Every new RT graduate out there today is eligible to sit for the written TMC exam, and based on test scores, qualify for the clinical simulation exam (CSE) to earn the RRT.
But recently, there has been change in the licensure acts of some states with others currently under consideration. Three states – Ohio, California, and Arizona – have already converted their licensure and now require new applicants to possess the RRT credential in order to practice in those states.
“All new RTs today graduate from at least an AS program, and that means they are all qualified to earn the RRT credential,” says Immediate Past President Frank Salvatore, MBA, RRT, FAARC. “The problem lies in the fact that our licensure laws were mainly enacted before all therapists could earn the RRT and thus were linked to the CRT. We want to help the states change their laws so that the RRT is the exam linked to licensure.”
In a pre-emptive move to provide guidance for any additional states considering in joining the ranks of Ohio, California, and Arizona, the AARC’s Board of Directors has just approved and published a new document titled “Guidance Document Regarding RRT Entry to Licensure.” The document outlines the steps state societies should consider when changing their licensure laws to reflect an RRT credential minimum.
Does all this mean the AARC is abandoning support of the many competent CRTs in the profession today? In a word, no.
“We have to walk a fine balance of support for state affiliates who are considering this direction while protecting the profession and the public,” emphasizes current AARC President Brian Walsh, PhD, RRT-NPS, FAARC. “While I wholeheartedly support this avenue to promote RRT minimum competency among licensed respiratory therapists, we have to concede that there is no evidence that CRTs are less safe than RRT credentialed therapists. Therefore, this will be a ‘living’ consensus document that will morph over time and as evidence is provided.”
It is also important to note that — as in the three states that have already transitioned to the RRT entry — current license holders in states that enact an RRT entry to licensure have “grandfathered” in and thus will be able to continue to practice with the CRT, if they so choose.
But the RRT entry will help open new doors for the profession.
Says Dr. Walsh, “It is the AARC’s belief that the complexity of the patients we serve has grown and requires a high level of competency. We have worked closely with CoARC and the NBRC to ensure those prepared individuals get the opportunity to obtain the highest credential. Individuals who obtain the RRT credential exemplify the dedication to professional excellence and demonstrate that commitment.”