Professional Organizations Within Respiratory Care: What You Need to Know

The purpose of professional organizations for respiratory care is to improve the treatments given to patients suffering from acute and chronic diseases affecting the respiratory tract by creating a platform for the training and skill development of respiratory therapists.

Some of the most reputed professional organizations for respiratory care include the following:


  • NBRC (The National Board for Respiratory Care)
  • American Association for Respiratory Care
  • CoARC (The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care )
  • State-Level Organizations and Societies     

Most practicing respiratory therapists and medical students have varied opinions and interpretations of these professional organizations. Hence, there is a need to clarify the common concerns and clear the ideas and concepts about the need to maintain a membership with these organizationsthat most medical professionals are not aware of.

Here is a brief discussion about the various professional organizations for respiratory care and the benefits of maintaining a membership with these organizations.

What are the learning outcomes of the professional organizations for respiratory care?


This article is aimed at Identifying the professional requirements of these organizations and describing the roles of each.

The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC)

Medical professionals who want to join NBRC are expected to have at least a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree to enter this organization.


It is estimated that more than 265,000 medical professionals have received at least one or more credentials from this organization. Having a specialty credential by NBRC suggests that the skills and knowledge of the therapist are highly specialized in the specific healthcare area. 

The NBRC is responsible for maintaining the credentials, which could be confusing for most medical professionals as there are many changes that have occurred in the past few years.

You can attend our Respiratory therapy ceus to learn more about NBRC, the benefits of joining this organization, and the criteria you need to fulfil in order to receive and maintain your membership.

CoARC (The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care)

This organization accredits entry into programs for the professional practice of respiratory care at the Master’s, Baccalaureate, and Associate degree levels. It also accredits entry into the programs for the post-professional degree for advancement in respiratory care at the Master’s and Baccalaureate degree levels and advanced practice respiratory care at the graduate level.

This means CoARC serves as an accrediting body forthe respiratory care programs meant for medical professionals at different levels of their educational qualifications. It involves a voluntary process that the schools submit.

Achieving CoARC accreditation is a highly regarded achievement. Achieving CoARC accreditation is important even for those professionals who plan to give the NBRC exams.

There are several other ways for you to sit for an exam if you have previously availed of a program that wasn't accredited. But, CoARC accreditation is often considered the easiest way to give your NBRC exam as it provides up-to-date information.

This means that graduating from an accredited university program could be the most appropriate way for qualifying for an NBRC exam. Moreover, CoARC protects you by preparing you for entry into practice. It would prepare you for your exams and also for working in the medical field.

AARC (American Association for Respiratory Care)

AARC is the national association. AARC focuses on several areas and aspects that you would need as a therapist.


The AARC is responsible for the national meeting of the AARC Congress, which is held every year. It is also responsible for additional meetings and provides educational courses needed by medical professionals for earning their continuing education credits.

AARC organizes, maintains, and offers several CEU opportunities. AARC interacts with the federal and state governments on public policies, which affect patients and its members.

While looking at advocacy, national and state laws that come into play may directly affect what you should do as a respiratory therapist in your practice including the treatments provided to your patients. AARC also provides legal resources through the skilled experts who are specialized in this area. These experts can help you understand the laws that you need to know and follow in your medical practice.

State Licensure

State licensure is an area that applies to a majority of respiratory therapists. State licensure is important as it ensures that you are licensed to practice and meet the requirements recommended by the state where you are working.

Most of the time, having state licensure will require you to have credentials from the NBRC. The state you are working in is where you need to apply for the licensein order to practice. State licensure will allow you to start working with patients.

State Organizations

Most state organizations have a similar structure and set of requirements as that of the AARC. The state organizations act as a liaison between the local and national organizations. They work together to tackle issues like hiring a lobbyist or approaching legislators, to act on their behalf in that form of environment.

The state organization also serves as a liaison between a local respiratory therapist and the therapists at the national level.


In conclusion, professional organizations for respiratory care play a crucial role in advancing the skills and expertise of respiratory therapists and improving the quality of care provided to patients. NBRC, CoARC, AARC, state licensure, and state organizations are some of the most reputed organizations in this field, each with its unique role and requirements. By becoming a member of these organizations and earning their credentials, respiratory therapists can gain access to valuable resources, continuing education opportunities, and advocacy efforts that can help them excel in their careers and make a significant difference in the lives of their patients.