How Do You Become a Respiratory Therapist?


Quick Answer

Respiratory therapists must earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. All states except Alaska require respiratory therapists to earn a state license as well. Meeting these requirements can take two to four years.

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Full Answer

  1. Enroll in a respiratory therapy associate's or bachelor's degree program

    Enroll in a respiratory therapy degree program offered by a college or university, vocational school or the Armed Forces. Coursework may include CPR certification, therapeutic methods and procedures, patient assessment, chemistry, physics, human anatomy, pharmacology and microbiology.

  2. Complete state licensing requirements

    Contact state medical licensing or health boards to determine the requirements necessary to earn a respiratory therapy license. Pass state exams to earn a license.

  3. Earn an additional certification in respiratory therapy

    Complete any additional certification training provided by the National Board for Respiratory Care. Choose from two levels of certification: Certified Respiratory Therapist or Registered Respiratory Therapist. Earning a Certified Respiratory Therapist certification requires therapists to earn an associate's degree and pass an exam. Earning the Registered Respiratory Therapist certification requires individuals to earn a CRT certification and pass a second exam.

  4. Apply for respiratory therapist positions

    Earn additional certifications for employment consideration. Many employers look for respiratory therapists who not only meet educational and licensing requirements but also have additional certifications. Maintain a respiratory therapist license and certification through continued education.

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