Respiratory Therapy Program

Technical Standards

RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Occupational Codes - Bureau of Labor

DOT # 076-361-014
GOE #10. 02.02

Physical Work (Level 3) Medium:

"Exerting 20-50 lbs. force occasionally and/or 10-25 lbs. force frequently, and/or greater than negligible up to 10 lbs. force constantly to move objects. Physical demand requirements are in excess of those for light work."

Reasoning Development (Level 3)

DOT Classification of Frequency of Tasks:

Frequently performed: Activity or condition exists from 1/3 to 2/3 of the time

  1. Reaching
  2. Handling
  3. Fingering
  4. Near Acuity
  5. Talking
  6. Hearing

Often performed: Activity or condition exists up to 1/3 of the time

  1. Stooping
  2. Feeling
  3. Visual Accommodation
  4. Color Vision
  5. Near Acuity


In order to perform the tasks required of a respiratory care practitioner (RCP), certain physical, reasoning and communication capabilities are required. Students must demonstrate the ability to perform required functions as a routine part of either classroom, laboratory or clinical education. Students should be aware that successful completion of the Respiratory Therapy Program will depend upon the ability to meet the following technical standards.

Examples of technical skills include:

  1. A reasonable amount of strength and mobility are required in order to:
    1. Lift, move or push heavy equipment, specifically ventilators, therapy equipment, stretchers and/or wheelchairs with patients in them
    2. Assist in lifting or repositioning patients who may be paralyzed, comatose or otherwise incapacitated, from patient beds and stretchers or wheelchairs
    3. Provide physical assistance and care for patients in a timely manner in all circumstances
    4. Reach overhead in order to manipulate ventilator arms, monitoring equipment, etc.
  2. Manual dexterity, good motor skills and eye-hand coordination are necessary in order to:
    1. Manipulate locks on equipment
    2. Don surgical gloves
    3. Fill syringes
    4. Set up equipment
    5. Perform routine therapies, i.e. SVN, auctioning, manual ventilation
    6. Document monitoring values
  3. Sensory function in at least one upper limb is necessary in order to palpate blood vessels for blood sampling.
  4. The ability to hear faint or muffled sounds is necessary in order to:
    1. Assess breath sounds
    2. Respond to patient needs since ventilator alarms may be muffled due to ICU noise
    3. Monitor equipment operation or dysfunction which may be indicated by low-sounding bells or buzzers
    4. Function when the use of surgical masks are required for protection of the patient or hospital personnel
    5. Respond to pages and emergency calls from the hospital public address system
  5. Visual acuity (the ability to see fine lines) to:
    1. Read patient monitor values and ventilator values in dimly lit surroundings
    2. Read waveform graphic monitors
  6. The ability to communicate orally and in writing in the English language is a requirement for RCPs in order to:
    1. Ascertain and record patient histories
    2. Monitor and document patient progress
    3. Provide clear and audible directions to patients face-to-face
    4. Provide accurate information when discussing patient management with physicians and other support staff
  7. Possess acceptable mental/attitudinal standards in order to:
    1. Function safely, effectively and calmly under stressful situations
    2. Maintain composure while managing multiple tasks simultaneously
    3. Prioritize multiple tasks
    4. Exhibit social skills necessary to interact effectively with patients, families, supervisors and coworkers of the same or different cultures such as respect, politeness, tact, collaboration, teamwork, discretion
    5. Display attitudes/actions consistent with the ethical standards of the profession

These standards are capabilities associated with the successful practice of cardio-respiratory care. Under no circumstances are they considered conditions for admission to the Respiratory Therapy Program.

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Last Updated: 11/12/19