Respiratory therapists in Delaware are regulated and licensed by the Delaware Department of State, Division of Professional Regulation. Further, the Respiratory Care Advisory Council was established to assist the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline in matters related to the regulation of RTs. Only licensed respiratory therapists in Delaware are allowed to use the title Respiratory Care Practitioner or RCP.
If you want to become a respiratory care practitioner in Delaware, you must complete the following steps:
Step 1. Complete an Educational Program in Respiratory Therapy
All applicants for respiratory therapy licensure in Delaware must complete a respiratory therapy program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation or Respiratory Care (CoARC).
CoARC-accredited programs may be associate’s or bachelor’s-level degree programs. Although the minimum requirement for licensure in Delaware is the completion of an associate’s degree, many applicants are choosing to pursue a bachelor’s degree program due to an increase in employer demand. It is also common to find connected degree programs that allow respiratory therapists to transfer to a four-year degree program as a junior following the completion of an associate’s degree.
There are currently two respiratory therapy associate’s degree programs accredited by CoARC in Delaware. In 2012, 112 individuals applied to Delaware’s respiratory therapy programs, an increase from 91 applicants in 2011 and 81 applicants in 2010.
You can learn more about CoARC approved respiratory therapy programs in Delaware on the Delaware Society for Respiratory Care’s website.
A CoARC-accredited program includes coursework in anatomy and physiology, respiratory care coursework, and a clinical practicum. Typical courses in an RT program include:
- Ethical issues in healthcare
- Respiratory care procedures
- Pharmacology for respiratory care
- Cardiovascular monitoring
- Pulmonary physiology
Step 2. Apply for a Temporary Permit to Practice Respiratory Therapy
A temporary permit allows you to practice until the Respiratory Care Practice Advisory Council has reviewed your application. It is valid for a period of 90 days and cannot be renewed. You may seek a temporary permit if you have completed an educational program in respiratory therapy and have not yet taken the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) examination (see Step 3), but want to begin working in the field.
To apply for a temporary permit, you must:
- Complete the Application for Licensure as a Respiratory Care Practitioner (see Step 4)
- Answer “yes” to Question 2 on the application form
- Enclose a temporary license fee of $40 (made payable to the State of Delaware), in addition to the standard licensing fee
The Council office will review your application for a temporary permit when it receives all documentation required for permanent licensure except the CRT credential letter. In lieu of this letter, the Council office will review your credentials, confirm them electronically, and issue a temporary permit.
Step 3. Take and Pass the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) Examination
All applicants for licensure as a respiratory therapist in Delaware must successfully complete the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) examination through the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC).
You can take this entry-level examination through any one of the AMP testing centers throughout the U.S. In Delaware, you may take the exam at the AMP testing center located in Wilmington.
You can view the candidate handbook for the CRT exam, order practice tests, and schedule and register to take the CRT exam through the AMP’s website.
Step 4. Apply for a Respiratory Therapist License in Delaware
After successfully passing the CRT exam, you must apply for licensure by completing the following steps:
- Complete the Application for Licensure as a Respiratory Care Practitioner
- Enclose a license fee of $101 (made payable to the State of Delaware)
- Complete a Criminal History Record Check Authorization form (included with the application packet)
- Complete and sign the Delaware Child Protection Registry Request form (included with the application packet)
- Arrange for the Council to receive a Verification of Respiratory Care Practitioner Education form directly from your respiratory therapy degree program
- Arrange for the Council to receive a credential verification letter directly from the NBRC
Mail the completed and signed application fee and all related documentation to:
Respiratory Care Practice Advisory Council
861 Silver Lake Building, Suite 203
Dover, Delaware, 19904
Step 5. Renew your Respiratory Care Practitioner License
Your respiratory care practitioner license in Delaware must be renewed biennially. To renew your license, you must show proof of the completion of at least 20 contact hours of continuing education in the preceding two years.
At least 10 of the 20 contact hours must be from traditional programs attended in person or through active telecommunication programs. The remaining 10 contact hours may be obtained through non-traditional programs where you learn the material at your own pace and demonstrate mastery of the courses content by examination.
Further, at least 12 contact hours must be in a field related to the science and practice of respiratory care, while the remaining 8 hours may include any category related to the practice of respiratory therapy.
Appropriate subject matter for continuing education may include:
- Respiratory care science and practice
- Respiratory care education
- Research in respiratory care and healthcare
- Management, administration, and supervision in healthcare delivery
- Social, economic, political, and legal aspects of healthcare
- Teaching healthcare and consumer health education
Advanced and specialty examinations offered by the NBRC may also be counted toward continuing education in Delaware:
One of the most widely sought credentials for respiratory therapists is the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential, an advanced respiratory therapy practitioner designation that can only be pursued if you graduated from a CoARC-accredited respiratory therapy program and you possess a CRT designation.
This advanced-level designation through the NBRC consists of a written portion and a clinical simulation portion, and you must pass both to achieve the RRT credential.
The Clinical Simulation examination portion of the RRT exam consists of 20 patient management problems.
Like the CRT exam, you must schedule and take the RRT exam through an AMP testing center.
Step 6. Get a Job in Respiratory Therapy in Delaware
There are a number of resources through which you may find a respiratory therapist job in Delaware, such as through networking events for the Delaware Society for Respiratory Care.
The largest employer of respiratory therapists throughout the U.S. is hospitals. Therefore, you may find a number of job opportunities through one of Delaware’s hospital systems:
- Bayhealth Medical Center, Dover
- Beebe Medical Center, Lewes
- Christiana Hospital, Newark
- Rockford Center, Newark
- Wilmington Hospital, Wilmington
- Wilmington VA Medical Center, Wilmington