Many people wonder about whether this is a difference between a CRT and a RRT. It turns out that there are some small differences as well as many similarities. Just to establish terminology we should know what these letter designations actually stand for. CRT stands for Certified Respiratory Therapist, and it is the minimal certification that a person needs to work as a respiratory therapist. RRT stands for Registered Respiratory Therapist, and it is an advanced level certification.
Regarding education, it turns out that both designations need a minimum level of educational accomplishment. Both the CRT and RRT designations require the professional to obtain at least an associates degree. After obtaining their degree, these professionals must become certified through an exam. The CRT must pass one NBRC (National Board of Respiratory Care) exam that consists of 160 questions. The RRT must pass that exam as well as a second exam. The second exam consists of a 115 question written section and a 10 question practicum section.
Many people opt to enter the field with only the entry level designation or CRT because it is harder and more time consuming to enter at the advanced level or RRT. They perceive little difference in pay between the two designations. However, there are a few other differences between the two designations.
RRT’s are more likely to advance to management level careers. RRT’s are often more respected by doctors and nurses because they have achieved the standard of excellence in the field. This respect, although fairly intangible, can equate to greater earnings and more potential in the long run. However, RRT’s are often saddled with more responsibilities than their CRT counterparts. Many people would prefer not to have additional responsibilities unless they are compensated for it. However, even a small amount of extra earnings can equate to a large number when it is considered over the course of a career. For instance, if an RRT earns only 20 cents more than a CRT, they actually earn an extra $11,929.42 over the course of a twenty year career. If they are paid an extra $1 per hour, they earn an extra $59,647.00 over the course of a twenty year career. That essentially equates to almost an extra year of pay.
As we have discussed there are minor differences between a CRT and a RRT. If you have an option and a larger timeframe, it makes a lot of sense to extend your education and go for the RRT. In the end there are many similarities between the jobs that CRT’s and RRT’s do. However, as explained above, there are some subtle differences between the two designations, and those subtle differences can be worth more than a year’s worth of extra salary over the long run.