How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in California
Becoming a respiratory therapist in California involves obtaining your license from the Respiratory Care Board of California. To apply for licensure, you have to meet education, credential examination and ethics course requirements outlined by the Board9. To find out what are the requirements to be a respiratory therapist in California, review each of the steps below:
1. Complete an Approved Respiratory Care Education Program
All applicants must complete a respiratory care education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), earning at least an associate’s degree. You can find a list of approved programs in California on the Respiratory Care Board of California’s website10.
The Board may waive your respiratory therapy education requirement in certain instances, such as: if you’ve completed significant work experience, have a good-standing license in a different state, or have equivalent military experience and training.
2. Earn Your RRT Credential
After you’ve completed your education program, you must earn your Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). To earn your RRT credential, you have to pass the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination and Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE)11. You must pass the TMC examination before you can take the CSE.
The TMC Examination has two cut scores. The low cut score warrants a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) certification through the NBRC. The high cut score enables you to take the CSE. Once you’ve successfully passed the TMC examination and CSE, you’ll earn your RRT credential.
3. Complete a Board-Approved Law and Ethics Course
The Respiratory Care Board of California requires all applicants to complete one Board-approved Law and Professional Ethics Course before becoming licensed. The Board has approved two online courses developed by the California Society for Respiratory Care (CSRC) and the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)12,13. Each course is 3-hours long and touches on respiratory therapists’ obligation to patients, responsibility to report illegal activities, and licensure status and acts that compromise it.
4. Apply for Licensure
You can apply for a respiratory therapist license in California up to 90 days before meeting the respiratory therapy education requirements. Licensure application information can be found on the Respiratory Care Board of California’s website14. Before sending your application to the Board, make sure you’ve read the application instructions thoroughly and completed the application in its entirety.