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TCC’s Respiratory Therapy program earns national recognition

Tidewater Community College’s Respiratory Therapy program is a recipient of the 2021 Registered Respiratory Therapy Distinguished Credentialing Success Award.

TCC’s program is one of eight in the nation to receive this distinction from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) for eight consecutive years.

TCC offers one of eight respiratory therapy programs in the state. Five are associate degree and three are bachelor’s degree programs.

TCC Respiratory Therapy graduate Daniel Velazquez.

“The COVID-19 pandemic certainly highlighted the importance of our graduates,” said Denise Bieszczad, program head for respiratory therapy at the college. “We provide critical training for front line health care workers and have continuously had the highest pass rates on national examinations of any school in Virginia, even those programs offering bachelor’s degrees.”

She attributes the program’s success to several factors, including the Regional Health Professions Center on the Virginia Beach Campus. The state-of-the-art facility offers a high-fidelity simulation laboratory that allows faculty to provide students with the most authentic educational experience.

Respiratory Therapy lab and simulators on the Virginia Beach Campus.

The college also partners with all major area health care providers to offer clinical rotations for students.

“Because of this exposure, our students get to observe respiratory care practitioners developing health care plans and evaluating therapies using critical thinking,” Bieszczad said. “They see firsthand the real-world benefits of working as a team to solve life-threatening clinical problems every day.”

Program Head Denise Bieszczad arranged to donate TCC ventilators to Sentara hospitals during the height of the pandemic.

Award winners must have three or more years of outcomes data; hold accreditation without a progress report; document registered respiratory therapy credentialing success of 90 percent or above; and meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for certified respiratory therapist credentialing success, attrition and job placement.

For more information about the college’s Respiratory Therapy program, contact Bieszczad at 757-822-7412 or