May 25, 2024  
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog

Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant

Location(s): In Person (Main Campus)

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Our Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant program provides comprehensive training for those who seek to support individuals with disabilities and functional impairments. As medical advancements break down accessibility barriers, the demand for skilled therapy assistants grows. 

In this program, you will:

  • learn under the guidance of experienced occupational therapists and physiotherapists 
  • acquire essential competencies that exceed the national standards for occupational therapy and physiotherapy assistants 
  • learn core rehabilitation and healthcare delivery concepts and skills 
  • participate in observational clinical visits to witness the practical application of therapeutic skills 
  • study advanced rehabilitation concepts, common health conditions, and therapeutic methods 
  • develop a deep understanding of complex health conditions and advanced therapeutic techniques 
  • complete three practicum rotations to apply and refine your skills in real-world settings.

We’ll equip you with the theoretical knowledge to perform the role of an occupational therapist and ensure you have the practical skills to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those requiring rehabilitation therapy.

As a graduate, you will be prepared to manage therapeutic supplies and equipment effectively within healthcare facilities and help your clients improve their quality of life.

Traits, skills and aptitudes

Those in rehabilitation therapy tend to be methodical, social and objective.

You need:

  • empathy 
  • patience 
  • the ability to work well under stress, maintain professional behaviour and regulate your emotions
  • flexibility 
  • effective communication skills 
  • interpersonal skills 
  • organizational skills and attention to detail 
  • physical strength and stamina, including the ability to use your hands, wrists and arms for prolonged periods
  • manual dexterity 
  • the ability to encourage patient confidence and participation 
  • the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

You may need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for long periods, which includes exposure to latex and disinfection materials. You must be comfortable performing patient care procedures in very close proximity to your clients. 

Some positions will require extended work hours and shift work, including nights and weekends.

You are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for occupational therapy assistants and physiotherapy assistants to ensure you can successfully meet the occupational requirements for the program and profession.

Practicum, co-op and work integrated learning opportunities

You’ll complete required practicum rotations in a clinical facility where you will work under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist or occupational therapist.

You will be assigned practicum placements with consideration given to your preference of location. However, due to limited availability in Calgary, it might be necessary for you to travel or relocate outside the city. Special considerations will not be accommodated.

In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, you will be required to provide specific documentation before you can participate in your practicum. Find out what requirements you need for this program. 

International students must also complete their Immigration Medical Exam (IME) and obtain a co-op work permit to attend this practicum. For more information, please contact the International Centre

Accreditations, designations or certifications

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).

Graduates will earn their Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA) and Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) designations. 


After successfully completing this program, you’ll be awarded a SAIT Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma.

Program length

2 years

Accepts international applicants - PGWP-eligible

This program accepts international applicants and meets the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program, as long as the student is registered in on-campus classes or completes more than 50% of the courses on campus (for blended options). 

International students attending all classes online will NOT be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. International students are responsible for maintaining their eligibility throughout their studies. 

Not eligible for CAJG

This program is not eligible for the Canada Alberta Job Grant

Related careers

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Potential careers (NOC):

  • Occupational therapists (31203)
  • Physiotherapists (31202)
  • Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment (32109)

Admission requirements - Applicants educated in Canada

Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents with an overall average of at least 60%:

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

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.

Admission requirements - Applicants educated outside of Canada

All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find accepted educational documents and assessment options

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.

Program outline

The Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma requires 60 credits (22 courses) to complete.

The program spans two years, with three semesters in year one, and two semesters in year two.

Suggested field of study


You must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better each semester and pass the prerequisite courses to progress through the program.

To qualify for graduation, you must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure > 

Books and supplies

Books and supplies are approximately $2,500 per full-time year.

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

A portable personal computing device is required. An Apple or Android laptop or tablet is preferred. Phones are not suitable.

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore’s website. Booklists are created by semester and available approximately two weeks before classes begin.

Required personal protective equipment (PPE)

The industry-approved PPE you’ll need will be discussed during your first few days of classes. 

Additional fees

  • A fee is associated with obtaining a police information check, including a vulnerable sector check, payable to the police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • You must have your immunizations reviewed by the SAIT Health Clinic. There is a $75 charge to review vaccine history. Any vaccines you need to be administered will result in additional charges.
  • A fee of approximately $50 to $100 is associated with an electronic student permit checking submission required for clinical practicum placements, payable to Synergy Gateway through the Verified software platform.
  • CPRS 001 BLS Provider (Level C) CPR annual updates are required. All CPR courses must be from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
  • A fee is associated with the CompTracker application used in this program.
  • You are responsible for additional expenses related to your practicum, including pre-practicum requirements and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary.

Health and Public Safety program advising

For any questions or to set up an advising appointment, please contact our School of Health and Public Safety.

Phone: 403.284.8481

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 to support best practices 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 professionally, legally, and ethically 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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