Continuing Education for Respiratory Therapists

After you have graduated with a degree in respiratory therapy, your education is not over—not by a long shot. Not only will you start treating actual patients, but you may also need to attend respiratory therapy continuing education (CEU) classes throughout your career.

What are CEUs?

Respiratory therapy continuing education courses are designed to update you on new medical developments within the respiratory therapy field. Medicine is a rapidly changing field. Every day, new medical breakthroughs are discovered, new medical procedures are developed; and new medical equipment is introduced.

All of these rapid technological advances can make your respiratory therapist training almost obsolete before you have even graduated. For that reason, you need to take continuing education courses to keep you abreast of all of the latest developments in respiratory therapy.

Most licensed professionals, including doctors, nurses—and respiratory therapists—are required to take a regular specified amount of CEUs in order to renew their licenses. This ensures that they are continuously updated on advances in their occupational fields.

Licensing Requirements

Before you can work as a respiratory therapist, you must obtain a license. This is a requirement in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.

In order to qualify for licensing, you must have:

  • Graduated from a respiratory therapy program that has been accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) or by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
  • Passed a comprehensive exam

If you have successfully completed both of these requirements, you will be awarded the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) license.

You may also receive a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) license if you:

  • Have graduated from an advanced (bachelor’s or master’s) respiratory therapy program
  • Are already CRT licensed
  • Have passed two separate exams. One of these is a written exam and the other is a clinical simulation exam

The RRT license is required of advanced respiratory therapists who typically have a lot of responsibility.

In addition to the above, state laws may dictate that you maintain a CPR certification. Like a CRT license, you must regularly renew your CPR certification. But this can be easily accomplished, in most states, by simply taking a current class in CPR.

Renewing your License

If you live in a state that requires you to take CEUs in order to renew your license—and most do—you will need to check with your local licensing board for the exact requirements. In most states, however, you will need to take at least 30 hours of CEUs every three years in order to renew your license.

You may obtain these CEU credits by:

  • Attending professional seminars
  • Taking respiratory therapy courses (online and in classrooms)
  • Participating in professional organizations
  • Attending professional conferences

In most cases, your employer will pay the cost of your CEU credits. For example, your employer may pay your membership in professional organizations, pay your CEU course fees, and pay your seminar fees.

Fulfilling the required number of CEUs will not only enable you to keep your license, but it will also enable you to give your patients the very best respiratory care.

Top Respiratory Therapist Schools

Platt College

Find out where the future can take you with an outstanding college education. At Platt College, you’ll find the career-specific programs and training for the careers you really want. Come explore a variety of career paths that fit your lifestyle in a positive learning environment that combines real-world experience with small, private college instruction. Classes are conveniently scheduled during morning or evening hours to work around outside employment commitments. For working adults, Platt’s curriculum offers a way to continue earning a living while studying for a new career.

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  • Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy