Respiratory Care Board of California
Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 7/1/20

The following FAQs are in response to the current COVID 19 State of Emergency and are subject to change. Please check our website regularly for updates and/or timeline extensions.

We have unused ventilators or ventilator parts that we want to donate or loan. Who do we contact? (Posted 4/1/20)

THANK YOU! Please visit the California Coronavirus Covid-19 Medical Supply Page at: https://covid19supplies.ca.gov/

Will License Renewal Continuing Education Requirements Be Postponed? (Posted 4/1/20; Updated 7/1/20)

Yes. Holders of current Respiratory Care Practitioner licenses expiring between March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, who have not completed their continuing education, including the ethics course (if required) will be permitted to renew his/her license in an active status. This temporary waiver does not relieve licensees from timely complying with other renewal requirements, including completing and submitting the required renewal forms accompanied with the license renewal fee. You may renew your license through our BreEZe system at: https://rcb.ca.gov/licensees/lic_renewal.shtml.

Licensees must satisfy any waived continuing education requirements by September 30, 2020 unless the Order Waiving License Renewal Requirements is extended.

UPDATE: On July 1, 2020, the Order Waiving License Renewal Requirements was extended to include licenses expiring on July 31, 2020 and August 31, 2020. These licensees may renew now without completing the required continuing education, but must satisfy the waived CE requirements by December 31, 2020 unless an additional extension is ordered. To view the updated order, please visit: https://www.dca.ca.gov/licensees/dca_20_27.pdf

Additionally, if you have had COVID 19 education directly related to respiratory care, please be sure to log this (including the date, number of hours, and instructor) as it will be counted toward continuing education for all licensees.

My Employer is Requiring a Hard Plastic License? (Posted 4/1/20)

Pursuant to Business and Professions Code, section 3779, a person may rely upon the licensing information as it is displayed on the board's Internet Web site that includes the issuance and expiration dates of any license issued by the board for purposes of license verification.

We ask during this time that employers heavily rely on license verification through BreEZe located on our website: https://search.dca.ca.gov/.

My License is Current but in an Inactive Status. How can I place it in an Active Status? (Posted 4/1/20)

At this time, a license holder of an Inactive license, meaning the fees have been paid, but continuing education was not completed, may request to the board in writing at rcbinfo@dca.ca.gov to have his/her license placed in an Active status. If the applicant does not have the required 15 hours of continuing education at the time of the request, the continuing education requirement will be waived and the license will still be temporarily placed in an active status. Licensees must satisfy any waived continuing education requirements by September 30, 2020 unless the Order Waiving License Renewal Requirements is extended.

My License is Delinquent. Can I Renew My License to Help Combat Coronavirus? (Posted 4/1/20)

Yes. A license that has not been renewed, but is not yet canceled (a license automatically cancels after 3 years of non-renewal) may be renewed. Through June 30, 2020, the delinquent fee will be reduced to $0 so that the licensee need only pay the current renewal fee to renew his/her license. If the applicant does not have the required 30 hours of continuing education at the time of the request, the license will still be temporarily placed in an active status. Licensees must satisfy any waived continuing education requirements by September 30, 2020 unless the Order Waiving License Renewal Requirements is extended. You may renew your license through our BreEZe system at: https://rcb.ca.gov/licensees/lic_renewal.shtml

My License is Retired. Can I Reinstate My License to Help Combat Coronavirus? (Posted 4/1/20)

If you meet both of the following requirements and those outlined in the Order Waiving License Reactivation or Restoration Requirements, you qualify for the temporary reinstatement of your license:

  • No more than five years have elapsed since your license was placed in a retired status*
  • Your license was not placed in a retired status following initiation of a disciplinary action.

If you meet these qualifications, you must complete and submit a Reinstatement Application Form. All fees and licensure requirements will be waived. Upon approval, the Board will issue you a temporary license valid for a period not to exceed six months or when the State of Emergency ceases to exist, whichever is sooner.

*If your license was placed in a retired status over 5 years, and you are interested in returning to help combat coronavirus, the Board encourages you to complete the application noted above. Should additional practitioners be needed for tasks relying on retained competencies, those applications may be considered for temporary licensure.

My License Lapsed and Subsequently Canceled. Can I Reinstate My License to Help Combat Coronavirus? (Posted 4/1/20)

If you meet both of the following requirements and those outlined in the Order Waiving License Reactivation or Restoration Requirements, you qualify for the temporary reinstatement of your license:

  • No more than five years have elapsed since your last license expiration date*
  • Your license was not placed in a canceled status following initiation of a disciplinary action.

If you meet these qualifications, you must complete and submit a Reinstatement Application Form. All fees and licensure requirements will be waived. Upon approval, the Board will issue you a temporary license valid for a period not to exceed six months or when the State of Emergency ceases to exist, whichever is sooner.

*If your license expiration date is over 5 years, and you are interested in returning to help combat coronavirus, the Board encourages you to complete the application noted above. Should additional practitioners be needed for tasks relying on retained competencies, those applications may be considered for temporary licensure.

Are Respiratory Care Students Permitted to Perform Respiratory Care Services? (Posted 4/1/20)

Business and Professions Code section 3741 provides that students enrolled in an approved respiratory care training program may render respiratory care services when they are incidental to his or her course of study. However, any such student partaking in activities covered by Business Professions Code section 3741 must identify himself or herself as a student respiratory care practitioner.

Students and anyone working with a work permit are still subject to direct supervision, which means assigned to a licensed RCP who is available in the patient area.

Education programs should contact the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care's Program Accreditation Standards to determine if allowing students to be compensated will affect their program accreditation: www.coarc.com

Students who are expected to graduate within three months are encouraged to still move forward with the application for licensure process to obtain a work permit. Once students have graduated from their education program, they are no longer authorized to practice as students and must possess a work permit to practice. Applications and work permits continue to be processed swiftly, anywhere from two to 10 days.

How have processes changed for students and new graduates? (Added 4/9/20; Updated 4/20/20)

Students

The Respiratory Care Board process for students has not changed. Rather, the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) has relaxed its standards temporarily allowing students "to provide, with pay, appropriate services in healthcare facilities in those states." See CoARC's website for updates. Therefore, students may continue to practice for any clinical site affiliated with his/her respiratory care education program with or without pay. No additional "permit" or "license" is required or available to issue.

New Graduates

The Respiratory Care Board process for new graduates to obtain a work permit or license has not changed, though we are monitoring this process closely to identify and evaluate potential barriers.

Unlike students, as noted above, a new graduate must possess a valid work permit to practice. This is why the Board is encouraging students who are within 90 days of graduation to apply for initial licensure. This should provide ample time for the student to submit the required ancillary documentation to allow the new graduate to have a work permit in his/her hands prior to the day they graduate from their education program (the work permit will be valid upon graduation and thereafter).

Once the following occurs, the new graduate is eligible to receive a work permit:

  • A complete application for licensure has been received and reviewed by the Board. The entire application must be complete including the certification by the applicant's education program of the expected graduation date (to avoid delays). If any education program is having difficulty accessing their seal, please contact our office.
  • The $300 fee is received and processed by the Board. This fee is valid for a period of one year to complete the licensure process- no additional fee will be charged for an initial license.
  • The new graduate had their fingerprints scanned and the Board has received a clearance from the Department of Justice (or has cleared any criminal history). There are still numerous sites open and available to scan new graduate fingerprints. The Board recommends that you call ahead to inquire about the fees (they will vary by site) and ensure they are open. The Department of Justice lists all locations and noted those that have temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Please note that completion of the above steps only makes an applicant eligible for a work permit and does not result in the Board granting licensure. Completion of the licensure application process requires additional steps/requirements in contrast to the completion of the work permit application process.

Regarding additional requirements for the completion of the licensure application process, existing law also requires that an applicant passes both the sections of the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exam, have official education transcripts submitted directly from the school to the Board, and complete the Professional Ethics and Law course offered by the California Society for Respiratory Care or the American Association for Respiratory Care in order to receive licensure. As of April 7, 2020, the Board has identified the present closures of the examination sites as a barrier to the completion of the licensure application process. Once exam sites reopen, an applicant for licensure would need to complete those requirements in order to complete the licensure application process. The applicant will have one year from the date the application was filed to complete these other requirements for licensure.

Currently, the Board has at least two staff members present everyday from 8am-5pm to accept mail. Public walk-ins are not permitted at this time. Staff are responding to telephone calls daily as well. We are encouraging people to contact the Board by e-mail if that is an option for them. Emails received at rcbinfo@dca.ca.gov are reviewed hourly and directed to appropriate staff for a quick response.

At this time all persons eligible for a work permit have been issued one and there is no backlog. If an applicant completes all the steps bulleted above, with no deficiencies or criminal history, he/she can expect to have a work permit in his/her possession, generally within 3-10 days. This is our busiest time of year, but our licensing staff are committed to keep the process moving swiftly.

Supervision

Currently students practicing as part of their clinical education program and new graduates practicing with a valid work permit are required to be under direct supervision of a licensed respiratory therapist (RCP). It is incumbent upon the student, new graduate, clinical director, program director and employer or facility, to ensure students and new graduates are performing only those tasks commensurate with the education, training and competencies in which each student or new graduate possesses just as they would during clinical education or as a new graduate. Under existing law, Business and Professions Code sections 3739 and 3742, respiratory care practitioner applicants and student respiratory care practitioners may not perform respiratory care services unless under direct supervision, which means a supervising licensed respiratory care practitioner is on duty and “immediately available in the assigned patient care area.” Current practice interprets this immediate requirement to mean that the supervisor must be next to the students or new graduates practicing.

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not take any disciplinary action against an individual who fails to meet the “direct supervision” requirement so long as the supervisor is within no more than 1000 feet away from the student or new graduates who are engaged in the practice.


Please be sure to check the website regularly as changes may occur from day to day as the COVID-19 situation or other factors unfold.

I Am Licensed in a State Outside California. Does California Allow Licensing Reciprocity During the State of Emergency? (Posted 4/1/20)

If you are a licensed healthcare provider in a state other than California, please visit the Emergency Medical Services Authority (https://emsa.ca.gov/covid19/) for information to be able to practice in California. Please visit the "Authorization of Out-Of-State Medical Personnel" section on this website.

The Respiratory Care Board of California reminds all licensees to be particularly mindful and respectful that this is a time of high anxiety for all Californians.


We encourage any other inquiries to be sent through email to rcbinfo@dca.ca.gov. Please provide a telephone number where staff may reach you as well. We make every attempt to respond to inquiries within 24 hours.