Respiratory therapy is an allied healthcare occupation with a promising outlook, due in part to the aging American population. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of respiratory therapists nationally is projected to grow 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.
In 2013, the average salary for respiratory therapists in Vermont was $58,130. Vermont’s Department of Labor statistics shows that in the current decade ending 2020, most RT jobs in Vermont will continue to be concentrated in the Burlington/South Burlington Metropolitan New England City and Town Area (NECTA).
To learn how to become licensed as respiratory therapist through Vermont’s Office of Professional Regulation, follow the steps in this guide:
|Enroll in an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Degree Program
|Consider Applying for Your Student Permit
|Pass Your NBRC Exams
|Apply for Your Vermont Respiratory Care Therapist’s License
|Maintain Your Vermont License Through Continuing Education
Step 1. Enroll in an Accredited Respiratory Therapy Degree Program
Vermont has one accredited in-state respiratory care program listed on the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) website. Successful completion of this two-year program results in an Associate of Science degree, which meets the minimum requirements for licensure.
Students may be required to provide proof of certain vaccinations, immunities, and submit to a criminal background check before being allowed to work with hospital patients during the clinical component of this program. Students will provide patient care under the direct supervision of an instructor.
Program graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) CRT Multiple-Choice Exam.
According to a 2013 CoArc report, in 2012 there were 14 RT program graduates in Vermont, with all 14 earning Associate’s degrees. The 2013 average job placement rate for RTs in Vermont was 97.4 percent.
Students must complete some preliminary courses in English and Math to be accepted into the RT program.
A sample courses in the degree program include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Respiratory Care
- Cardiopulmonary Disease
- Respiratory Field Experience
Students must maintain a C average in biology and respiratory therapy courses to stay in the program.
Step 2. Consider Applying for Your Student Temporary License
You can perform the practicum portions of your RT program without having to obtain a student temporary license. However, if you want to get a job and perform respiratory care services (under supervision) while in school, you have to get a student temporary license before you start providing any services.
You have to have started your third semester of study before you can apply for a student license. You will have to fill out a student temporary license application and supply the name of a Vermont licensed supervisor of record who is willing to take responsibility for your services.
A student license is valid from the date of approval, to 90 days after the next scheduled graduation date for your RT program.
When you have a student temporary license, you can provide respiratory care services under the direct supervision of a Vermont-licensed respiratory care practitioner who has at least two years experience in respiratory care. You can only perform care activities that your supervisor has documented you to be competent in after verification from the clinical director of your accredited respiratory care program.
Step 3. Pass Your NBRC Exams
Once you’ve obtained your RT degree from an accredited college or university, you must pass the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) to earn a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential.
A passing score on the CRT exam confirms that you have the knowledge to be a competent respiratory therapist. You cannot be licensed in Vermont without first qualifying to become a CRT.
Once you have obtained your CRT, you can apply for a license through the state board.
The optional Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential is a higher level certification and is seen as proof that you’re highly qualified. An RRT credential may provide better job opportunities, as it denotes a higher level of skill.
Step 4. Apply for Your Vermont Respiratory Care Therapist’s License
Once you’ve completed an accredited respiratory care degree program and obtained your CRT, you can apply for your Vermont respiratory care therapist’s license. You must fill out a license application, submit your school transcripts, submit verification of successful completion of the NBRC certification, and pay an application fee.
If you obtained your RT license in another state or jurisdiction, you can obtain an RT license in Vermont by endorsement. To do this, you must be currently certified or licensed in the previous jurisdiction, and the previous RT licensure must have requirements at least equivalent to Vermont’s. You must fill out an application form for licensure by endorsement. You must also submit a verification of licensure form from every state in which you hold or have held a license. You must submit a school transcript or verification that you earned the NBRC certification. You must also pay an application fee.
While you’re waiting for your license application to be approved, you may obtain a temporary license allowing you to practice for up to 100 days in Vermont. Your application must designate a Vermont-licensed supervisor of record willing to take responsibility for the services you provide. If you obtain a temporary license, you may provide respiratory therapy care under the indirect supervision of a respiratory care practitioner licensed in Vermont.
Step 5. Maintain Your Vermont License Through Continuing Education
Vermont RT licenses are valid for two years and must be renewed before the expiration date. Applicants must fill out a renewal form and pay a renewal fee to maintain their RT licenses.
Respiratory therapists in Vermont are required to stay current by taking relevant courses throughout their careers. The Vermont RT license renewal form will contain a section on which you must list your continuing education (CE) credits.
Vermont RTs must earn a total of 12 hours of CE in every two-year renewal period. CE credits may be earned for attending relevant and approved:
- Formal presentations
- In-service programs
- Self- study courses, such as distance learning and online courses promoting continuing competency in respiratory care theory and practice
The Vermont Secretary of State’s website maintains a list of current courses and presentations approved for CE credit.