How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Maine

As of May 2013 there were 410 respiratory therapists licensed in the state of Maine. Their average annual salary that year was $55,180.

The Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research lists the occupation of respiratory therapist among the top 50 high-wage, high-demand jobs in the state. According to their statistics, there is an average of 31 new respiratory therapist positions opening up each year in Maine, representing a job growth rate of 41.1 percent.

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The Maine Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Board of Respiratory Care Practitioners is responsible for the licensing and regulation of respiratory therapists working in Maine. Follow these steps if you wish to become a respiratory therapist in Maine:

Enroll in an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Degree Program
Consider Applying for Your Respiratory Therapy Trainee License
Pass Your NBRC CRT Exam
Apply for Your Maine Respiratory Therapist’s License
Maintain Your Maine Respiratory Therapist’s License



Step 1. Enroll in an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Degree Program

The first step you must take towards becoming a respiratory therapist in Maine is to enroll in an accredited degree program. There are currently two associate degree programs within the state that are recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), both of which lead to an Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy. These programs are recognized by the Board of Respiratory Care Practitioners and accredited by the American Medical Association in conjunction with the Joint Review Committee for Respiratory Care Education.

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Admission to a respiratory therapy degree program in Maine usually requires that you have completed high school courses in biology, chemistry and algebra with a grade of at least a “C.” Additionally, you must pass the Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test before you can be admitted to most programs.

Once you enroll in a respiratory therapy degree program in Maine, you will take a mixture of general education and hands-on respiratory therapy courses, most of which include laboratory practice. Major-specific coursework that you are likely to encounter includes:

  • Pulmonary Assessment Technology with Lab
  • Cardiopulmonary – Renal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Mechanical Ventilation with Lab
  • Neonatology and Pediatrics
  • Cardiovascular Assessment
  • Critical Respiratory Care

Additionally, you will be expected to complete a clinical practicum as part of your respiratory therapy degree program in Maine. These are conducted in collaboration with local hospitals and medical centers that facilitate clinical practice and the chance to demonstrate your newly acquired skills. Competencies that you will practice include:

  • Bronchial hygiene
  • Endotracheal suctioning
  • Manual ventilation
  • Drawing up medications
  • Tracheostomy care

You must undergo a criminal background check prior to placement in one of Maine’s health care facilities.



Step 2. Consider Applying for Your Respiratory Care Trainee License in Maine

While you are enrolled in a respiratory therapy degree program, you have the option of applying to become a licensed respiratory care trainee in Maine. This license can help you to gain valuable work experience prior to completing your respiratory therapy degree program.

You must use this application form and submit verification that you are enrolled in a respiratory therapy degree program, as well as supervisor’s affidavit (which must be signed by a licensed Maine respiratory care practitioner). It will take about 14 days for the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation to process your completed application and supporting materials and issue your Respiratory Care Trainee license. This license will expire upon your graduation from your respiratory therapy program, and it cannot be renewed.

As a respiratory care trainee, you will not be allowed to perform invasive diagnostic, therapeutic or palliative procedures. You may only work under the direct supervision of a Maine licensed respiratory care practitioner.



Step 3. Pass Your NBRC Examinations

You have three years after graduating from your respiratory therapy degree program to pass the necessary National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) examinations.

Under Maine law, you must earn the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential offered through the NBRC in order to become a licensed respiratory therapist.

This requires you to pass the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination, which consists of 160 multiple-choice questions, 140 of which are scored. You would then go on to take the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE), which is comprised of 22 different patient management situations (20 or which are scored) presented in simulated environments.

You must be at least 18 years old to take this exam. Free practice exams are offered at the NBRC website.

NBRC examination centers in Maine are located in Bangor and Portland.



Step 4. Apply for Your Maine Respiratory Therapist’s License

You have passed the CRT and RRT examinations and are now ready to apply for licensure as a Respiratory Therapist in Maine.

Use the Respiratory Therapist application form and complete it in its entirety. Along with the application, you must submit written confirmation of your RRT credential from the NBRC, as well as license, application and criminal background check fees.

Mail everything to State of Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 35 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

Your application and materials will be reviewed and your license will be mailed to you in about two weeks.



Step 5. Maintain Your Maine Respiratory Therapist’s License

Congratulations! You are now a licensed Respiratory Therapist in Maine. It is now your responsibility to make sure you complete the state’s requirements to maintain and renew your license.

Continuing Education is not required for license renewal in Maine.

Your license renews every other year on April 30, and may be renewed up to 90 days after the date of expiration by paying a late fee of $50. Renewals may occur online.

Professional Societies in Maine

You might want to consider joining the Maine Society for Respiratory Care (MeSRC). This is the state affiliate of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).The MeSRC strives to provide education in respiratory therapy for the public and professionals within the state of Maine.

Top Employers of Respiratory Therapists in Maine

Listed below are some of Maine’s top employers of respiratory therapists:

  • Mercy Hospital – Portland
  • Mayo Regional Hospital – Dover Foxcroft
  • Eastern Maine Medical Center – Bangor
  • Down East Community Hospital – MacHias
  • Miles Memorial Hospital – Damariscotta

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