Continuing Education Questions

  1. Could you please explain the continuing education requirement in respiratory therapy and how it directly applies to me.

    All respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy technicians who are renewing registration of their license, are required by law to complete continuing education coursework. Beginning January 1, 2003, respiratory therapists must take 30 contact hours of continuing education in each three-year registration period; respiratory therapy technicians must take 24 hours of continuing education in each triennium.

  2. I just graduated, received my initial license, and am in my first registration period. Do I need to begin to take continuing education immediately?

    No. You do not need to take continuing education during the first three-year registration period after you graduated from a respiratory therapy program. By law, the first registration cycle is three years in length. The second registration cycle is adjusted, anywhere from 28 months to 40 months so that future registration cycles correspond with your month of birth. For that second registration cycle, respiratory therapists must take .83 hours of approved coursework for each month of the registration cycle; respiratory therapy technicians must take .67 hours for each month of registration. From then on registration cycles are fixed at three-year intervals based on your birth month. Respiratory therapists must take 30 contact hours of continuing education in each three-year registration period; respiratory therapy technicians must take 24 hours of continuing education in each triennium.

  3. What types of continuing education are acceptable?

    Both formal and informal self-study courses. For respiratory therapists, informal self-study courses must constitute not more than half of the total hours (a maximum of 15 contact hours out of 30). For respiratory therapy technicians, informal self- study courses must constitute no more than half of the total hours (a maximum of 12 contact hours out of 24).

  4. What is an informal self-study course?

    Examples of informal self-study courses include courses offered by internet or video format, which are taken by the respiratory therapist or therapy technician without a live instructor or a long distance facilitator's assistance.

  5. What is a formal self-study course?

    Examples of formal self-study courses include college courses and approved classes, conferences, seminars, and lectures with an instructor present to immediately respond to questions and concerns.

  6. Am I required to take informal self-study courses?

    No. All the courses can be "live" courses in which you interact with an instructor, if you wish.

  7. Are live courses limited to those in which I'm in the same room with the instructor?

    No. The State Education Department considers a telecourse or teleconference in which you and other practitioners discuss a taped presentation with the facilitator's assistance is a live course. A course offered by computer in which you interact directly with the instructor is a "live" course. On the other hand, a televised lecture with no means of direct interaction would not be acceptable as a "live" course even if it is a live telecast.

  8. May I count toward my continuing education requirement my service as an academic course instructor or preceptor?

    Respiratory Therapists may earn up to a maximum of 10 continuing education credits for experience gained as a clinical instructor where such experience demonstrates that the instructor has met competency standards. Preceptors seeking to claim continuing education credit should download, complete, and keep the Preceptor Evaluation Form with their continuing education records.

  9. Can I take a continuing education courses from any provider?

    No. The law requires that respiratory therapy courses be provided by approved sponsors.

  10. Who are approved sponsors?

    The New York State Education Department recognizes three types of approved sponsors of continuing education for the purpose of re-registering a license to practice as a respiratory therapist or respiratory therapy technician:

    1. Sponsors approved directly by the Department after review and approval of an application by members of the State Board for Respiratory Therapy
    2. Colleges, universities, and other degree-granting institutions offering respiratory therapy degree programs that are registered by the New York State Education Department or that are accredited by an equivalent accrediting agency, for respiratory therapy courses
    3. Courses approved by professional organizations such as the American Association for Respiratory Care or the American Medical Association, provided that the courses are in subjects acceptable to the State Board as stipulated in regulations.

    A list of sponsors in each category follows:

    • Category I - Sponsors Approved by the State Board for Respiratory Therapy

      North Shore University Hospital
      300 Community Drive
      Manhasset, New York 11030
      Phone 516-562-2548
      Fax 516-562-2503
      Identification Number: 04-28-07-003

    • Category II - New York State Registered Respiratory Therapy Programs

      Please note: that while the following listing includes all colleges and universities with Department registered respiratory therapy programs, not all of the programs provide continuing education for respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy technicians.

      Borough of Manhattan/Community College of the City of NY
      199 Chambers Street
      Department of Allied Health Sciences - Room N742
      New York, NY 10007
      Phone 212-346-8000

      Erie Community College/North Campus
      6205 Main Street
      Williamsville, NY 14221-7095
      Phone 716-851-1531

      Genesee Community College
      1 College Road
      Batavia, NY 14020
      Phone 716-343-0055 Ext. 6860

      Hudson Valley Community College
      80 Vandenburg Avenue
      Troy, NY 12180
      Phone 518-629-7454

      Long Island University
      University Plaza Brooklyn Campus)
      Brooklyn, NY 11201
      Phone 718-488-1492

      Mohawk Valley Community College
      1101 Sherman Drive
      Utica, NY 13501
      Phone 315-792-5367

      Molloy College
      1000 Hempstead Avenue
      Rockville Centre, NY 11570-1199
      Phone 516-678-5000

      Nassau Community College
      Stewart Avenue
      Garden City, NY 11530
      Phone 516-572-7550

      Onondaga Community College
      Onondaga Road
      Syracuse, NY 13215
      Phone 315-498-2458

      SUNY at Stony Brook
      School of Health Technology and Management
      Level 2, Room 414A
      Stony Brook, NY 11794-8203
      Phone 631-444-3180

      SUNY Upstate Medical University
      College of Health Professions
      Department of Cardiorespiratory Sciences
      750 East Adams Street
      Syracuse, NY 13210
      Phone 315-464-5580

      Westchester Community College
      75 Grasslands Road
      Valhalla, NY 10595-1698
      Phone 914-785-6883

    • Category III - Courses in Acceptable Subject Areas Approved by the Following Professional Organizations

      1. American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC)
      2. American Heart Association (AHA)
      3. American Medical Association (AMA)
      4. American Nurses Association (ANA) or Member States such as the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
      5. American Red Cross
      6. National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. (NBRC)

  11. Are there specific subject matters that must be covered in the courses I take?

    Yes, acceptable subjects include:

    • Relevant disease management
    • Child abuse
    • Vent management control
    • Airway management
    • Conscious sedation
    • Pharmacology
    • Infection control
    • Electrocardiogram
    • Hemodynamics
    • HIV/AIDS management
    • Documentation
    • Legal aspects
    • Ethics
    • Safety
    • Respiratory care equipment management
    • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
    • Advanced cardiac life support
    • Pediatric advanced life support
    • Neonatal resuscitation protocol
    • Others...

    The subject matter must be related to professional practice to be acceptable to the State Board. Continuing education courses relevant to respiratory therapy practice, such as courses in the pharmacology of new drugs, or courses in anatomy and physiology, for example, are acceptable; courses not related to respiratory therapy practice, such as courses in foot surgery or English drama, would not be accepted.

  12. What records will I have to keep?

    You will need to keep the following five items of information on each course for six years from the date you completed it: (1) title of the course or program and any identification number assigned to it by the sponsor, (2) number of contact hours completed, (3) the sponsor's name and any identifying number, (4) verification by the sponsor of your attendance, and (5) the date and location of the program or course. All five elements are likely to be provided on a certificate of completion from the sponsor. BE SURE TO KEEP IT! You are responsible for documentation.

  13. With each new registration renewal, do I have to send records of continuing education that I completed to the State Education Department?

    No, you are not required to send continuing education records to the Education Department when you renew your registration. You will, however, have to attest to the fact that you have completed the requirement. You are required to make your continuing education records available for inspection by the Education Department on our request. Department staff will audit random samples of records to ensure licensees are in compliance with the continuing education requirement.

  14. What if I am selected in an audit and the review reveals discrepancies?

    You may be subject to disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct. Willfully making or filing a false report is unprofessional conduct, according to Section 29.1(b)(6) of the Rules of the Board of Regents. Penalties may include censure and reprimand, fine, and/or suspension or revocation of your license.

  15. What if a licensee is unable to complete the required hours of continuing education?

    On a case-by-case basis, the Department may issue a conditional registration for up to one year. To be granted such a conditional registration, you would have to (1) agree to complete any remaining hours of required continuing education during the period of conditional registration, (2) complete the regular continuing education requirement at a rate of .83 contact hours per month for respiratory therapists and .67 contact hours per month for respiratory therapy technicians, (3) pay the regular registration fee and a fee for the conditional registration (which is equal to the regular registration fee), and (4) complete and submit the Registration Remittance Addendum ( PDF 14 KB).

    At the end of one year, if you do not comply with the conditions of the conditional license, you will be unable to renew your registration and practice respiratory therapy in New York State. If you practice your profession after the Department has denied renewal of your registration for failure to report completion of the required contact hours of continuing education, you are subject to disciplinary proceedings for professional misconduct.

  16. Will I be required to meet the continuing education requirement if I am not practicing and do not renew my registration?

    If you have notified the Department that you are not practicing your profession and your registration is in inactive status, you do not have to complete the continuing education requirement. However, when reactivating your license you must meet all previous continuing education requirements.

  17. What if I need more information?

    Please contact the State Board for Respiratory Therapy, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234-1000, telephone: 518-474-3817 Ext. 120, fax: 518-474-3706, e-mail: rtbd@nysed.gov.

    For current information on continuing education and any changes in the continuing education requirements in respiratory therapy, check this Web site periodically.

Last Updated: December 15, 2014