• Certifications and Licenses
  • CRT - Certified Respiratory Therapist

    • $190
    • Renews every 5 years
    • Required for practice as a respiratory therapist in 49 states

    COURSE FORMAT

    In Person

    About

    Graduates of an associate (or higher) degree program in Respiratory Therapy must be certified to practice in 49 U.S. states. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) gives two certifications by examination. The first option is the entry-level designation called the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). CRTs who achieve a high enough score are eligible to take a second test which awards the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) certification.

    Certified Respiratory Therapists work in various healthcare settings, from doctors’ offices to intensive care units. They examine patients with breathing problems and administer treatments to help them.

    Course Format

    Test Format

    The TMC Exam costs $190 for new applicants and $150 for repeat applicants.

    Tests are administered through PSI Examination Services.

    The test that respiratory therapy graduates take for certification is the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination. The TMC examination is computer-based, takes three hours, and contains 160 multiple-choice questions. Only 140 items are scored. The remaining 20 are pre-test questions used to gather statistical data for future exams. They do not affect the results. CRT candidates can find the specific exam content at TMC Detailed Content Outline.

    The NBRC has determined two cut scores. Respiratory therapists must score 66% to pass. If the second higher cut score of 72% is met, the NBRC awards a CRT certificate, and the therapist is eligible to take the Clinical Simulation Exam for RRT certification. 

    Results

    The exam is scored electronically. Pass/Fail results are available immediately. Those who fail can retest up to three times. After the third attempt, they must wait 120 days before testing again.

    Certification

    Obtaining This Certification

    To apply for TMC Examination, candidates must be:

    • 18 years of age

    • A graduate of an accredited respiratory therapy degree program

    Applications can be submitted anytime. There are no deadlines. Online applications are processed immediately. Paper applications can be mailed with the application fee for processing within 5-7 business days.

    Renewing This Certification

    CRT certification is good for five years. The NBRC requires renewal through the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP). Therapists have four options to meet CMP requirements for CRT renewal. Options include: 

    • 30 hours of Continuing Education (CE) credit

    • Complete quarterly assessment with the required number of CEs

    • Retake and pass the TMC exam

    • Earn a new NBRC credential

    Other Resources

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    Frequently asked questions

    How hard is the CRT exam?

    The TMC Exam or Therapist Multiple-Choice Examination is considered one of the most challenging exams to pass in the medical field.