Dec 07, 2021  
PUBLISHED 2020-2021 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2020-2021 Credit Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Respiratory Therapy

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Program Description

Respiratory Therapy is a diverse and specialized profession that assists physicians in diagnosing, treating, and managing patients by providing such services as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, ventilator management, oxygen and aerosol therapy, patient assessment and evaluation, and diagnostic services including pulmonary function testing and blood analysis. Since 1970, SAIT has been providing students with the right combination of leading-edge theory and hands-on practice needed to succeed. 

At SAIT, respiratory therapy students participate in a comprehensive three-year diploma program featuring two years of classroom, lab study, clinical simulation and practica, followed by one year of clinical education in an acute and community care facility. Students complete practicum rotations such as adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, the emergency department, anesthesia, wards, home care, pulmonary function and blood gas labs. The first and second year each consist of eight months of study at SAIT and include some clinical practica. The third year starts in May and involves 11 months of clinical practicum at affiliated health care facilities and will include weekday, weekend, and night shifts.  Students may be required to relocate for practicum. Students return to SAIT for 1 to 2 weeks per semester during third year for on-campus learning activities. The program will strive to give students their site rotation preference for practica, however, as each health care facility has limited seats available, placement at preferred sites is not guaranteed. Students may have to relocate to complete their clinical year at their own expense.

SAIT instructors, as respiratory therapy professionals, are equipped to offer the latest insights into new technology and best practices in the field including SAIT’s Centre for Advanced Patient Care Simulation - a simulation education facility that uses high fidelity human patient simulators which physiologically respond to medical treatment.

Program Overview

Your Career

Graduates find employment as respiratory therapists in acute care hospitals, community and home care programs, diagnostic laboratories, educational institutions, research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, medical sales and services, and private companies. Future career opportunities may also exist in research, education, administration, and management. Learn more about the respiratory therapy profession at The login is: SAIT and the password is: Polytechnic.

  • Graduates of the Respiratory Therapy program have a 100% employment rate.

Student Success

  • Students with higher secondary or post-secondary marks usually experience greater success in SAIT programs.
  • The program delivery is very intensive. To be successful students must be prepared to attend 30 hours per week of classroom, lab and practicum activities and spend approximately 30 hours per week outside of class studying.
  • During the Respiratory Therapy program, you will participate in learning a number of skills that are usually practiced on other students. All skills are performed in a safe setting and supervised. Typically, students take turns acting as patient and the Respiratory Therapist when practicing these exercises. The students have the option to opt out of role-playing as the patient, however, the student may still be required to perform the skill on a classmate.
  • Students who experience success in this program have the following characteristics:
    • Strong command of the English language.
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills are paramount given the vast amount of patient interaction required on the job.
    • Compassion and an interest in caring for others.
    • Good organizational and problem-solving skills with an ability to think and act in crisis situations.
    • Ability to work effectively, independently and as a member of a team.
    • Professional, flexible, and enjoy working in diverse settings.
    • Value helping others and working in a high-energy and challenging environment.
    • Ability to spend the majority of their working hours on their feet and may be required to help lift immobile patients.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to refer to the National Competency Framework for the Profession of Respiratory Therapy to ensure that they are able to successfully demonstrate the skills required to achieve all the competency-based objectives and bona fide occupational requirements for the program and profession.

Credentials and Accreditation

After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Respiratory Therapy diploma.

Graduates from the SAIT program must successfully challenge the Canadian Board of Respiratory Care (CBRC) examination to earn the right to practice Respiratory Therapy in Canada. Any graduate wishing to work in Alberta must be a member of CARTA and pay the $425 membership fee and, if English is an additional language, provide proof of ELTPA of nine in all categories. 

Graduates wishing to work outside of Alberta need to be registered with that province’s provincial regulatory body for respiratory therapy.  All graduates may become members of the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) by paying the $185 membership fee, and this is a requirement in an unregulated province.

After graduates become members of a professional organization, they may register with the CBRC by paying the $900 national examination fee that will then allow them to challenge the national exam.

The Respiratory Therapy program delivered by SAIT is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Respiratory Therapy Education (CoARTE). The accrediting body is transitioning to Accreditation Canada and SAIT will apply for accreditation with this body at the time applications are accepted.The program also works closely with our Advisory Committee to ensure that our curriculum continues to exceed provincial and national accreditation standards.


Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Admission Requirements

Completion of the following courses or equivalents:

  • At least 70% in Math 30-1 or Pure Math 30, or at least 75% in Math 30-2,
  • At least 70% in English Language Arts 30-1,
  • At least 70% in Chemistry 30,
  • At least 70% in Biology 30.
  • All applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

English Language Requirement

All applicants who have English as an additional language must achieve the following passing scores in Enhanced Language Training Placement Assessment (ELTPA) before a seat can be offered in the program:

  • Speaking Benchmark level 9
  • Listening Benchmark level 9
  • Reading Benchmark level 9
  • Writing Benchmark level 9

The language assessment can be completed through the Immigrant Language Vocational Assessment Referral Centre (contact: 403.262.2656). The waitlist is approximately three weeks to access the ELTPA and assessment duration is approximately three hours.

In order to take the ELTPA test, you will need a referral form from the Respiratory Therapy (RT) program. Please email the administrative assistant with this required information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Current immigration status and number associated with your status
  • SAIT student ID number

Please note that the program does not accept International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) or Michener English Language Assessment (MELA) as equivalent to the ELTPA.

Program Outline

Total Credits 96

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