How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Florida – FL
Around 90% of all respiratory therapists nationwide and in Florida work in a hospital setting under the supervision (or in partnership with) doctors, surgeons, and anesthesiologists. Others work at diagnostic centers, at rehabilitation or extended care facilities, or with ambulance services. Nearly all respiratory therapists have direct contact with patients and are often asked to work with supervising physicians to develop treatment plans.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 6,420 respiratory therapists working in the state of Florida in 2007.
Nationwide, the outlook for respiratory therapists is very positive with employment expected to grow about 19% between 2006 and 2016. In Florida, growth is still anticipated at the rate of 2.7% over the same period. As older people suffer more acutely from respiratory and cardiopulmonary issues than younger people, the constant influx of retirees and other older transplants to Florida—and longer life expectancies-- will only increase the need for qualified and experienced respiratory therapists in the coming years.
Steps on How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Florida
First, those who want to become a respiratory therapist must earn a two or four year degree from an accredited school. To learn more click here.
In addition to a degree from an accredited college or university, the state of Florida also requires that respiratory therapists get a state license by obtaining a Certified Respiratory Therapist title (CRT) from the National Board for Respiratory Care. Graduates from a respiratory therapy program are eligible to take the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exam after passing the CRT exam. Again, additional specialty exams must be taken if a graduate has chosen a specialty for which he wants to be certified.
Answers to questions regarding prerequisites and details about the exams can be found at:
The National Board for Respiratory Care
18000 W. 105th Street
Olathe, KS 66061
Although the required licensure is awarded by the National Board, details regarding respiratory therapy specific to Florida, exam times, and fees can be requested from:
Florida Board of Medicine and Respiratory Care
4052 Bald Cypress Way
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Florida Respiratory Therapist Continuing Education
The State of Florida requires all respiratory therapists (segmented into both Registered and Certified Respiratory Therapists and both Critical and Non-critical Respiratory Care Practitioners) renew their license every two years. In addition to a fee—ranging from $176 to $332 depending on the activity level of the applicant—those seeking renewal must also complete a number of hours of continuing education.
Many courses are now available online but some of the coursework involves on-site, direct patient contact. Licensees must complete 24 hours of continuing education over the course of two years. A detailed breakdown of current requirements can be found at the Florida Department of Health website (http://www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/respiratory/rt_ceu.html).