Required Training of an RT
Respiratory therapists are healthcare practitioners that specialize in treating and assessing the cardiopulmonary system. To become a respiratory therapist, there are multiple steps and requirements.
The first step in becoming a respiratory therapist is to complete a degree in respiratory care or respiratory therapy. In addition, many degree programs also require competency assessments, as well as the completion of clinical hours for the gaining of experience. After graduation, respiratory therapists are able to work as bedside clinicians, patient educators, critical care specialists, and have positions in alternative care sites.
Also, in following their graduation, students can receive certifications. These certifications are provided through examinations required by The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). If they pass the first exam (the NBRC Therapist Multiple Choice Examination) with a lower score, the aspiring respiratory therapist will be awarded the entry-level Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential, but will not be registered as a respiratory therapist. If they pass the exam with a higher score, however, they would be allowed to take the Clinical Simulation Examination and become a registered respiratory therapist after passing it. After being successful in passing the Clinical Simulation Examination, they are awarded the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential, the highest-level credential for this field.
Finally, the aspiring respiratory therapist would need to apply for and obtain a state license. Students are required to have at least an associate degree to qualify for a license in every state in the US except for Alaska. Most states also require a background check for applicants. In addition, trainee licenses are offered for students in accredited respiratory care programs in some states. Once all of these steps are completed, they are ready to begin searching for a job and to begin working as a respiratory therapist.