Respiratory Care Practitioner



The Air Force Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) course educates and trains students to meet competencies established by the National Board for Respiratory Care and the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. The course prepares students to become registered respiratory therapists and assume entry-level positions as respiratory care practitioners in the active and reserve forces. The course introduces students to the duties and responsibilities of the AF RCP: fundamentals of respiratory patient care and clinical medicine; neonatology and pediatric care; cardiovascular and respiratory anatomy and physiology; chemistry; pharmacology; microbiology; physiologic measurements; and cardiopulmonary disease processes. Additionally, the course educates and trains students in the principles of electrocardiography, cardiac arrhythmia interpretation, pulmonary function test measurement and interpretation, nitric oxide delivery, airway management, mechanical ventilation, and home healthcare delivery systems. Phase I is academic (didactic) classroom training at the Medical Education and Training Campus. Phase II is clinical training in one of six sites where students under instructor and preceptor supervision provide care for patients with an array of cardiopulmonary diseases.
 US Air Force
AFSC: Respiratory Care Practitioner
Course Length: 690 hours
Iterations per year: 5 - 6

 US Army

 US Navy

School Code 083

Want more information?


Search Instructions


Respiratory care practitioners are allied healthcare professionals who use various equipment, drugs and therapies to assist physicians in the diagnoses and treatment of diseases and illnesses related to the heart and lungs. 

The Respiratory Care Practitioner Apprentice course is an introduction to the delivery of respiratory care and cardiovascular technology. This course is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions as RCP and cardiovascular technicians. 

Students are trained to provide care for patients with cardiopulmonary diseases. The instructional design of this course’s courses is group-lock step. 

This is a single military service course that has a two-phase schedule. Phase I in-resident training is conducted at METC.  Phase II transitions the student to clinical training and is conducted at military and/or civilian medical treatment facilities (MTF). 

Upon initial entry to METC, students are provided formal education and training that develops them into entry-level respiratory care practitioners within fixed and deployable medical facilities. Students will learn the respiratory care practitioner’s mission and scope of practice, respiratory therapy procedures and cardiopulmonary disease processes. 

Students are introduced to duties and responsibilities of the RCP and will be instructed in, but not limited to: fundamentals of respiratory patient care, clinical medicine, neonatology and pediatric care, cardiovascular and respiratory anatomy and physiology, chemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, physiologic measurements, cardiopulmonary disease processes, principles of EKG/ECG and arrhythmia interpretations, PFT measurements and interpretations, mixed gas therapy, mechanical ventilation and home health care delivery systems. 

Methods of instruction include, but are not limited to: lecture, demonstration, online materials, simulations, laboratory practice, and practical exercises. Quality control and safety techniques are emphasized throughout the course. 

Clinical training provides students with clinical knowledge and hands-on experiential training which consists of clinical practicum in a MTF or civilian medical facility. The training provides the opportunity for the student to assist the cardiologist and pulmonary physician in examinations, evaluation, diagnosing, and management of cardiovascular and pulmonary dysfunction by performing a broad spectrum of diagnostic procedures and respiratory therapy such as administration of electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, Holter monitoring, cardiovascular stress tests, pulmonary function studies, flow/volume loops, airway resistance, and blood gas analysis. Students will also assist in the performance of bronchoscopy max 02 studies, management of mechanical ventilator patients, respiratory therapy, airway management, and operation and maintenance of diagnostic equipment.

Accreditation Information:

The Respiratory Care Practitioner course (METC Branch Campus – Air Force, Course #: 200543), ASHS degree, JBSA Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) ( Graduates from this course receive college credits from the College of Allied Health Sciences.

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
264 Precision Boulevard
Telford, Tennessee 37690
Telephone: 817-283-2835

Special Information:
The RCP course requires 15 credit hours of general education. Applicants must be evaluated by the Uniformed Services University’s College of Allied Health Sciences prior to scheduling. See the Education and Training Course Announcements (ETCA) for specific details:

Students are awarded 45 credit hours and conferred an Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Care degree from the College of Allied Health Sciences upon successful completion of the course.

Credentialing Information:

Graduates of the Respiratory Care Practitioner course are required to take and pass the National Board for Respiratory Care Therapist Multiple Choice Examination (TMC) and the Clinical Simulation Exam (CSE) which awards the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential ( Graduates are also eligible to take the Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) exam through Cardiovascular Credentialing International (

METC Information

(210) 808-6382
Contact Page