Requirements to be a Respiratory Therapist

Are you planning to pursue a career as Certified Respiratory Therapist to help patients suffering from cardiopulmonary disorders?

The job of a respiratory therapist is important to every hospital and health clinics, so if you're looking for the necessary qualifications and requirements to be a respiratory therapist then you can find all the information that you need through this page.

Respiratory Therapist – How to Qualify?

A Respiratory Therapist is a healthcare practitioner that provides respiratory aids and treatments for patients undergoing cardiopulmonary disorders such as asthma, lung cancer, and even heart attack sufferers. The job is also known to other name as “Respiratory Care Practitioner” as they are doing respiratory care therapeutic treatment procedures which are essential for evaluating patients for their recovery plans. Normally, they are working under the supervision and guidance of a resident physician.

Aside from therapeutic treatment procedures, respiratory therapists are also conducting diagnostic tests, physical examinations, and interview with their patients. Additional tasks include pulmonary rehabilitation, counseling, prevention, and management; although it is not usually part of their main tasks. Due to the sensitivity of the job, there are several qualifications and requirements required before someone can be hired to this position, particularly in the educational background.

To become qualified as Respiratory Therapist, the aspirant should take at least a short respiratory therapy program with an associate degree or a 2-year course, or it is better to complete a 4-year program from an accredited university or technical school. The most recommended subjects that the aspirant should take when finishing a course are anatomy, respiratory health promotion, patient assessment, physiology, microbiology, pediatric respiratory therapy, pulmonary pathophysiology, and respiratory therapy procedures. It is also important to keep in mind that the school or program must be recognized by the CAAHEP or Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the CoARC (Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care).

Next to the educational attainment is the acquisition of licensure and certifications that are normally acquired by passing the national examinations (usually required by the state). The National Board for Respiratory Care or NBRC is the governing body that administers national certification examinations for respiratory therapy. There are two credentials that NBRC awards to passers:

  • Certified Respiratory Therapist or CRT – This credential is highly required for entry-level position, and the aspirant must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for the certification.
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist or RRT – This credential is being awarded if the aspirant had already passed the CRT examination and has no less than 3 years experience as respiratory therapist.

Expected Salary of a Respiratory Therapist

The expected salary of a respiratory is estimated to earn at least $50,000.00 in a yearly basis, and this earning will be much higher depending on the years of service in the industry. Other qualifications that an aspirant should posses are understanding to physical and psychological needs of the patient, should always focus on detail, must know how to follow instructions carefully and basic computer skills is also essential.


  • al wade said on June 2, 2011
    last i heard from nbrc, there are two levels, as degree for registry, 1 year program for certification. certification with three exp. doesnt qualify you for registry, it is like 60 or 80 credit hours and prior cert. to set for registry exam. i am a nbrc certified therapist with over 30 years experience, since i worked in a no child or pediatric environment, there was no way to qualify for registry, even though i only needed 2 more credit hours to set for the exam,it is more difficult than stated above,o.k.
  • L.S.S.LAL said on June 23, 2012
    Do u see some advantage for B.P.T ( Physiotherapy) from Reputed Univ. / College with 4 1/2 yrs Course. to take short term course on Respiratory Therapist . Looking for Reply.
  • waseem said on March 21, 2013
    hi i am from india is this course available in india and if it is there then what is fee structure please notify thanking you.


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