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Becoming a Respiratory Therapist in Iowa

Careers within the health care industry are some of the fastest growing positions available in the state of Iowa and throughout the nation. While nursing often comes to mind, respiratory therapy boasts above average pay with several different job prospects. Those that are interested in becoming a respiratory therapist in Iowa will have several different opportunities available to them and according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook is excellent. There are a few steps that must be taken in order to become a respiratory therapist in this state though.

Education Requirements for Therapists

The state of Iowa requires that respiratory therapists completed a training program that is accredited and obtain a minimum of an associate degree in respiratory therapy. This is the absolute minimum education credentials that are necessary for both certification and licensure. However, those interested in an advanced or specialty career within the respiratory field must usually obtain a bachelor's degree and obtain additional certification. There are a variety of different respiratory therapy education programs available in Iowa. The student may choose to attend local colleges and universities to fulfill educational requirements or obtain their degree through an online school, so long as the school is accredited.

Examination for Certification

After successful completion of an approved training program, the person must take an examination for certification. This is required step in becoming a respiratory therapist in Iowa. The test consists of both a written and skills portion. The written portion can contain questions pertaining to any of the information that the graduate should have learned during the program. The skills portion is provided on simulator equipment, as though the examiner were in an actual clinical setting treating a patient. The examiner must pass both portions of the exam in order to obtain the certification necessary to apply for licensure. There is an application that must be completed, fees and other credentials that must be submitted in order to register to take the exam.

Obtaining Licensure in Iowa

Becoming a respiratory therapist does not end with becoming a certified respiratory therapist (CRT). Iowa requires that therapists be licensed in order to obtain employment. The person must also apply for licensure and supply some information to the state. This can include but is not limited to certification examination results and identifying information. As with the certification, there are fees associated with becoming licensed and this is the responsibility of the applicant. These fees include an application fee and a licensing fee. The state will then make a decision as to whether or not the person will be granted licensure and notify them of this decision. If approved, the person may enter the workforce as a certified and licensed respiratory therapist.

Becoming a respiratory therapist in Iowa is well worth the effort. In addition to multiple opportunities, many therapists find that the career is very fulfilling. The first step in pursuing such a career though is to find the right school and respiratory therapy program.