Continuing Education Requirements for Respiratory Therapists

Information Last Verified: February 22, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

Respiratory therapists help patients who are having breathing problems. It’s common for these therapists to do chest examinations, diagnose lung illnesses, and treat lung problems. Respiratory therapists also monitor blood oxygen levels and maintain breathing equipment.

Initial Educational Requirements for Respiratory Therapists

Most states in the US require respiratory therapists to become licensed. Alaska is the one state that doesn’t require a license to work as a respiratory therapist. However, all states require respiratory therapists to complete a respiratory therapy program from an accredited university or college.

An associate’s degree is the minimum educational level required for respiratory therapists. However, earning a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in respiratory therapy often makes it easier to obtain employment.

Program examples include:

RRT CEUs – Respiratory Therapists Continuing Education

Most states require licensed respiratory therapists, both RRT and CRT, to take continuing education courses. The courses are a requirement for license renewal. It’s important for licensed therapists to know the requirements for their state and fulfill the requirements before license renewal.

Each state has its own continuing education requirements. To receive the most accurate and updated information, it helps to contact the local licensing board that regulates respiratory therapists.

For example, the Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy can provide information for respiratory therapists in Alabama. California has the Respiratory Care Board, Georgia has the Respiratory Therapy Committee, and Kansas has the Respiratory Care Advisory Committee. Each state has its own similar type of board or committee.

Below is a list of continuing education requirements for respiratory therapists in several states. The examples will show how widely states vary in their requirements.

The examples listed above show how states have different rules and requirements for continuing education. In addition to the states mentioned above, most other states have specific requirements as well.

It’s important to note that some states limit how many online course hours are allowed. And in some states, live webinars count as live courses – even though they are attended virtually.

Check with the local respiratory therapists governing board for information.

Finding Accredited Courses

Most states accept courses approved by the American Association for Respiratory Care and/or the National Board for Respiratory Care. In most cases, the course description or course provider will state its approval status.

For example, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America offers some online continuing education courses for respiratory therapists. Course descriptions clearly state when the American Association approves a course for Respiratory Care.

Getting Credit for Continuing Education

Respiratory therapists should receive a certificate of completion for their continuing education hours. The course provider will either submit proof of completion on behalf of the student. Or, the student will submit their own certificate to the state.

The information presented here is current and accurate as of this publication. Contact the local state licensing board for more information on continuing education for respiratory therapists.