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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RTs: Here's an update on credentials

So we used to be inhalation therapists and then respiratory therapists and now the preferred term is respiratory care practitioner.  Like the name of our profession, so too has the credentialing changed over the years.  If you're like me a quick refresher may be beneficial.

One of the reasons I chose to become an RT is I knew I could start working as an RT as soon as I completed the first year and passed the  Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician (CRTT) test.  No more is this option available.

The CRTT was created when RTs were in high demand.  Now that the field is saturated the CRTT has been eliminated in favor of the Certified Respiratory Therapist.  To qualify for the test you now have to complete an associates degree in a credentialled respiratory therapy program. 

Generally speaking, the CRT credential simply means you meet basic requirements to be an RT.  You understand and know how to operate basic respiratory therapy equipment and are compitent at basic assessment skills.  CRTs are qualified to obtain licensure in most states.

Most RTs do not stop at CRT and move right on to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). While some states allow you to stop there, most require you to earn your license.  Requirements to obtain your license differ from state to state.

The CRT and RRT credentials were necessary prior to licensing because they proved you met criteria and were competent to be a respiratory therapist.  After your name you would write your credentials to show the level of training and competency you earned. 

Example:  Rick Frea, RRT

However, once you have a licence you no longer have to use your credentials.  If you have a license all you have to do is write "LRT" after your name, because writing this pretty much denotes that you have your CRT and RRT credentials.

Example:  Rick Frea, LRT

If you have a specialty you may also include these after your name.  For example, if you passed the Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist you may write CPFT after your name.  If you took the Advanced Pulmonary Function Technologist you may write APFT after your name.  (To see what other credentials you can earn click here.) 

Example:  Rick Frea, LRT, CPFT

If it makes you feel better, or if it's required at your place of employment, you can also write your name followed by all your credentials.

Example:  Rick Frea, RRT, LRT, CPFT

To  verify your license or the license of another person you can click here.


Jeff Y said...

They are getting ready to change the testing for the CRT and RRT. It is going to be combined into a single test. If you answer (correctly) questions to a certain level you will be considered a CRT. That test continues to ask more questions, and if you correctly answer the higher level questions, you will be considered a RRT. (clinsims will still be required) I believe they are planning on starting that in 2015, the year after I am expected to graduate...

Keep up the good work with this blog. I come here regularly to try and pick up on some of your wisdom.

Rick Frea said...

Thanks for the Update.