the East South Central region. Physicians in the South Atlantic region reported the lowest median salary at $150,000 for 2010—the same low figure reported by the New England region last year. Although no physicians from the West North Central region participated in this year’s survey, and 13 or fewer respondents participated for each of the other regions, sleep physicians, overall, reported a 10% decrease in their salaries from $200,000 in 2009 to $180,000 in 2010.

REGISTERED POLYSOMNOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGIST (RPSGT)

Median salaries for RPSGTs ranged from $47,000 in the West North Central region to $55,000 in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions, down from last year’s range of $48,000 to $60,000. Overall, median salaries for RPSGTs across the country rose 4% from $50,000 in 2009 to $52,000 in 2010.

RESPIRATORY THERAPIST (RRT/CRT)

This year, the number of respiratory therapists responding to the survey was lower than last year (12 or fewer for each region, with no respondents from the Mountain and New England regions). Respiratory therapists in the South Atlantic and Middle Atlantic regions reported the lowest median salary this year at $45,000; however, this was a $10,000 increase from last year’s low median salary of $35,000 reported by the West North Central region. Pacific region respiratory therapists maintained their first place ranking for a second year with the highest median salary nationwide at $82,500—a 9% increase from $76,000 last year. Overall, the median salary for respiratory therapists was $50,000 this year, a 9% decrease from last year’s median salary of $55,000.

SLEEP CENTER DIRECTOR/SUPERVISOR/MANAGER

Sleep center director/supervisor/managers had the highest rate of participation among all salary groups this year (38 or fewer respondents for each region). Those in the West North Central region reported the highest median salary this year at $77,500, while for the second year in a row, sleep center director/supervisor/managers in the Mountain region had the lowest median salary nationally at $58,000. Overall, median salaries for sleep center/director/managers held steady with only a 1% increase from $67,292 in 2009 to $68,000 in 2010.

SLEEP CENTER CEO/OWNER/VICE PRESIDENT

Nationally, median salaries for sleep center CEO/owner/vice presidents in 2010 ranged from a low of $40,000 in the West North Central region to a high of $227,500 in the Middle Atlantic region. While no respondents from the Mountain region participated, and six or fewer respondents reported data for each of the other regions, the profession did report a 15% increase in median salary from $86,500 in 2009 to $100,000 in 2010—the highest increase among all professional groups participating in the survey.