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How to Become a Respiratory Therapist in Washington

To become a respiratory therapist, you need to have at least an associate or bachelor degree in respiratory therapy. Once you have completed either of these degree programs, you have the option of becoming a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) or a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). To become a Certified Respiratory Therapist, a person would need to finish an accredited respiratory care program and then pass a respiratory therapy certification exam. After completion of both of these programs, you would then have the option to further your education and your career prospects by completing advanced programs relating to respiratory care and by taking the two National Board for Respiratory Care, or NBRC, registration exams. If you pass these 2 exams, you can then become a Registered Respiratory Therapist.

In order to become a respiratory therapist in Washington, you will have to go to to an accredited school for respiratory therapy, of which there are several within the state. Here are some of the schools which offer programs to become a respiratory therapist in Washington:

Highline Community College

The Respiratory Care program at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Washington, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), offers students the opportunity to complete an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, with full time attendance for 7 consecutive quarters at Highline. The Respiratory Care program consists of hands on lab work to gain the skills necessary to become a respiratory therapist, classroom lectures which will teach students about respiratory medical theory, and hospital clinical rotations so that students will get a feel for the career path they are headed on.

Highline Community College's program offers a huge range of both common and high tech respiratory equipment, high quality support ventilators, a qualified team of clinical laboratory specialists, clinical faculty, and classroom instructors, and medical direction provided by a University of Washington pulmonary physician from the University's medical teaching program. In addition, the school also offers several clinical rotation experiences and sites within the Tacoma and Seattle area, an interactive Simulation Mannequin which will allow students to learn how to make realistic clinical decisions within the clinical lab, and preparation for the National Board of Respiratory Care's Registry Credential Exam.

Seattle Central Community College

Seattle Central Community College in Seattle, Washington offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Respiratory Care that helps to prepare students for the exams from the National Board of Registered Therapists and for Respiratory Care Practitioner licensure in Washington. While students must begin the program in the Fall quarter, they are able to work on instruction related to the Respiratory Care program in any quarter and can complete the program within seven full time quarters to attain their degree. Areas of study within the program include applied microbiology and chemistry, physiology, human anatomy, and many other courses relating to respiratory care.

Seattle Central Community College's Respiratory Care program, which is completely accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care and meets all requirements of the State of Washington for respiratory care practitioner licensure, allows students to have both laboratory and classroom instruction in combination with clinical experiences which are held locally at several health care facilities. The program prepares students for the respiratory care field, as well as for the National Board of Respiratory Care's Advanced Practitioner Exam.

Spokane Community College

Spokane Community College in Spokane, Washington offers a Respiratory Care program that will provide students with an Associate of Applied Science degree after the completion of 7 full time quarters of classes in the program, which will then allow the student to be eligible for taking the national entry level (Certified Respiratory Therapist examination, as well as the advanced practitioner (Registered Respiratory Therapist) examination, both of which the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers. In addition, graduates will also be able to take specialty exams from the NBRC for neonatal pediatric specialty and pulmonary diagnostics.