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How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Oklahoma

If you wish to serve as a respiratory care practitioner in Oklahoma, you will need to complete the following steps in order to be licensed through the Oklahoma Respiratory Care Practitioners Committee (ORCPC):

Earn a Degree from an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Program
Take the Entry-Level Examination Required for Licensure
Apply for Initial Licensure as a Respiratory Care Practitioner in Oklahoma
Pass the Advanced Respiratory Therapy Examination
Maintain Your Respiratory Care Practitioner Licensure and Pursue Further Education

Enrollment numbers for new students entering respiratory therapy programs in Oklahoma have only shown marginal growth in the last few years. This is in contrast to the number of jobs for respiratory care practitioners in Oklahoma, which has shown dramatic growth. Currently, the number of new jobs in Oklahoma for licensed respiratory therapists is among the highest in the country.

Respiratory care practitioners in Oklahoma practice under the governance of the Oklahoma Respiratory Care Practitioners Committee (ORCPC), which is an arm of the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision. The ORCPC is responsible for the regulation and licensure of respiratory care practitioners in the state.

 


 

Step 1. Earn a Degree from an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Program

The first task you must complete towards earning your respiratory care professional license is to earn a degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). There are seven such respiratory therapy programs in Oklahoma, all of which offer associate’s degrees. These associate’s degree programs satisfy the requirements for licensure; however, there are more advanced degree options to choose from through bachelor’s and master’s programs located out of state.

While earning your degree, you will have the opportunity to take courses such as:

  • Respiratory pharmacology
  • Arterial blood gasses
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Respiratory care in children and the elderly
  • Assistance in specialized respiratory care procedures
  • Respiratory therapy critical care, long term care, rehabilitation, and home care

Along with these sorts of classes, you will have the opportunity to participate in a clinical experience rotation. Clinicals will give you some vital hands-on experience under the supervision and tutelage of a licensed respiratory care practitioner.

 


 

Step 2. Take the Entry-Level Examination Required for Licensure

After you have earned a degree from an accredited respiratory therapist program, you will be required to take and pass an entry-level test: the certified respiratory therapist (CRT) exam. The CRT exam is regulated and administered by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC).

  • There are 160 multiple-response questions in the CRT exam
    • 140 of these are actually scored
    • 20 serve as pre-test questions

  • The three main content areas that you will be tested on are:
    • Clinical data
    • Equipment
    • Therapeutic procedures

There are two cities in which you may take NBRC exams in Oklahoma:

  • Oklahoma City
  • Tulsa

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Initial Licensure as a Respiratory Care Professional in Oklahoma

Once you have passed the qualifying exam for initial licensure, you may apply for a respiratory care practitioner license by following these steps:

Submit all supplemental materials to:

Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision
P. O. Box 18256
Oklahoma City, OK 73154-0256

Oklahoma is home to nearly 160 hospitals in which you can begin your career as a respiratory care practitioner. Four of the largest include:

  • Integris Baptist Medical Center – Oklahoma City
  • OU Medical Center – Oklahoma City
  • St. Anthony Hospital – Oklahoma City
  • St. John Medical Center – Tulsa

 


 

Step 4. Pass the Advanced Respiratory Therapy Examination

If you wish to advance your respiratory care practitioner credentials, you will need to take the registered respiratory therapist (RRT) test. Completing the RRT exam will allow you to broaden your career options and take on more challenging respiratory care jobs.

The NBRC has set an eligibility period of three years for passing the RRT test. You must pass the RRT inside three years of passing the CRT or else you must take both exams again.

The RRT exam will test you on the advanced components of respiratory therapy to ensure that you posses the qualifications necessary to work as an advanced respiratory care practitioner.

The multiple-choice exam that you must take to earn the RRT is the same Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination required to earn the CRT, but you are required to achieve a higher passing score before you may move on to the clinical simulation component required for the RRT credential.

The clinical section, called the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE), is made up of 22 patient management problems, 20 of which are scored. You are allowed four hours for this section.


 

Step 5. Maintain Your Respiratory Care Practitioner Licensure and Pursue
Further Education

Being licensed as a respiratory care practitioner in Oklahoma means working to maintain your licensure throughout your career. You must fulfill these requirements during each license renewal cycle:

  • Your license must be renewed every two years by the last day of the month in which your license was conferred
    • You can complete a renewal form online

  • A fee of $75 must be submitted with your renewal form
  • You must complete at least 12 continuing education hours during the two year period your license is valid
    • A minimum of six of these hours must be related to clinical practice

One way that you can fulfill some continuing education requirements is to pursue a bachelor’s degree. By pursing further education, you will be able to increase your knowledge of how to treat your patients, open up new avenues for your career, and increase your annual salary.

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