Each licensed respiratory therapist is required to maintain continuing education in order to renew and maintain their state license. The Massachusetts Respiratory Care Licensure Board requires that every respiratory therapist obtain 15 contact hours every two years (biennal). In addition to this, no more than 4 contact hours from recredentialing exams can be applied. The Board will not grant continuing education credits to Basic Cardiac Life Support (BLS) courses. However, a licensee may request continuing education credit once for successfully completing courses to obtain initial certification in advanced level specialties. Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and pediatric advanced life support (PALS) are examples of advanced level certification courses that the Board may find acceptable for continuing education credit.

Continuing education shall not be required of a new licensee for the first renewal of a license. 

Contact Hours vs. CRCE

Contact Hour is defined as the unit of measurement of organized learning lasting 50 consecutive minutes in non-clinical experience offerings and 100 consecutive minutes for clinical experience. 

CRCE is defined as defined as the variety of learning experiences meant to enhance the knowledge of respiratory therapists, enabling them to provide safe, and effective respiratory care to patients. Continuing education may also be used to define learning experiences related to the education and management of respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy services, health promotion and disease management, patient safety, health care cost containment, healthcare law and ethics and emergency preparedness. One CRCE® contact hour is defined as 60 minutes of learning activity. 

Continuing Education Period

The period from January 1 of each even numbered year to January 1 of the next even numbered year. Example is January 1 2014 to January 1 2016. During this period of time, a licensed respiratory therapist will be required to obtain 15 contact hours of continuing education. 

What Are You Required to Maintain

Except as provided in 261 CMR 5.02, licensees shall:

  1. apply for license renewal on such form as provided by the Board certifying compliance with the continuing education requirements and signed under the pains and penalties of perjury.
  2. maintain the authenticated record of attendance for each continuing education activity/program for two consecutive full licensure periods.
  3. within the time period requested by the Board, submit a notarized copy of the authenticated record(s) of attendance, as described in 261 CMR 5.05(2)(c), for the required number of continuing education contact hours. 

What Else Do You Need to Do (NBRC's Continuing Competency Program)

If you obtained a credential after July 1, 2002 you are required to maintain continuing education to be able to renew your credential (ex. CRT, RRT, RRT-NPS, and others). You have three options for maintaining your credentials:

  1. Provide proof of completion of a minimum of 30 hours of Category I Continuing Education (CE) acceptable to the NBRC.Category I Continuing Education is defined as participation in an educational activity directly related to respiratory therapy or pulmonary function technology, which includes any one of the following:
    1. Lecture – a discourse given for instruction before an audience or through teleconference.
    2. Panel – a presentation of a number of views by several professionals on a given subject with none of the views considered a final solution.
    3. Workshop – a series of meetings for intensive, hands on study or discussion in a specific area of interest.
    4. Seminar – a directed advanced study or discussion in a specific field of interest.
    5. Symposium – a conference of more than a single session organized for discussing a specific subject from various viewpoints and by various presenters.
    6. Distance Education – includes such enduring materials as text, Internet or CD, provided the proponent has included an independently scored test as part of the learning package.
  2. Retake and pass the respective examination for the highest credential held that is subject to the CCP. 
    Individuals may retake the examination anytime during the five-year period. The new five-year credential period will begin on 3 3 the date of successfully passing the examination. Individuals holding multiple NBRC credentials, who elect to renew their credentials through the examination option, must do so by successfully completing the examination for the highest-level credential held that is subject to the CCP.
  3. Pass an NBRC credentialing examination not previously completed. 
    Passing an NBRC credentialing examination not previously completed automatically extends the renewal period of all of the other credentials held by the certificant for an additional five years, calculated from the date of the successful examination. Therefore, all credentials held by an individual will expire on the same date, allowing future recertification for all credentials held to occur simultaneously. 

If you maintain your Massachusetts license with the required and appropriate continuing education, you will have enough continuing education to renew your NBRC credential. You are required to report this to the NBRC. The NBRC does not receive your continuing education automatically, please visit for more information. 


American Association for Respiratory Care -

Massachusetts Respiratory Care Licensure Board -

National Board for Respiratory Care -

Please note that the MSRC is not a licensure agency. All respiratory care licensure questions or issues need to be sent to the Massachusetts Respiratory Care Licensure Board by clicking here.

Massachusetts Respiratory Licensure Information

“Respiratory care”, is a health profession that, under direction of a licensed physician, who has special expertise in respiratory care, utilizes the application of scientific principles for the identification, prevention, remediation, research, and rehabilitation of acute or chronic cardiopulmonary dysfunction thereby promoting optimum health and function. Respiratory care practice includes, but is not limited to, the therapeutic and diagnostic use of the following as ordered by a physician: medical gases, gas administering devices, humidification and aerosols, administration of aerosol medications, support services for mechanically ventilated patients, postural drainage, bronchopulmonary hygiene, breathing exercises, respiratory rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, maintaining natural and artificial airways, the understanding and reporting of tests as aids to diagnosis or the planning of treatment programs. Respiratory care shall also include the measuring ventilatory volumes, pressures and flows, collecting specimens of blood and other materials, pulmonary function testing, hemodynamic and other related physiologic monitoring of the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory care shall also include teaching both patient and family respiratory care procedures as part of a patient’s ongoing program; consultation services for the health educational and community agencies. Respiratory care shall also include teaching of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to perform the above mentioned activities." 

Applications for Respiratory Care License

Respiratory Care License Renewal Information

How to file a complaint with the MA Licensure Board

Important Links

American Association for Respiratory Care -

Massachusetts Respiratory Care Licensure Board -

National Board for Respiratory Care -