Image of three female respiratory therapy students looking at an iPad

Respiratory Therapy Essential Requirements

Traits needed to work in the field of respiratory therapy.

Responsibility, Accountability, Knowledge, Skill, and Safety

For the TCC Respiratory Therapy program. 

The profession of respiratory therapy is a highly respected one. The reasons for this are many, but a great deal of it has to do with the fact that patients put their lives in our hands. Patients place their trust in health care providers and we, in turn, must be worthy of that trust.

In order to become a member of a trustworthy allied health profession, there are several essential requirements. These have to do with responsibility, accountability, knowledge, skill and safety. The respiratory program has the responsibility to the public to assure that its students and graduates are competent in all of these areas and at the appropriate level.

The program adheres to the definition, requirements, and procedures for licensing as defined in the state statutes (WAC 246-928-410 and WAC 246-928-510). The faculty models professionalism and requires that students be accountable and assumes a measure of responsibility to adhere to the standards of practice.


The profession of respiratory therapy requires the acquisition of respiratory science knowledge and technical skills. Respiratory faculty, students, as well as graduates are held to these laws. The educational process to achieve the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Respiratory Therapy requires assimilation of this knowledge, as well as the development of critical thinking, judgment and appropriate decision-making. State licensure requires for reporting of unprofessional conduct.”

(WAC 246-928-710)

Required Documentation 

To complete the required clinical rotations, students need to provide the following additional documentation prior to starting respiratory care classes. This information will be covered in the mandatory orientation for accepted students.

Physical, Intellectual, and Social Requirements

Students and graduates must be able to function as safe practitioners. Patient safety is a major concern for establishing requirements for capabilities of students. In order to safely function in the role of a student and/or respiratory therapist, one must exhibit:

  • physical, cognitive and behavioral abilities that are required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the Respiratory Therapy Program.
  • Collection, evaluation and synthesis of data are vital to this discipline.
  • In addition, there are professional attributes that are required by the profession. All of these are every bit as important as the knowledge and skill.

The therapeutic modalities provided by respiratory care practitioners require technical skills involving manual dexterity and a mechanical aptitude to perform in a safe and acceptable manner. Respiratory therapists must be mobile and have the ability to operate in relatively small spaces.

These requirements are necessary because of the critical and accurate care that is often provided in crisis situations. To make sure these requirements can be met, the Respiratory Care Program at Tacoma Community College has come up with the following technical standards:


The Respiratory Care program at Tacoma Community College will make every effort to provide the physically compromised student the opportunities to learn and develop into a safe, rational respiratory care practitioner. It is incumbent upon the student to realize that certain manual, technical, and professional tasks must be mastered in order to achieve passing grades and to successfully complete the respiratory therapy curriculum.