Apr 16, 2024  
PUBLISHED 2021-2022 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2021-2022 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. 

This comprehensive program features classroom study, lab and clinical simulation, and practicum rotations in acute and community care facilities. Students will complete practicum rotations in areas such as adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, the emergency department, anesthesia, wards, home care, pulmonary function and blood gas labs.  

As trained Respiratory Therapists, our instructors are well equipped to offer the latest insights into new technology and best practices in the field, including through SAIT’s Centre for Advanced Patient Care Simulation - a simulation education facility that uses high fidelity human patient simulators that physiologically respond to medical treatment.

Fast Facts

  • This program should be completed full-time
  • Program Length:
    • Full-Time (7 Semesters)
  • This program is delivered in a classroom format
  • Full-Time Intakes:
    • Fall
  • Practicums will include shifts during weekdays, weekends, and evening or overnight hours
  • Based on the availability of the practicum sites, students may have to travel or re-locate to anywhere in Alberta (and in some circumstances outside of Alberta) in order to complete their practica
  • The program will strive to assign practicum rotations according to students’ regional preferences, however, placement at preferred sites is not guaranteed
  • During the program’s third year practicum rotations, students will be required to return to SAIT for 1-2 weeks per semester for on-campus learning activities
  • Students 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, however, students have the option to opt out of role-playing as the patient. Students may still be required to perform these skills on their classmates
  • Students require a personal computer with Internet in order to complete the required courses

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 careercruising.com. The login is: SAIT and the password is: Polytechnic.

Student Success

Students who experience success in this program and profession:

  • Have higher secondary and/or post-secondary grades, and may have previously completed a post-secondary program
  • Are dedicated to spending approximately 60 hours per week completing classroom, laboratory, practicum, and independent study activities
  • Possess a strong command of the English language, with communication and interpersonal skills to match
  • Are compassionate and value caring for others
  • Have good organizational and problem-solving capacities, with the ability to adapt quickly in crisis situations
  • Work effectively both independently and as part of a team
  • Are professional, flexible, and enjoy working in diverse settings
  • Enjoy working in a high-energy, challenging environment, and are able to manage unpleasant and/or stressful situations
  • Are physically fit, including the ability to:
    • Stand for extended periods of time and spend the majority of their working hours on their feet
    • Work in difficult physical positions
    • Climb several flights of stairs quickly
    • Apply strong hand and finger dexterity and stamina, including good hand-eye coordination
    • Help lift immobile patients

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for Respiratory Therapy, as well as the National Competency Framework for the profession, to ensure that they are able to successfully demonstrate the skills required to achieve all the competency-based objectives for the program and profession.


Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will be awarded 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 the College and Association of Respiratory Therapists of Alberta (CARTA) and pay the membership fee. If English is an additional language, they must also provide proof of meeting a benchmark score of nine in all of the Enhanced Language Training Placement Assessment’s 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 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 national examination fee, which will then allow them to challenge the national exam.


The Respiratory Therapy program delivered by SAIT is accredited by Accreditation Canada. 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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