To prepare for a career in respiratory care, you should attend and complete the requirements
of a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP) accredited
Respiratory Care Program. Upon completion of these requirements candidates are required
to successfully complete three national board examinations before receiving the credential
as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). All respiratory care practitioners must
be licensed in the state of Tennessee. In order to receive a Tennessee license, the
practitioner is required to successfully pass the entry-level exam administered by
the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) within two years after completing a
respiratory care program.
A national shortage of respiratory therapists has been identified. Studies have indicated that respiratory therapists are among the top 20 fastest-growing professions during the next 20 years. The future for respiratory therapists looks bright. Career opportunities are available throughout the country in rural and metropolitan areas. The need for respiratory therapist's expertise is not limited to the hospital. Respiratory therapists can also work in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, physicians' offices, hospital administration, home care, and industry. One of the fastest-growing areas of employment for the respiratory therapist is outside the acute care setting.