Feb 23, 2024  
PUBLISHED 2023-2024 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2023-2024 Credit Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant

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Program Description

Due to medical advances, a growing number of children and adults with disabilities can lead fulfilling lives. People who experienced an injury or a health condition that impacted their ability to function in day-to-day life can maximize their physical, mental, and social abilities through rehabilitation. Under the supervision of an occupational therapist (OT) or physiotherapist, therapist assistants work with clients with the goal of facilitating their active participation in our society. Therapist assistants also support facility administration by managing therapeutic supplies and maintaining equipment.

You can train to be a rehabilitation therapy assistant at SAIT and gain knowledge in occupational and physical therapy to become a skilled assistant, with a curriculum that meets and exceeds the essential competencies required for support personnel for both OT and physiotherapist professions.

This program addresses key concepts of rehabilitation and healthcare delivery. You’ll have the opportunity to go on observational visits to clinical settings to help you integrate your knowledge of normal physical and psychological function with basic therapeutic skills, and study advanced rehabilitation concepts, common health conditions, and therapeutic skills used in occupational therapy and physical therapy. You’ll also develop advanced therapeutic skills and learn about complex health conditions. This program includes two practicum rotations during which you’ll apply and further refine your classroom and laboratory learning.

Program Overview

Fast Facts

  • Practica experiences are unpaid, and at least one placement will occur outside of the Calgary region
  • Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practicum, including pre-practicum requirements as outlined by the program, and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary
  • Students require a personal computer with Internet access in order to complete the required courses
  • While a desktop computer will facilitate participation in some activities, a laptop or tablet is required to support the CompTracker software that is used throughout this program

All courses must be completed within the program completion timeframe. Please be advised that for the purpose of student loans, full-time student status requires that learners are enrolled in a minimum of 60% of a full course load per semester.

Your Career

Graduates find work in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centres, mental health facilities, long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools and private physiotherapy and occupational therapy services in both urban and rural settings.

Student Success

Job expectations for success in this profession include:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Effective communication (speaking, reading, writing, and listening)
  • Able to work independently
  • Able to work with others
  • Adaptable
  • Able to work well under stress
  • Able to use technology
  • Able to maintain professional behaviour; emotional self-regulation
  • Able to wear Personal Protective Equipment for extended periods of time
  • Able to work extended hours, including nights and/or weekends, and shift work
  • Able to tolerate the sight of human blood and tissue
  • Able to assist in transporting, lifting, and positioning of patients and/or equipment
  • Able to meet the physical demands of the job
    • Spend most hours working on your feet, walking, repetitive bending, repetitive tasks
    • Able to use hand, wrist, and arm for prolonged periods of time
  • Able to tolerate latex, disinfection chemicals
  • Comfortable performing patient care procedures which may be sensitive or performed in close proximity

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for Occupational Therapy Assistants as well as the governing body’s competency profile 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 Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma, including both the occupational therapist assistant (OTA) and physical therapist assistant (PTA) discipline designations.


This program is accredited by the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program (OTA & PTA EAP) in collaboration with Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada (PEAC) and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). For more information please contact the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program at www.otapta.ca.


The progression requirement for students taking credit courses is a Term GPA and Total Institutional GPA of 2.0, with the exception of English Language Foundations and Academic Upgrading programs.

Admission Requirements

Completion of the following courses or equivalents with an overall average of at least 60%:

  • English Language Arts 30-1, AND,
  • Biology 30, AND,
  • Chemistry 20 or Science 20.

All applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

Program Outline

Total Credits 60

Program Outcomes

  1. Communicate effectively using a variety of written, verbal, and nonverbal methods with clients, colleagues, and others
  2. Demonstrate the ability to prioritize and follow through with assigned tasks
  3. Use technology appropriately in order to support best practice in the rehabilitation field
  4. Work respectfully and effectively with clients, their supports, and other team members to enable clients to reach their goals
  5. Practice under the supervision of a licensed Physiotherapist and/or Occupational Therapist in an independent manner
  6. Practice in a professional, legal, and ethical manner in accordance with provincial and employer standards, policies, and procedures
  7. Implement, safely and competently, assigned therapeutic interventions within the scope of therapist assistant practice
  8. Use critical thinking skills and an evidence-based approach in all aspects of rehabilitation therapy in order to optimize client centered care
  9. Assume responsibility for lifelong learning to support rehabilitation practice
  10. Act as an effective team member within a collaborative therapeutic setting

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