How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in New Hampshire

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, respiratory therapists in New Hampshire earned salaries that ranged between $54,710 and $61,920, as of May 2013.

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The New Hampshire Respiratory Care Practitioners Governing Board is responsible for the regulation and licensure of respiratory care practitioners in New Hampshire. Only those individuals licensed to practice respiratory care in New Hampshire may use the title “respiratory care practitioner” or “RCP.”

To learn how to become a licensed respiratory care practitioner in New Hampshire, review the steps outlined in this guide:

Complete a Degree Program in Respiratory Therapy
Pass a National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Examination
Apply for a License as a Respiratory Care Practitioner
Maintain your New Hampshire RCP License
Get Involved in the Profession



Step 1. Complete a Degree Program in Respiratory Therapy

The first step to becoming a respiratory therapist in New Hampshire is completing a degree program in respiratory therapy that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

The minimum requirement for licensure is New Hampshire is an associate’s degree (AS or AAS) in respiratory therapy; however, baccalaureate degree programs have become prevalent, largely due to employer demand for respiratory therapists with advanced education. Therefore, you may choose to complete either an associate or bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy to qualify for licensure in New Hampshire.

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Currently, there is one CoARC-accredited associate degree program in New Hampshire. A degree program in respiratory therapy prepares students to serve as healthcare specialists who evaluate, test, and treat people with breathing disorders.

These competitive programs often have minimum GPA requirements and strict clinical components. Typical coursework in a respiratory therapy degree program includes:

  • Basics of respiratory care
  • Respirator physiology
  • Pulmonary evaluation
  • Disease and pharmacology
  • Microbiology for respiratory care
  • Critical care respiratory therapy
  • Neonatal and pediatric respiratory care



Step 2. Pass a National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Examination

Upon the successful completion of a CoARC-accredited program in respiratory therapy, you may apply to take the National Board for Respiratory Care’s (NBRC) Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) examination, the entry-level examination that is recognized by all 49 states that license respiratory therapists.

Note: If you are currently completing a bachelor’s degree program in respiratory therapy, you may qualify to take the CRT examination before graduation, provided you supply the NBRC with a special certificate of completion that shows you have fulfilled the minimum educational requirements to sit for the examination.

All NBRC examinations are administered through Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP); therefore, you must schedule and register with AMP and take the examination at one of the many AMP testing centers throughout the U.S. In New Hampshire, you may take the CRT examination at the AMP testing center in:

  • Concord
  • Manchester
  • Nashua
  • Portsmouth

Although the CRT credential meets the licensing requirements in New Hampshire, you may choose to pursue the more advanced Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. To qualify for the RRT credential, you must to pass the same multiple choice exam required for the CRT, but you must achieve a higher score and go on to complete an additional clinical simulation exam.

Although not required for initial licensure in New Hampshire, an RRT credential is frequently sought by respiratory therapists who want to stand out from the competition and broaden their employment prospects.

The RRT, like the CRT, is taken through AMP. The NBRC provides individuals with a discount on the RRT examination if they apply to take it within 60 days of achieving their CRT credential.

You can learn more about the CRT and RRT credentials on the NBRC website.



Step 3. Apply for a License as a Respiratory Care Practitioner

Once you have achieved the CRT credential, you may apply for licensure as a respiratory care practitioner in New Hampshire. Applications are available upon request by completing the Office of Allied Health Professionals’ online request form. When requesting an application for a respiratory care practitioner application, make sure to use the credentials “RCP” (not “RT,” which stands for a recreational therapist in New Hampshire). You may also request an application packet by contacting the Office at 603-271-8389.



Step 4. Maintain your New Hampshire RCP License

All respiratory care practitioner licenses in New Hampshire expire on December 31 of every odd-numbered year. You can expect to receive a renewal notice no later than October 15 of the renewal year.

Along with the renewal of your license and payment of the renewal fee, you are expected to complete 24 contact hours of continuing professional education during your two-year renewal cycle.

Of the 24 required hours of continuing professional education, you must complete the following:

  • At least 12 contact hours must be directly related to the clinical application of respiratory care
  • The balance of contact hours must be related to one or more of the following:
    • How to teach respiratory care
    • Respiratory care supervision and consultation skills
    • Respiratory care curriculum development
    • Trans-disciplinary issues or skills applicable to respiratory care
    • Respiratory care administration and management
    • Respiratory care research
    • Other continuing professional education not related directly and primarily to the clinical application of respiratory care

Continuing professional education must be accumulated through the following types of participation:

  • On-site participation in courses, seminars, and workshops
  • Distance learning
  • Participation in correspondence courses, provided you have passed a test that is part of the course

The following activities qualify as continuing professional education:

  • Passing the NBRC re-credentialing examination
  • The completion of college-level courses in respiratory care
  • Completion of courses, programs, seminars, and workshops
  • Passing specialty examinations
  • Public professional presentations relating to respiratory care
  • Participation in a respiratory care research project
  • Informal independent study in respiratory care
  • Taking and passing courses related to an initial or renewal certification
  • Teaching a college-level course related to respiratory care
  • Participation as an instructor or instructor trainee in a course for initial or renewal certification
  • Facility-based respiratory care in-service training
  • Publication of a writing related to respiratory care
  • Participation in professional boards, committees, and agencies



Step 5. Get Involved in the Profession

One of the easiest ways to stay involved in current topics and issues related to the profession is through membership and involvement in professional associations, such as the Vermont/New Hampshire Society for Respiratory Care. In addition to continuing education opportunities, such as seminars, programs, and courses, the Vermont/New Hampshire Society for Respiratory Care provides its members with the latest employment opportunities in respiratory care.

Employment opportunities for respiratory therapists are generally abundant in New Hampshire’s hospital systems, such as:

  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon
  • St. Joseph Hospital, Nashua
  • Catholic Medical Center, Manchester

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