How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Ohio

The Ohio Respiratory Care Board has governed the practice of respiratory therapy in Ohio since it was first established in 1989. The board is made of up nine members who serve three-year terms. The Respiratory Care Board is accountable for licensing respiratory care professionals and regulating the practice throughout the state.

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Ohio has the fifth highest number of licensed respiratory care practitioners of any state in the nation, with some 5,880 RTs licensed in the state as of 2013.

To qualify for licensure through the Ohio Respiratory Care Board, complete the following steps:

Earn Your Degree from an Approved Respiratory Therapy Program
Pass the Entry-Level Licensure Examination
Apply for Licensure as a Respiratory Care Practitioner in Ohio
Maintain Your Respiratory Care Practitioner Licensure and Further Your Education



Step 1. Earn Your Degree from an Approved Respiratory Therapy Program

In order to become a respiratory care practitioner in Ohio, you must first complete a respiratory therapy program accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). To qualify to practice respiratory therapy in Ohio, you must hold an associate’s degree at minimum.

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As a would-be RT in Ohio, you will pursue an education in respiratory care through one of the 18 associate’s and four bachelor’s degree programs available in the state.

Courses you can expect from your RT program include:

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

You will be required to complete a clinical experience in order to graduate from your program. A clinical rotation will allow you to gain hands-on experience working with patients under the direct supervision of a licensed respiratory care practitioner. The degree level that you are working towards and the college or university you complete your degree through will determine the length and scope of your clinical experience.

You have the option of applying for a limited permit while still in school, which allows you to practice in a limited capacity under the supervision of a licensed RT. To qualify for a temporary permit, you must pass the basic CRT (Certified Respiratory Therapist) exam through the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC).

After passing the CRT exam, you can apply for a limited permit through the Ohio Board of Respiratory Care by submitting this application along with a $20 processing fee.



Step 2. Pass the RRT Multiple Choice and Clinical Simulation Exams

Prior to January 2015, the Ohio Respiratory Care Board accepted the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) basic CRT (Certified Respiratory Therapist) credential as meeting the requirements for state licensure.

Effective January 1st, 2015, you are required to pass both the written and clinical simulation components of the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) exam to meet requirements for licensure in Ohio.The CRT credential no longer meets the minimum requirements for licensure in Ohio.

You must be a graduate of an accredited respiratory therapy education program in order to take these exams.


The multiple-choice component is the same for the CRT and RRT credential, however the scoring requirements are different. Even if you hold the CRT credential for the purpose of limited permitting but did not achieve the higher cut score required to move on to the RRT clinical simulation, you will need to take the multiple-choice component again to achieve the higher cut score required for the RRT credential.

The multiple-choice component of the exam is known as the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination. As candidate for RT licensure in Ohio, the TMC is used to meet eligibility requirements for the Clinical Simulation Examination.

The TMC exam consists of:

  • 160 multiple-choice questions
    • 140 questions are scored
    • 20 questions are pre-test questions

  • Three different content areas
    • Clinical data
    • Equipment
    • Therapeutic procedures

Clinical Simulation

The Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE) is comprised of 22 different patient management situations (20 or which are scored) presented in simulated environments that are as close to real life as possible. There is a four-hour time limit for this section.

Testing Sites

The following cities in Ohio administer both components of the RRT exam:

  • Brook Park
  • Cincinnati
  • Columbus
  • Dayton
  • Toledo

You may take both sections of the exam in the same day, if scheduling allows.



Step 3. Apply for Licensure with the Ohio Respiratory Care Board

After you have earned your RRT credential, you can follow these steps to apply for respiratory care practitioner licensure in Ohio:

  • Submit an application
    • Include a 2×2 passport-style photograph

  • Submit official transcripts from your degree conferring institution
    • Transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar of the college or university

  • Submit a $75 initial application fee
  • You must complete a criminal background check attached to the application packet
  • Your application must be notarized

You can submit your application materials to:

Ohio Respiratory Care Board
77 South High Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108



Step 4. Maintain Licensure and Further Your Education

As a licensed respiratory care practitioner, you must renew your license every even numbered year on or by June 30th. In order to renew your license, follow these steps:

  • Renew your license with an online application
    • There is a renewal fee of $100

  • Complete a minimum of 20 continuing education contact hours before the license renewal date
    • At least one of these hours must be in respiratory care law or professional ethics

  • If you are licensed six months or less before the renewal date, you do not need to renew your license until the next renewal period

Another option you may wish to pursue after becoming licensed is furthering your education. Holding a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy will allow you to improve the care you provide to your patients, increase your pay, and open up additional opportunities.

There are more than 225 hospitals in Ohio. Of these, 11 are ranked nationally, while 30 more are strongly ranked at the state level. Among many others, respiratory therapist jobs may be available in these hospitals and clinics:

  • Cleveland Clinic – Cleveland
  • Bethesda North Hospital – Cincinnati
  • Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center – Columbus
  • Akron General Medical Center – Akron

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