CRCE® Application Overview

CRCE Policy Manual (updated January 2022)

Download the AARC CRCE Policy Manual.

CRCE® Application — An overview of features

This web-based application system allows the submission of educational programs for evaluation by the AARC for CRCE® accreditation. Key functionality includes:

  • Programs are approved for a fixed period of time following the initial offering date of the program (a program begins on June 1, 2017 would expire on June 1, 2018).
  • Non-traditional programs and traditional programs may be accredited for one year only.
  • Educational content categories must be designated. Individual sessions in traditional programs must be individually assigned while one content area must be assigned for nontraditional courses.
  • Enhanced communication between course sponsors and the AARC regarding the status of application status. This includes email notification of application receipt, review status, and accreditation.
  • Clearly defined application sections that contain explanations of required information. Sections can be reviewed and modified any time prior to final submission.
  • Session contact hours for traditional programs are calculated automatically according to the session beginning and ending times and time allowed for breaks.
  • Speaker and program planner information it is stored and available for future use in other programs.
  • A basic marketing flyer that is populated with information provided in the application is provided.
  • Provides direct uploading of commonly used file types from computers.
  • Repeat programs can be added at the time the application is completed or any time during the time for which the program is accredited.

Purpose and Foundational Principles of the AARC CRCE Program

The Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE®) system is committed to assuring that programs meet requirements for continuing education established by State Boards of Respiratory Care. In doing so, this system assures that each accredited program:

  • Is planned based upon educational needs identified for respiratory therapists.
  • Specifies learning outcomes by providing written behavioral objectives.
  • Is planned and conducted by qualified individuals.
  • Provides content and instructional methods based on the specified learning outcomes.
  • Includes methods to evaluate a participant’s attainment of the specified learning outcomes.
  • Is assigned a number of CRCE contact hours that accurately reflects time required to master the content.

The sponsors (providers) of CRCE accredited programs must comply with AARC CRCE policies by furnishing accurate information to potential participants about course content, faculty, number of contact hours awarded, and the requirements for successful course completion. They must provide a certificate of completion to each participant who successfully completes the course, accurately report their contact hours earned to the AARC, and maintain records of their attendance.

Continuing Education Defined

The purpose of the AARC’s Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE) is to accredit continuing educational programs for respiratory therapists. The criteria for accrediting programs are established by the AARC and reflect the continuing education requirements of the Respiratory Care State Boards throughout the United States of America.

“Continuing Education” is defined as the variety of learning experiences meant to enhance the knowledge of the respiratory therapist enabling them to provide safe, and effective respiratory care to patients. Continuing education may also be used to define learning experiences related to the education and management of respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy services, health promotion and disease management, patient safety, health care cost containment, healthcare law and ethics and emergency preparedness educational activities are planned, organized, efforts, either provider-directed or learner-directed and aimed at accomplishing educational objectives.

One CRCE contact hour is defined as 60 minutes of learning activity. In calculating learning time, time to complete testing and course evaluation is allowed. Examinations are required only for learner directed (Non-traditional) programs. The AARC makes the final determination of the number of contact hours awarded.

Traditional and Non-traditional Education Defined

Types of Activities/Programs
Traditional (Provider-Directed)

A traditional or provider directed educational activity requires the learner and provider to interact in real time. This interaction can happen remotely but must occur during the allotted time for the activity. The provider determines pace of the program and schedules the activity. One of the following criteria must be met for the activity to be considered traditional.

  • The activity can be a live, in-person educational session. Examples include stand-alone lectures or those that are part of a live convention, symposium, seminar, workshop, etc.
  • The activity can be a real-time, virtual activity with direct access to the speaker either during or immediately following the activity. Direct access to the speaker must take place on or through the same platform used to deliver the activity. Examples include virtual webinars, webcasts, videoconferences, audio conferences etc.
  • The activity can be a prerecorded, virtual activity with direct access to the speaker either during or immediately following the conclusion of the activity. Direct access to the speaker must take place on or through the same platform used to deliver the activity.


Q1. Does an on-demand, pre-recorded educational activity with access to the speaker through a one-on-one phone call or email qualify for traditional continuing education?
A1: No. Direct access to the speaker must take place either during or immediately following the activity. Direct access to the speaker must take place on or through the same platform used to deliver the activity and accessible by all program participants. For example, if the pre-recorded session is played on Zoom, the live Q&A must also take place through Zoom (or routed to another platform via Zoom).

Q2. I have a library of courses which can be accessed on-demand at any time. Speakers have agreed to be contacted by phone or email for a Q&A session. Does this qualify for traditional continuing education?
A2: No. Traditional courses must be live. On-demand courses do not qualify as a live event. It is impossible for an on-demand activity to include a live Q&A, which must take place either during or immediately following the activity on or through the same platform used to present the educational activity.

  • Contact hour designation: Contact hour credit awarded is based on the time allocated for the exchange of information between the presenter and the learner.
  • Content designation: In traditional courses, each session may have a specific content designation.
  • Approval period: These courses are approved for one year. They may be repeated any time during their accreditation period by providing the required information and fees either at the time of initial application or after the course has been approved. These repeat programs will be instantly accredited upon application.
  • Partial credit: Only traditional programs may allow partial credit to participants if requested by the course sponsor. This means that CRCE® contact hours can be awarded for attending specific sessions within the entire program. It is incumbent upon the course sponsor to report only the sessions actually attended by each participant.
Non-traditional (Learner-Directed)

A non-traditional learning activity (learner-directed, independent study) is one that is conducted by the learner at his or her own pace. The instructor does not interact with the learner in real time. The formats for non-traditional activities include, but are not limited to studies of web-based courses, archived webinars, podcasts, videotapes, audiotapes, monographs or the content of journals listed in Index Medicus.

  • Contact hour designation: The number of contact hours awarded is determined by the AARC and is based on the estimated average time required to complete the learning materials, tests, and evaluations.
  • Content designation: In contrast to traditional courses, only one content designation may be assigned to a Non-traditional course.
  • Post-tests: Satisfactory completion of a post-test is required to meet the requirements of all learner-directed courses.
  • Approval period: These courses are approved for one year or two years.  Requests for the second year must be made immediately following approval.  This is not a means of renewing an accredited program that will expire soon.
  • Partial credit: No partial credit is allowed for Non-traditional courses.  Learners must complete all content and pass all post-tests to earn credit.
Acceptable Continuing Education Topics
  • All areas addressed in the content matrix of the credentialing examinations of the National Board for Respiratory Care:
    • Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT®)
    • Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist (CRT-NPS® or RRT-NPS®)
    • Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT®)
    • Sleep Disorders Testing and Therapeutic Intervention Respiratory Care Specialist (CRT-SDS® or RRT-SDS®)
    • Adult Critical Care Specialist (RRT-ACCS®)
    • Therapist Multiple Choice Examination and Clinical Simulation Examination for the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT®) and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT®) credentials
    • Asthma Educator Specialist (AE-C®)
  • All areas addressed in the content matrix of the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists’ (BRPT) RPSGT® examination.
  • Emerging technology and its application in the delivery of respiratory care
  • Courses and/or programs may be accredited if the content of the course or program is not directly related to clinical practice but relates to the following:
    • Education, supervision, and management
    • Health care cost containment or cost management
    • Preventative health services and health promotion
    • Medical ethics and legal aspects of health care
    • Patient safety/infection control
    • Bioterrorism and emergency preparedness

Through special arrangement, CRCE contact hours may be awarded for participation in the peer-review process of journals listed in Index Medicus. To be able to provide CRCE to their reviewers, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal must have their review process and the amount of CRCE awarded approved by the AARC’s CRCE accreditation system.

CRCE Accreditation Fees and Payment Information

A non-refundable fee is assessed for reviewing applications and maintaining records of programs. Fees may be paid with a credit card or check. The fee schedule is below:

Type of Program Not-For Profit For Profit
Traditional (Provider Directed)
First program date application fee $90 $175
Subsequent program (repeat) dates $25 $25
Late fee (applications received less than 31 days prior to the course delivery date) $45 $45
Non-traditional (Learner-Directed)
1 year accreditation application fee $90 $175
Late Fee (applications received less than 31 days prior to the course delivery date) $45 $45

Payment, which must be submitted with the application, may be paid by check, money order, or Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards. If paying by check or money order, payment must be sent to the AARC office. Payment may be sent prior to application with a note of explanation. Applications will not be processed until payment is received.

If paying by check or money order, after your application/repeat date(s) have been submitted, please print and send the AARC invoice received via email or in your MyAARC account with your payment. Failure to send this invoice with your check may delay the processing of your application. Fees paid for application review are not refundable: A fee of $125.00 will be assessed for a check returned from the bank for any reason.

Make checks payable to the AARC. Send payments to:

9425 N. MacArthur Blvd, Ste 100
Irving, TX 75063

AARC State Society CRCE Application Information

Only provider-directed programs (Traditional programs) sponsored by AARC State Societies are exempt from application fees. Fees for Non-traditional program applications are not waived. A late fee will be charged if the application is submitted within 31 days of the program date. Exempt programs include those in which the State Society assumes complete fiscal responsibility and access is available to all AARC members in the state. The AARC will make the final determination regarding waiving the fee.

Application Process

Before starting — what you need to

  • Designate a key contact person to be responsible for submitting the application and interacting with the AARC
  • Identify the purpose/goal of the activity
  • Determine your method of payment

Obtain the following minimum information about planning committee member(s):

  • Name
  • Postal and email address
  • Their employer (if applicable)
  • Employment position
  • A description their expertise/experience in planning and ensuring the quality of continuing education activities
  • Any conflict of interest disclosures that relate to the program being planned.

For author(s) or presenter(s), you will need to provide:

  • Name
  • Postal and email address
  • Their employer and employment position (if applicable),
  • A description their expertise/experience related to the subject matter
  • And any conflict of interest disclosures that relate to the information being presented

Review the AARC CRCE Policy Manual.

Submit an application for CRCE approval.

Tips for completing the application

  • You may go back and modify any of the information until you submit the application.
  • Once you have submitted, you will be unable to edit your application.

Step-by-step instructions for completing your application

What happens after the application is submitted?

  • You will receive an email that acknowledges receipt of your application.
  • Your application will be assigned to a reviewer by the CRCE administrator.
  • During the review process you will be notified by email of any additional information that is needed.
  • After the review is completed you will be notified by email that your course has been either approved or disapproved. If approved, a course number is assigned.

Professional Credential Requirements for Presenting Clinical Topics

The person who delivers the content in the course or program is called the presenter in a traditional activity or the author in a non-traditional activity. The presenter/author is identified as a content expert and, as such, must be able to deliver the content in the context of respiratory care, in a language that is understood by respiratory therapists, and without commercial influence. The provider of the activity is responsible for ensuring the qualifications of the presenter/author for the activity. Qualified presenters/authors are those who are credentialed and/or hold a professional license that defines the scope of practice encompassing the topic being presented. Persons without a valid credential or license are not qualified for CRCE® approval. Exceptions are made for those persons for whom exceptional expertise can be provided and aligned with the program objectives.

Clarification: This policy allows appropriately licensed or credentialed employees of industry to present educational topics approved for CRCE but excludes presenters who do not hold an appropriate license or credential. This policy also allows approved CRCE topics to be presented by licensed professionals who are not respiratory therapists when their scope of practice includes the topic being presented.

Content Designation Explanations

Based upon the session content, only one of the following content designations shall be assigned to each instructional session in traditional programs. Only one content area can be assigned to a non-traditional course, regardless of the number of modules. Content designations requested on the application are subject to AARC reviewer approval.

Content Area Source Comment
Adult Acute Care (AAC) NBRC Contains content appropriate for the NBRC’s ACCS continuing competency programs.
Bioterrorism and Emergency Preparedness (BEP) AARC/CRCE® Includes issues related to planning for medical emergency situations and mass casualties.
Clinical Practice (CLP) AARC/CRCE® All areas of clinical practice addressed by NBRC and AE-C examination content areas and emerging respiratory therapy technology.
Education (EDU) AARC/CRCE® Program development, instruction, and evaluation. Includes respiratory disease management and health promotion.
Ethics (ETH) AARC/CRCE® Medical ethics and legal aspects of healthcare.
Management (MGT) AARC/CRCE® Management and supervision of personnel and operations including cost containment.
Neonatal-Pediatric (NPS) NBRC Contains content appropriate for the NBRC’s NPS continuing competency programs.
Patient Safety (PTS) AARC/CRCE® Patient safety including medication errors, errors related to the delivery of care, AIDS/HIV and infection control, and cultural competency.
Pulmonary Function (PFT) NBRC Contains content appropriate for the NBRC’s pulmonary function technology continuing competency program.
Sleep Medicine (SDS) NBRC Contains content appropriate for the NBRC’s SDS continuing competency program and RPGST credential.

Reporting Attendance

A roster template will be provided to you upon approval of the application. Please email your completed course roster to after the event has concluded.

Obtaining a Receipt or Invoice for CRCE Applications

Your receipt will be emailed to you when you submit your payment for the CRCE application. You can also find your receipts in your MyAARC account invoices page.

Browser Requirements

The CRCE Program Accreditation System has been tested with the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 7+ — Not compatible with our application site.
  • Firefox 3.0+
  • Safari 4.0+
  • Google Chrome — Recommended
  • Opera 10.0+

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