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Pennsylvania Respiratory Therapist Licensing

Respiratory therapy is a profitable career and a much needed service. Jobs abound within the field in the state of Pennsylvania. In order to practice as a respiratory therapist here, one must complete a process that culminates with Pennsylvania license. Following this series of steps is the surest way to complete the process and receive your Pennsylvania respiratory therapist license.

Credential Requirements

In order to apply for a license in Pennsylvania, according to The Pennsylvania Code, Subchapter J, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that he or she has either

  • Graduated from a respiratory care program approved by the Joint Review Committee on Respiratory Therapy Education (JRCRTE), which accredits respiratory care programs AND has passed the Certification Examination For Entry Level Respiratory Therapy Practitioners (CRTT), a National uniform examination developed and administered by the NBRC for certified respiratory care therapy practitioners as determined by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC)
  • Has been credentialed as a Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician or Registered Respiratory Therapist by the NBRC, the agency recognized by the Board to certify respiratory care practition
  • Holds a valid license, certificate or registration as a respiratory care practitioner in another state, territory or the District of Columbia which has been issued based on requirements substantially the same as those required by the Commonwealth, including the examination requirement.
  • Has continuously provided respiratory care services for a minimum of 12 months immediately preceding December 28, 1993, and has passed the CRTT as determined by the NBRC. The must also pay any appropriate fees in the form of a check or money order.

Educational Requirements

According to the Pennsylvania Society for Respiratory Care, in order to begin practicing as a licensed respiratory therapist, you must first obtain a minimum of an Associate's Degree in Respiratory Therapy. This is a two year college degree that covers basic academics as well as classes related to the field of respiratory care.


An educational program can either be accredited or not. Accreditation is important in the field of respiratory care. In Pennsylvania, there are two main bodies that provide an educational program with accreditation. Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Higher Education (MSACS) is the board that provides accreditation on a regional level while the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) is a national accreditation. Your education must come from a school with one or the accreditation to be valid for the purposes of licensing in the state of Pennsylvania.

License Renewal

In Pennsylvania, your respiratory therapy license expires December 31st of every even numbered year. In order to renew it, the applicant must file all required renewal forms, pay any designated fees and show proof that he or she is in compliance with the continuing education requirements.

The state requires 20 hours minimum of continuing education. Of those 20 hours no more than 10 credit hours may be completed in nontraditional continuing education. Nontraditional education includes prerecorded presentations, Internet-based presentations and journal review programs. Also included in the required 20 hours is one hour each of medical ethics and patient safety. All continuing education records must be maintained by the applicant for at least 2 years.

It is the licensee's obligation to notify the board whenever he intends to stop practicing and have his license rendered inactive. Upon his return to work, the board must be notified, and the licensee must pay any reinstatement fees and sign an affidavit that states he did not practice while on inactive status.