Respiratory Technician Certification
Respiratory technicians administer aerosol treatments and operate ventilators for patients with breathing issues. Find out about education programs and how you can become certified in this field.
What Are the Education Requirements for Respiratory Technician Certification?
To qualify to take the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) certification exam, the minimum level of education required by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) is an associate's degree. This 2-year degree must be earned from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). You may also be able to take the certification exam by completing a bachelor's degree program offering a special certificate of completion.
|Prerequisites||Associate's degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)|
|Common Courses||Anatomy, mathematics, pediatric care, physiology, oxygen administration|
|Certification Exam Structure||Multiple-choice questions|
|Continuing Education||Recertification is required every five years|
|Advanced Certifications||Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)|
|Median Salary (2018)||$60,280* (for respiratory therapists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||23%* (for all respiratory therapists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses Can I Expect?
You may be able to find schools offering distance education courses for both associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Your program may only provide online courses that focus on theory and book learning. Some courses may require you to complete on-campus activities for hands-on training or clinical work. Your courses will cover CRT exam topics by training you to use oxygen treatments, blood gas analyzers, data provided by electrocardiogram machines and nebulizers for treating asthma.
Associate's degree programs might teach you to work with elderly and children, the relationship between the heart and lungs, airway management, the different types of respiratory medication and how to take care of patients at home. You can expect to take courses in critical care life support, pediatric care, anatomy, physiology, clinical care, pharmacology, oxygen administration and home care. General education courses include biology, English composition, mathematics, psychology and chemistry.
Bachelor's degree programs provide advanced studies in pathophysiology, cardiopulmonary physiology, pediatric care and mechanical ventilation. The program may require you to complete courses in patient assessment, therapeutics, program administration, pathology, biomedical ethics, patient monitoring and function testing. You can also expect to take many of the same general education courses found in an associate's degree program.
What Can I Expect On My Exam
Your certification exam will consist of multiple-choice questions. The topics on the exam will cover therapeutic procedures, clinical data and equipment use. Opportunities are available for you to take free practice exams in preparation for the real exam.
How Do I Renew My Certification?
Certification will need to be renewed after five years. The first way is by completing continuing education courses through accepted distance education courses, panels, lectures, symposiums, workshops or seminars. The second way you can renew your certification is by retaking the certification exam.
How Can I Advance My Career?
The NBRC offers advancement opportunities for CRTs through certification as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). To be able to earn this designation, you will be required to complete the RRT exam within three years of graduating from an accredited program or earning your CRT certification.
To be able to take the RRT exam, you will need to have completed an associate's or bachelor's degree program in respiratory therapy. You will also need to complete at least two years of full-time, supervised clinical work. The RRT certification process consists of skill demonstrations and a written exam.