Richard Petersen graduated from Creighton University Medical College of arts and Science in 1961 and the College of Medicine in 1965. After serving in the United States Air Force, he completed residency training in Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Colorado in 1972. He has practiced radiology in the USAF, Oregon, Nebraska and Arizona. He was ordained a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Phoenix in 1997 and serves St Timothy Catholic Church in Mesa Az. He was awarded a Certification in Health Care Ethics form the National Catholic Bioethics Center in 2006. He has been married to Janice since 1965 and has three children and 3 grandchildren.