Respiratory Care Board of California

The mandate of the Respiratory Care Board is to protect and serve the consumer by administering and enforcing the Respiratory Care Practice Act and its regulations in the interest of the safe practice of respiratory care. Licensed Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCPs) regularly perform critical lifesaving and life support procedures prescribed by physicians that directly affect major organs of the body. RCPs provide care directly to the patient in either a hospital setting or the patient's home. Patients may be suffering from lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, or cystic fibrosis, or may be premature infants whose lungs have not yet fully developed. More than 40,000 RCP licenses have been issued in the State of California.


RCPs and Student RCPs - COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout-Phase 1a

Please be advised that according to the California Department of Public Health’s allocation guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine, respiratory care practitioners and students who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their work in any role in direct health care or long-term settings are included in Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. For more information regarding California’s vaccination plan, please visit:

The vaccine is strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Please contact your health care provider first to inquire about access to the vaccine. If your health care provider is not prepared to provide the vaccine, please check the website of your county health department for more information.

COVID-19 Vaccination Administration by Respiratory Therapists

Please be advised that administration of the COVID-19 vaccination is covered under the scope of practice for respiratory therapists. Respiratory Therapists are legally authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. You may find the Respiratory Therapist scope of practice under sections 3702 and 3702.7 of the Business and Professions Code.

Please check your email and our website for updates in the coming weeks regarding volunteer efforts to distribute the vaccine.

Updated Notice Regarding Covid-19 Vaccine Administration

On January 7, 2021, the California Department of Public Health released new guidance on vaccine prioritization. The guidance recognized the need to balance the prioritization of scarce vaccine resources with the goal of achieving community immunity for all Californians. Additionally, the guidance noted situations in which the health departments and providers may offer doses promptly to people in lower priority groups, including provider flexibility to eliminate vaccine spoilage.

The Respiratory Care Board previously provided licensees with information on their role in maintaining COVID-19 phase structure as they administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The Respiratory Care Board is incorporating this new guidance and any future guidance issued into its review and evaluation of complaints that could result in disciplinary actions against licensees involved in COVID-19 administration.

With respect to vaccine prioritization, the Respiratory Care Board will prioritize the investigation of complaints against licensees who engage in the diversion of COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine administration supplies provided by the federal government that is undertaken for financial gain in violation of applicable federal and state guidance.

This guidance updates the guidance released on December 31, 2020.

Expedited Licensure for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Holders of Special Immigrant Visas

Starting January 1, 2021, individuals in the following categories who apply for licensure by the Respiratory Care Board may seek an expedited licensure process.

  1. Refugees pursuant to section 1157 of title 8 of the United States Code;
  2. Those granted asylum by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General of the United States pursuant to section 1158 of title 8 of the United States Code; or,
  3. Individuals with a special immigrant visa that have been granted a status pursuant to section 1244 of Public Law 110-181, Public Law 109-163, or section 602(b) of title VI of division F of Public Law 111-8.

In order to receive the expedited licensure process, individuals must provide documentation of their refugee, asylee, or special immigrant visa status when submitting their application package. Please note that this does not mean a license must be issued, but simply that the process will be expedited.

Click here for information and documentation examples.

Notice Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Administration

As the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed, the Respiratory Care Board is supporting the State’s effort to ensure that all providers follow the standards for allocating and administering COVID-19 vaccines. In particular, Respiratory Care Board licensees must adhere to the current federal and state prioritization standards for allocating and administering COVID-19 vaccines in phases. The standards are available on the California Department of Public Health’s website at the following link:

For more information, please see the Vaccine Distribution Guidance document on the Board’s website.