What can we help you find?

5 Recently Viewed Pages

SAIT Small Logo

Respiratory Therapy

Open for Fall 2017

Length: 3 Years
Credential: Diploma
Available: Full Time Classroom

Program Highlights

Through this comprehensive program that uses theory and hands-on instruction, prepare for a career in hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units assisting in diagnosing and managing cardio-pulmonary disorders. Respiratory therapists do important work performing CPR, managing ventilators and providing oxygen therapy.


Grad Employment Rate


Median Starting Salary

Upcoming Information Sessions

Tuition and Fees Per Year*

Year 1: $4,057
Year 2: $4,057
Year 3: $4,680
Year 1 (International): $11,842
Year 2 (International): $11,842
Year 3 (International): $14,022

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change


You will be offered admission to this program if you meet the admission requirements and qualify through competitive entry. Competitive entry is based on a three-step process: academic ranking, additional education or certification, and a career and program investigation report.

When can you apply?

Fall 2017 start: applications are accepted Oct. 19, 2016 to April 30, 2017.

Program Details

Program description

Watch a video about Respiratory Therapy studies at SAIT PolytechnicRespiratory 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, homecare pulmonary function and blood gas labs. The first two years each consist of eight months study at SAIT with some clinical practica. The third year is a 12-month clinical placement at an affiliated health care facility.

The program will strive to give students their location preference for practica, but as each hospital 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.

Online elements require that students have a personal computer and access to the Internet. The Respiratory Therapy clinical practicum experience includes rotations through adult intensive care, neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care, home care, surgical suite and wards. Students will be evaluated on competency and performance in all rotations using a competency tracking system called Comp Tracker. 

Students are required to have an iPad or iPad mini to support the Comp Tracker system while at practicum sites. To learn more about the respiratory therapy profession visit the Government of Alberta website to obtain an Occupational Profile.

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.

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 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 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 as these 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
    • The 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, challenging environment
    • The ability to spend the majority of their working hours on their feet and may be required to help lift immobile patients.

Transfer Options

Once completed, this SAIT credential may be eligible for transfer credit at another post-secondary institution. Visit Transfer Options to learn more about the transfer agreements currently available to SAIT graduates and incoming students.

Have questions? Write to us at transfer.options@sait.ca.

Admission Requirements

Admission and selection

  • Fall 2017 start: applications are accepted Oct. 19, 2016 to April 30, 2017.

Admission Requirements

Completion of the following courses or equivalents:

  • At least 60% in Math 30-1 or Pure Math 30, or at least 70% in Math 30-2, AND,
  • At least 60% in English Language Arts 30-1, AND,
  • At least 60% in Chemistry 30, AND,
  • At least 60% 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 for the RT program with the 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 Canadian Language Benchmarks.

Competitive Entry: Seven Step Process

Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.

Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the admission requirements listed above.

Step 3: Review the selection information to understand the process and deadlines 

  • Applications and proof of the admission requirements (transcripts and/or anticipated final grades) must be submitted prior to April 30 to be included in selection.
  • The first round of selection will start Dec. 1 and will continue on a monthly basis. 
  • Applicants who apply after the program has been filled will be required to complete the selection process and be placed on a waitlist. 
  • There will be a minimum of 48 seats offered for the fall intake. An additional eight seats are reserved for Saskatchewan residents.
  • The School of Health and Public Safety will forward a selection package by email to those that meet the minimum admission requirements.

In the selection process, applicants will be ranked according to the composite score of the following selection criteria:

  • Admission requirements course average: 77%
  • Additional education or certifications: 19%
    - The number of years of post-secondary education, and completion of a diploma or degree.
  • Career aptitude (Career and Program Investigation): 4%

Applicants will be ranked monthly according to the criteria outlined above. 

  • Applicants with a composite score of 100 or above will be offered a seat in the program until the program is full.
  • If the program is not full on April 1, the remaining applicants who ranked at less than 100 will be considered for positions in the program based on highest composite score.
  • All other qualified applicants will be placed on a waitlist and contacted if a seat becomes available.
  • Successful candidates must sign a practicum agreement contract prior to final acceptance.

Step 4: Apply to Respiratory Therapy and submit your transcripts.

Step 5: Log in to mySAIT.ca to check your admission status. If eligible, your status will indicate that you're "In Selection."

Step 6: Complete the Selection package that is emailed to you.

Step 7: Continue to monitor changes to your application status through mySAIT.ca.

Failure to meet anticipated final grades will result in offers being rescinded.

Communication During Selection

Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add hps.info@sait.ca and the sait.ca domain to your safe senders list or you risk missing critical email messages. 

Practicum Requirements

The School of Health and Public Safety has many practica partners located within Alberta and across Canada. Practicum placements in Calgary are limited and students may be required to relocate outside of Calgary for practicum.

All students are required to return to SAIT campus for one week in each semester of the third year of the program, regardless of where they are placed for practicum.

Successful candidates will be informed of the allocation of their practicum placement by the program. There is no guarantee that students will be placed at their desired practicum location. Special considerations of personal circumstances will not be given in regards to assigning practicum placements. Students will be responsible for fees associated with practicum such as relocation and travel costs.

In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, successful candidates will be requested to provide proof of the following requirements:

  • Current Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR must be valid for the duration of your practicum. SAIT offers the above CPR course on a continuous basis (CPRS 212 - Health Care Provider). Please note that only Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada CPR certification will be accepted.
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Program offered by the Canadian Pediatric Society must be successfully completed and proof submitted to the program administration assistant before progressing to semester 5. The certification must be valid for the entire practicum year.
  • Updated Immunization Records: Most practicum sites require students to demonstrate updated immunization status prior to attending practicum. Successful candidates will be asked to provide an up-to-date immunization record to the SAIT Health Clinic as part of the program orientation. Failure to do so could jeopardize a student's ability to complete the practicum portion of his/her program. The receiving practicum site has the right to refuse students who cannot prove they have met all the required immunizations. Please review the immunization process document for specific details. It is advised to start the immunization process early as it can take some time to complete.
  • Security Clearance: According to the Protection for Persons in Care Act, our practica sites require that students obtain a Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check, prior to going on practicum. Any criminal code offence for which a pardon has not been received may be a deterrent to a student's entry into practicum, and therefore will result in an uncompleted program or non-graduating status. Successful candidates will be asked to provide a clear Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check record to the School of Health and Public Safety main office by orientation day. Please review the security clearance process document for specific details. Be aware that record must be dated no earlier than 90 days prior to your program orientation day (typically orientation day is held the week prior to the first day of class).
  • N95 Respiratory Mask: Fit testing is done to determine which make and model of N95 respiratory mask should be used by an individual. In compliance with Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Code 2009, students are fit-tested for respiratory masks prior to their practica. Occupational Health and Safety Bulletin, Respiratory Protective Equipment: An Employer's Guide states the effectiveness of the respiratory protective equipment depends on an effective face piece seal to the skin of the face. The mask must be tight enough so that the person is breathing only air which has been filtered. The seal is dependent on facial differences (shape or size) or facial hair. Facial hair must be removed where the mask contacts the face for the test. Failure to adequately fit an N95 mask may result in a restricted practicum and\or limited employment. Additionally, a student may need to be tested again in two years or if there are changes to the face which impact the ability of the respirator to form an effective seal (e.g. Weight gain/loss, growth of facial hair, dental surgery, or facial scarring). 
  • Health and Wellness Status: Due to the demanding nature of the work in the health care field and Occupational Health and Safety requirements, the health care field has a strong focus on health and wellness. Students with a medical condition or disability that may impact them in a practicum setting are strongly advised to discuss concerns with the program academic chair and/or SAIT Accessibility Services as soon as possible upon acceptance into the program. Please review the attached document for guidance on entering an allied health program with a medical condition or disability.

More details on the practica requirements per program are outlined on a pre-orientation website for successful candidates.


Program outline

  • To find the course description for a course shown below please go to our Course Finder.
  • This program is being reviewed and could undergo changes.
  • SAIT students are offered an opportunity to develop lifelong learning skills in an online environment. Some core courses in the Respiratory Therapy program are offered fully or partially online.

First year

Semester 1 - Fall

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
HLTH-201 RT Healthcare Core 3.0
RESP-212 RT Anatomy and Physiology 3.0
RESP-214 Patient Assessment 1 3.0
RESP-216 RT Clinical Practice 1 3.0
RESP-218 RT Fundamentals 3.0
Semester 1 Total 15.0


Semester 2 - Winter

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
PATH-254 Pathophysiology 1 3.0
RESP-262 Patient Assessment 2 3.0
RESP-264 RT Clinical Practice 2 3.0
RESP-266 Interventions 1 6.0
Semester 2 Total 15.0
First Year Total 30.0


Second year

Semester 3 - Fall

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
PATH-311 Pathophysiology 2 3.0
RESP-315 Patient Assessment 3 3.0
RESP-317 RT Clinical Practice 3 3.0
RESP-319 Interventions 2 6.0
Semester 3 Total 15.0


Semester 4 - Winter

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
PATH-312 Pathophysiology 3 1.5
RESP-314 Anesthesia 1.5
RESP-327 PFT & Outpatient Care 3.0
RESP-329 RT Clinical Practice 4 3.0
RESP-330 Interventions 3 6.0
Semester 4 Total 15.0
Second Year Total 30.0

Third Year

Semester 5 - Spring/Summer (15 weeks)

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
PRCT-312 RT Practicum 1 6.0
RESP-340 RT Clinical Theory 1 3.0
RESP-342 Practicum Foundations 1 3.0
Semester 5 Total 12.0


Semester 6 - Fall

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
PRCT-314 RT Practicum 2 6.0
RESP-350 RT Clinical Theory 2 3.0
RESP-352 Practicum Foundations 2 3.0
Semester 6 Total 12.0


Semester 7 - Winter

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
PRCT-316 RT Practicum 3 6.0
RESP-370 RT Clinical Theory 3 3.0
RESP-372 Practicum Capstone 3.0
Semester 7 Total 12.0
Third Year Total 36.0
Program Total

* The courses must be completed within the time frame shown in the program outline.

Please be advised that full-time student status requires students to take 60 per cent of a full course load per semester. Depending on the number of courses completed by correspondence, a student may be considered a part-time student, which may impact his/her financial loan status.


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.


Domestic tuition and fees*

YearTuition feesSAIT feesSAITSA fees2016/17 total
1 $3,114 $420 $523 $4,057
2 $3,114 $420 $523 $4,057
3 $3,737 $420 $523 $4,680

International tuition and fees*

YearTuition feesSAIT feesSAITSA fees2016/17 total
1 $10,899 $420 $523 $11,842
2 $10,899 $420 $523 $11,842
3 $13,079 $420 $523 $14,022

SAIT fees

Campus athletic and recreation fee: $160
Universal Transit Pass (UPass): $260

SAIT Students' Association fees

Health Plan: $110**
Dental Plan: $125**
SAIT Students' Association (SAITSA): $288

Books and supplies*

  • College and Association of Respiratory Therapists of Alberta (CARTA) annual dues are approximately $425.
  • Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) annual dues are approximately $100 for students and $180 for regular members.
  • Canadian Board of Respiratory Care (CBRC) exam fee is approximately $900.
  • Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practica including relocation costs to practicum sites outside Calgary.
  • There is a fee associated with obtaining a police information check including Vulnerable Sector Check and is payable to the Police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP.)
  • Students pay $75 Comp Tracker fee for the first two years of the program and $75 per semester in the third year.
  • Books, supplies and uniform are approximately $2,500.
  • Students must have a personal computer and access to the Internet. Most classes are taught at SAIT, but some require online access. All courses require additional self‐study.
  • Students require an Apple personal digital assistant (iPad or iPad Mini) to support the Comp Tracker system.

Find out about tuition and financial aid.

* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
** For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the SAITSA website for information on opting out.

Contact Information

School of Health and Public Safety

Inspiring Stories

Calling it a “demanding program” with “fantastic instructors,” Meaghan says she felt equipped for her practicum that ended with a job offer.

Meagan Dobler
Respiratory Therapy | 2016

“We know going into it what the job entails; it prepares you,” she says. “A lot of us got jobs at the practicum site.”