A respiratory therapist license is usually given to those who complete a course of study in respiratory therapy from an accredited college or university. Many employers also require these professionals to maintain current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. A government might also have an agency responsible for testing people interested in working as a respiratory care therapist. In the United States, for example, a license is generally based mainly on meeting standards that are established by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
A college degree in respiratory therapy usually prepares graduates for taking a respiratory therapy licensing exam. Some of the courses a student may take include chemistry, anatomy, medical equipment and procedures, pharmacology, and respiratory health promotion. An associate's degree is suggested for entry-level positions, although a bachelor's degree is often preferred.
A valid CPR certification is typically required in order to receive a respiratory therapist license. This credential must usually be updated annually. The training normally lasts a full day, and covers how to perform rescue breathing and heart stimulation in emergencies. The Red Cross is generally recognized as a leader in this type of training and often holds these classes in many different countries.
A person may want to find out which tests are required in her area in order to receive a respiratory therapist license. This information can usually be obtained from a college or university that offers a respiratory therapy program. People in training may also want to know if there are study guides for this test, as well as the cost of testing fees, if any. An applicant can also check to see if a waiting period is required to retake the test in the event she does not pass it on the first attempt.
Many times, continuing education is required in order for such a caregiver to maintain her respiratory therapist license. Often these courses are available on the Internet, to licensed therapists, at no charge. In other instances, a person may be able to submit proof of completion of related advanced courses that have been taken at a local community college, in order to satisfy the criteria for continuing education.
Respiratory therapists provide services to patients that can enhance their quality of life, and are occasionally even life-saving. Having standards for certifying these professionals can help a patient feel confident about the care she is receiving. Obtaining a respiratory therapist license is often an important step toward obtaining employment in this career field.