The AAS Degree in Respiratory Therapy is a 5-consecutive semester program that begins each Fall Semester. The respiratory care practitioner is primarily a bedside caregiver. The curriculum is designed to prepare students as effective members of the health care team in assisting with diagnosis, treatment, management, and preventive care of patients with cardiopulmonary problems. Upon successful completion of the program, students are eligible to take the Entry Level examination leading to certification as a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and state licensure. The student is prepared to take the advanced level examinations leading to a registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). The program has met the national standards for Respiratory Therapy education set by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). NOVA respiratory therapy graduates have achieved high passing percentages on national board examinations and enjoy many employment opportunities. This information is available at http://www.coarc.com/47.html.
There are two levels of credentialing in the respiratory therapy profession:
Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT): Students completing the Associate in Applied Science Degree (AAS) at NOVA are qualified to take the National Board for the Respiratory Care Entry Level examination. Upon successful completion of this examination, the candidate is awarded the CRT credential. This exam is also used to grant licensure in Virginia and most other states. We have a 99.5% first-time pass rate on this exam.
Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT): The highest level of practice is that of Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). You become eligible for this examination after completion of the NOVA AAS Respiratory Therapy program degree and by passing the CRT. Most hospitals will require you to earn the RRT within a certain timeframe as a contingency of employment. The national Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) now requires all CRTs to take and pass the RRT exams within 3 years of obtaining the CRT credential. See www.nbrc.org. The Registry credential is required of persons seeking education and management positions. Registered therapists generally command higher salaries and have greater job mobility.