Home Programs & Courses Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant

Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant

Waitlisted for Fall 2021

Closed for Fall 2021 (International)

Length: 2 years Credential: Diploma Delivery: Full Time Classroom

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This program will be delivered in a blended format for the Winter 2021 term. The majority of courses will take place online, with certain labs and hands-on learning scheduled on campus. Learn more


Medical advances permit a growing number of children and adults to live successfully with disabilities. Clients who have experienced an injury or a health condition that has 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 or physiotherapist, the therapist assistant works with clients across the lifespan with the goal of facilitating their active participation in our society. Therapist assistants also support facility administration by managing therapeutic supplies and maintaining equipment.

SAIT's Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma program trains students to become knowledgeable and skilled assistants in occupational and physical therapy, and the curriculum meets or exceeds the essential competencies required for support personnel in both professions.

The Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant program is two years in length and comprised of four semesters. The first semester of the program addresses key concepts of rehabilitation and healthcare delivery. Observational visits to the clinical settings assist learners in integrating knowledge of normal physical and psychological function with basic therapeutic skills. More advanced rehabilitation concepts, common health conditions, and therapeutic skills used in occupational therapy and physical therapy are taught in the second semester.

In the third semester of the program, advanced therapeutic skills and complex health conditions are taught. Professionalism and communication skills are also emphasized and practiced during a four-week practicum. In the fourth and final semester of the program, professional practices are integrated throughout a 12-week practicum. Students spend the final three weeks of the semester at SAIT, engaging in comprehensive practical examinations and consolidating their experiences.

Is this the right fit for me?

Students must be physically fit and able to lift a minimum weight of 50 pounds. Previous work or volunteer experience in a health- or wellness-related field is an asset. Students who experience success in this program:

  • have at least basic computer skills
  • possess effective communication skills in both written and spoken English
  • have higher secondary or post-secondary marks
  • are self-directed, highly motivated, detail-oriented and well-organized
  • are professional and flexible
  • enjoy working in a team environment and in diverse settings
  • above all, enjoy relating to others.


The Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant Program at SAIT has been 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). The status of Accreditation was granted to the program on April 30, 2016, for the period until April 30, 2022.

For more information please contact the Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant Education Accreditation Program, c/o Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada, Suite 26, 509 Commissioners Road West, London, Ontario, N6J 1Y5, 226.636.0632


After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma with both the occupational therapist assistant (OTA) and the physical therapist assistant (PTA) discipline designations.

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Career opportunities

Graduates can pursue job opportunities in rehabilitation centres, mental health facilities, long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools and private physiotherapy and occupational therapy centres. Potential positions include: 

  • physical and occupational therapy assistant 
  • rehabilitation therapy assistant

Related careers include: 

  • physical therapist 
  • occupational therapist

Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $4,131
Year 2: $3,602

Year 2 (International): $14,218

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

Full costs
Tuition and financial aid


When can you apply?

  • Applications for fall 2020 are accepted Oct. 2, 2019 to Jan. 31, 2020.

  • This program does not accept international students effective Fall 2020 intake. There are many program options for international applicants –  find out more.

Term Program start
Fall 2021 Sept. 7, 2021 

Admission Requirements

Admission and Selection

  • Fall 2021 start: applications are accepted Oct. 7, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.
  • This program does not accept international students effective Fall 2020 intake. There are many program options for international applicants –  find out more.

Admission Requirements

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

  • English Language Arts 30-1,
  • Biology 30,
  • Chemistry 20 or Science 20.
  • All applicants must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission. If you don't meet the requirements, consider Academic Upgrading.

SAIT evaluates international documents for admissions. After you've applied, consider our  international document assessment service if your education is from outside of Canada. 

Direct entry: Four-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: Apply to Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant and submit your transcripts and/or anticipated final grades

  • Admission will be extended on a first-qualified, first-offered basis until the program is full. 

Step 4: Find out how to monitor your application status after you apply

In the selection process, applicants will be assessed on the following criteria and seats will be offered accordingly.

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 are frequently required to relocate outside of Calgary 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 entrance requirements, 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 Basic Life Support Level (C) CPR
  • Updated immunization records
  • Security clearance - Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check
  • N95 respiratory mask fitting
  • Health and wellness status

Learn more


Program Outline

Looking for course descriptions and requisites? Visit the course catalogue

First Year

Semester 1 - Fall

Course Code Course Name Credit
ANPH-209*  Anatomy and Physiology  3.0
ORNT-208 Orientation to Rehabilitation  3.0
PROF-210  Introduction to Healthcare Delivery 1.5
PSYC-210  Lifespan Development 3.0
RHAB-230  Anatomy of Movement 3.0
RHAB-232  Fundamentals of Client Care 3.0
Semester 1 Total 16.5

Semester 2 - Winter

Course Code Course Name Credit
COMM-263 Practice Skills - Communication 3.0
RHAB-203 Applied Client Care 1.5
RHAB-240 Practice Skills - Modalities 3.0
RHAB-242 Practice Skills - Occupational Therapy Assistant Foundations 3.0
RHAB-244 Practice Skills - Exercise 3.0
RHAB-246 Health Conditions I 3.0
Semester 2 Total 16.5
First Year Total 33.0

Second Year

Semester 3 - Fall

Course Code Course Name Credit
PRCT-200 Practicum I 3.0
RHAB-260 Practice Skills - Mental Health Concepts 3.0
RHAB-262 Occupational Therapy Assistant Advanced Practice Skills 3.0
RHAB-264 Physical Therapy Assistant Advanced Practice Skills 3.0
RHAB-266 Communication Disorders 1.5
RHAB-268 Health Conditions II 3.0
Semester 3 Total 16.5
First Year Total 30.0

Semester 4 - Winter

Course Code Course Name Credit
PRCT-234  Practicum II 6.0
PROF-260  Professional Practice  3.0
RHAB-270  Practicum Consolidation 1.5
Semester 4 Total 10.5
Second Year Total 27.0
Program Total

 *Available by correspondence or online learning. The courses must be completed within the time frame shown in the program outline. Please contact the Academic Chair prior to enrolling in any online or correspondence courses. Please be advised that full-time student status requires students to take 60% 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.

Transfer Options

The opportunity to advance your education through transfer to, within or from SAIT is available with the following universities and colleges:

  • Athabasca University
  • NAIT
  • University of Calgary

To learn more, visit  Transfer Options.


Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2020/21 total
1 $2,910 $682 $288 $252 $4,131
2 $2,381 $682 $288 $252 $3,602

*Fees and tuition are based on a two-semester full course load structure. There may be additional fees for practicums and terms held outside this time frame.


Campus athletic and recreation Fee: $171.20
Universal transit pass (UPass): $310 - Check eligibility here.
Student support fee: $100
Student technology fee: $100

Health and Dental Fees

Domestic Students 

  • Health Plan: $122
  • Dental Plan: $130
  • For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the Saitsa website for information on opting out.

Books and supplies*

  • Books and supplies cost approximately $1,500.
  • Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practica (i.e. relocation costs if placed outside of Calgary, food, housing, transportation, etc.).
  • 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 must have their immunizations reviewed by the SAIT Health Clinic. There is a $75 charge to review vaccine history. Any vaccines to be administered will result in additional charges.
  • 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.

Find out about tuition and financial aid.

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

Next steps for incoming students

Have you been accepted to this program? Here's what you'll need for your first day of classes.

Important dates and deadlines

Find important dates applicable to all students, including your transcript and tuition payment deadlines on our Important Dates page.

Important Dates

✅ Plan ahead ❗️

You are required to complete several health, confidentiality and consent forms before starting your program. All completed and signed paperwork is needed on orientation day. 

Ensure you complete all three steps below ahead of orientation.

Get started on pre-orientation requirements

Fall 2020


Orientation for new students will take place online on Sept. 3, 2020.

To find the time and platform, visit our orientation page.

We are expecting to meet you at new student orientation. Important program information is discussed to ensure you are prepared to begin classes which start on day one. Orientation is a mandatory part of your learning experience to ensure student success.


This program will be delivered in a blended format for the Fall 2020 term due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health and safety guidelines. The majority of courses will take place online, with certain labs and hands-on learning scheduled on campus.  There will be a short on-site work integrated learning practicum during the Fall 2020 semester.

How to register for classes

You'll follow a fixed block registration process to enrol in your classes. Learn how to register on our registration and schedules page.

Computers and laptops

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

Required equipment/tools

You will be evaluated on your level of competency performance during practicum which is logged using a tracking system called CompTracker. You will require a wi-fi enabled tablet (Apple or Android) to support the CompTracker system. Any size tablet is acceptable. Keyboards are advisable but not mandatory. Smartphones are not acceptable devices for CompTracker. There is a required user license fee billed on a per semester basis. Each program will have a different student fee depending on how the system is used within the program. More information will be shared at orientation.

Required personal protective equipment (PPE)

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

Other requirements

  • CPRS 001 BLS Provider (Level C) CPR course (no later than Sept. 30)
  • N95 Mask-fit testing
  • Police Information Clearance with Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Immunization record (no later than Sept. 30)
  • Health and Wellness Status 

Preparation courses

To support your success, SAIT offers some short courses before classes start, including PREP 100: The SAIT Experience, ETHI 110: SAIT Ethical Practices and SAFE 165: Safety at SAIT. 

Required textbooks

The booklist will be available about two weeks before classes start.

Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck, no textbook purchase required this term.


Phone: 403.284.8481
Email: hps.info@sait.ca

Academic chair

Patricia Reader-Downey, Academic Chair
Email:  patricia.reader-downey@sait.ca

Have questions about this program?

Contact us at

School of Health and Public Safety

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