How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Maryland

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation Office of Workforce Information and Performance, as of 2009 health care was the second largest employment sector in the state of Maryland. It is also the most female-dominated industry in Maryland, with 79 percent of allied health professionals in the state being women.

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The state’s 2,150 respiratory therapists were well compensated as of May 2013, earning an average yearly salary of $63,460. The Baltimore-Towson area held the highest employment numbers in the state, with some 1,490 licensed RTs working in the area.

If you would like to become a licensed respiratory therapist in Maryland, follow these steps:

Enroll in an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Degree Program
Pass Your NBRC CRT and RRT Exams
Apply for Your Maryland Respiratory Therapist’s License
Maintain Your Maryland Respiratory Therapist’s License



Step 1. Enroll in an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Degree Program

Enrolling in an accredited degree program in respiratory therapy is your first step to becoming a respiratory therapist in Maryland. According to the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), there are currently six accredited programs across the state of Maryland, five of which lead to an associate’s degree, and one that leads to a bachelor of science. These programs are recognized by the Maryland Board of Physicians, the licensing body for respiratory therapists in Maryland.

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According to the CoARC’s 2013 Outcomes Data report, respiratory therapy degree programs in Maryland have seen very favorable outcomes for their graduates. One school in the state had a 63.6 percent job placement rate for graduates and another had a 75.7 CRT (Certified Respiratory Therapist) credentialing success rate.

Degree programs in Maryland may lead to an Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy, an Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy, or a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy. All of Maryland’s programs are at the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) level, meaning that they will prepare you to take the advanced exam required by the National Board for Respiratory Care.

Most of these programs require that you meet certain prerequisites prior to enrolling in a degree program, including (but not limited to):

    • Certification by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association as a Health Care Provider in CPR
    • Completion of a physical examination less than one year ago
    • Completion of a criminal background check
    • Completion of a drug screening test
    • Minimum of a C grade in the following courses in high school:
      • Algebra
      • Chemistry
      • Biology
      • Anatomy/physiology


  • Up to date immunizations are required by the medical facility into which you will be placed for your clinical internship, including Purified Protein Derivative (PPD), Hepatitis B screening/vaccine, Rubella, Rubeloa and Mumps titre/immunization, Varicella titre/immunization, seasonal flu immunizations

The curriculum for respiratory therapy degree programs in Maryland usually includes similar coursework in areas such as:

  • General Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Gas Pharmacology
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Home Care
  • Microbiology for Allied Health
  • Cardiopulmonary and Renal Pathophysiology

You must also complete a clinical internship within your respiratory therapy degree program in Maryland. During this time, which usually lasts from one to two semesters, you will be placed in a nearby medical facility or care center and will be able to put the competencies and skills you have learned to practical use.



Step 2. Pass Your NBRC Examinations

The Maryland Board of Physicians states that all licensed respiratory therapists in Maryland must hold either the National Board of Respiratory Care’s (NBRC) entry-level Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential or the advanced Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

The multiple-choice exam required for these credentials is the same, however the scoring requirements are more stringent for RRT candidates. RRT candidates that pass the multiple-choice exam are then required to take the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE), which is comprised of 22 different patient management situations (20 or which are scored) that simulate real world scenarios.

NBRC examination centers in Maryland are found in Randallstown and Glen Burnie.



Step 3. Apply for Your Maryland Respiratory Therapist’s License

You have completed your respiratory therapy degree program in Maryland, including the clinical portion, and passed the necessary examination(s). You may now apply for licensure via the Respiratory Care Practitioner Application for Licensure. Make sure that you meet all requirements of the Maryland Board of Physicians prior to applying:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You have graduated from an accredited respiratory care educational program
  • You are certified as a CRT or RRT by the NBRCC
  • You can demonstrate spoken and written English skills via the Test of English as a Foreign Language, if applicable

Along with your completed application, don’t forget to send:

  • $200 application fee via check or money order payable to Maryland Board of Physicians
  • Have your school send official transcript(s) directly to the Maryland Board of Physicians
  • Have the NBRC send verification of your certification directly to the Maryland Board of Physicians
  • Complete the top portion of the Verification of Professional Education form (in application packet) and send it to your school for completion of the rest. Your school must send the form directly to the Maryland Board of Physicians once completed.
  • If you have ever held a license in any other state, as a respiratory therapist or other health care professional, complete the Verification of Other State Licenses form (included in application packet) and send it to the licensing board in each state in which you held licensure. The licensing board must complete the form and forward it directly to the Maryland Board of Physicians.
  • Attach a 2” x2” passport-sized recent photo of yourself
  • Sign and date the application in the presence of a notary public

Mail everything to Maryland Board of Physicians, P.O. Box 37217, Baltimore, MD 21297. Allow three to six weeks for your application to be processed. Your license will be mailed to you once this process is complete.



Step 4. Maintain Your Maryland Respiratory Therapist’s License

Great job! You have worked hard and are now a licensed respiratory therapist in Maryland! Make sure to fulfill the state’s requirements for professional development in order to keep your license current and up-to-date.

Continuing Education for Respiratory Therapists in Maryland

Your Maryland respiratory therapist license expires every other year, on May 30 of the first even year following the date of your licensure. The state will send you a renewal notice 30 to 60 days prior to its expiration. Even if you do not receive the renewal notice, it is your responsibility to renew your license by May 30 of every even year. Renew your license online via this link.

You must complete 16 contact hours of continuing education every two years. All 16 of these hours may be completed online. The continuing education rules only apply after your first renewal period (you need not fulfill any continuing education requirements until after you have renewed your license once). Programs that are accredited or sponsored by any of the following organizations count towards fulfilling your continuing education hours:

  • Maryland/District of Columbia Society for Respiratory Care
  • American Association of Respiratory Care’s Continuing Respiratory Care Education System
  • MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society
  • Other programs approved by the Board

Professional Societies in Maryland

Various professional societies for respiratory therapists exist in Maryland and may be beneficial to you. These societies can help you network with other health care professionals and to find continuing education opportunities:

Top Employers of Respiratory Therapists in Maryland

Now that you’re an RT in Maryland, you might want to know who some of the top employers of respiratory care practitioners are in the state. They include:

  • Prince George’s Hospital Center – Cheverly
  • Anne Arundel Medical Center-Annapolis
  • Johns Hopkins Medical Center – Baltimore
  • Holy Cross Hospital – Silver Spring
  • University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center – Towson
  • MedStar Union Memorial Hospital – Baltimore
  • Peninsula Regional Medical Center – Salisbury

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