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How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Pennsylvania – PA

Becoming a Respiratory Therapist in Pennsylvania

    1. Earn a high school diploma
    2. Enroll in a two- or four-year college.
      There are a wide variety of courses offered in Respiratory Care technology. The National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) explains which organizations support which programs. Additionally, there are different levels of Respiratory Care education. Sitting for the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exam requires more advanced coursework.
      To become an RRT, you can already be a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) for four years or currently be earning a Bachelor’s degree in a qualified Respiratory Therapy program and have finished the coursework relevant to the certification.

  1. Determine which of two NBRC exams you wish to sit for.
    To sit for the CRT exam, you must prepare to answer 140 scored multiple-choice questions that verify knowledge of entry-level topics.
    To become an RRT requires passing a tougher exam. You must first pass the CRT exam. Then you must pass a more advanced 115-question exam (multiple choice) and the clinical simulation. This is a 10 question written exam that simulates situations you might actually encounter with a patient.
  2. Pass the NBRC exam.
  3. If you have practiced in another state, obtain letters of good standing from that state’s licensing board.
  4. Complete the licensing application, including a resume with work history and education.
    Note that you can earn a year-long temporary permit from Pennsylvania to practice if you are near graduation or have graduated and are waiting for NBRC test results. Ultimately, though, you need to obtain the full license to pursue Pennsylvania respiratory therapist careers.
    You can obtain your license from either Pennsylvania’s Board of Medicine or from its Board of Osteopathic Medicine, depending on your career path. 90 percent of licensees use the Board of Medicine.
  5. Receive your Pennsylvania license and find an RT job.
  6. The license renewal date is December 31 at the end of each even numbered year and costs $25.
  7. Pennsylvania also offers a special volunteer license, generally to retired practitioners who choose to donate their services to community-based clinics. The license permits the holder to avoid the requirement to buy liability insurance.

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