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Respiratory Therapy

Open for Fall 2021

Closed for Fall 2021 (International)

Length: 3 years Credential: Diploma Delivery: Classroom

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Interprovincial Health Programs - Info Session
Feb 9 @ 5:00pm MST | Online using Zoom
Upcoming Information Sessions

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


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.

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. 

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, home care, pulmonary function and blood gas labs.

The first and second year each consist of eight months of study at SAIT and include some clinical practica. The third-year starts in May and involves 11 months of clinical practicum at affiliated health care facilities and will include weekday, weekend, and night shifts.  Students may be required to relocate for practicum.

Students return to SAIT for one to two weeks per semester during the third year for on-campus learning activities. The program will strive to give students their site rotation preference for practica, however, as each health care facility 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.

Interprovincial Health Training Agreements

SAIT offers reserved seats in respiratory therapy for Saskatchewan students. Limited space available, applications prior to May 1.

Is this the right fit for me?

The program delivery is very intensive. To be successful students must be prepared to attend 30 hours per week of the classroom, lab and practicum 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 a 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.
  • students are strongly encouraged to refer to the National Competency Framework for the Profession of Respiratory Therapy to ensure that they are able to successfully demonstrate the skills required to achieve all the competency-based objectives and bona fide occupational requirements for the program and profession.

Students with higher secondary or post-secondary marks usually experience greater success in SAIT programs.


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 CARTA and pay the $425 membership fee and, if English is an additional language, provide proof of ELTPA of nine in all 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 $185 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 $900 national examination fee that will then allow them to challenge the national exam.

The Respiratory Therapy program delivered by SAIT is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Respiratory Therapy Education (CoARTE). The program also works closely with our Advisory Committee to ensure that our curriculum continues to exceed provincial and national accreditation standards.


After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Respiratory Therapy diploma.

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Career opportunities

Graduates can pursue respiratory therapy job opportunities in: 

  • acute care hospitals 
  • community and home care programs 
  • diagnostic laboratories 
  • educational institutions 
  • research facilities 
  • pharmaceutical companies 
  • medical sales and services  
  • private companies 

Related careers include: 

  • occupational health nurse 
  • diagnostic medical sonographer 
  • primary function technician 

Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $4,647 
Year 2: $4,647
Year 3: $5,332

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

Full costs
Tuition and financial aid


This is a competitive program. If applicants meet the admission requirements they will be assessed based on additional criteria. Applicants will be offered admission to this program if they’re qualified through the competitive process and space is available.

When can you apply?

  • Applications for fall 2021 are accepted from Oct. 7, 2020, to March 31, 2021.
  • 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 

SAIT student juggles multiple jobs on the COVID-19 front line

To say Annalise Woertman’s life has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic is an understatement.

Admission Requirements

Admission and Selection

  • Fall 2021 start: applications for fall 2021 are accepted from Oct. 7, 2020, to March 31, 2021.
  • Applications will be accepted until May 1, 2021 for Saskatchewan applicants only.
  • 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:

  • 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.

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. 

English Language Requirement

All applicants who have English as an additional language must achieve the following passing scores in the 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. The waitlist is approximately three weeks to access the ELTPA and assessment duration is approximately three hours.

In order to request and book your (ELTPA) appointment, please send the below information to clarc@immigrantservicescalgary.ca. The date and time of exam (current) section can be blank until you have been provided with an appointment booking.  

Required Information

  • Legal last name
  • Legal first name
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Immigration status
  • Previous assessment at ILVARC (yes or no)
  • Date and time of exam (current)

You cannot take the ELTPA exam without a referral form from the Respiratory Therapy program. Once you are given an appointment (day and time), please send it with the above information to Kathy Moore at kathy.moore@sait.ca and you will be provided with a referral form for your appointment. Please include your SAIT student ID number in this email.

Please note that the program does not accept International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) or Michener English Language Assessment (MELA) as equivalent to ELTPA.

Competitive Entry: Seven-Step Process

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

  • Students are strongly encouraged to refer to the National Competency Framework to ensure that they are able to successfully demonstrate the skills required to achieve all the competency-based objectives and bona fide occupational requirements for the program/profession.

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 

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

    • Applications and proof of the admission requirements (transcripts and/or anticipated final grades) along with all supporting documents must be submitted by March 31 to be included in selection. Applicants from Saskatchewan must submit their documents by May 1 to be included in selection. Selection is done on a continuous basis. 

    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 process.

    • Applicants will have one attempt to complete the selection process for this program. If you're not offered admission, you can re-apply for the next intake and you will be required to complete the selection process again.
    • Selection will start in October and will be done on a continuous basis.

    Selection Process

    • Applicants will be sent program selection information via email if they meet the admission requirements. This email will include information about writing your profession specific knowledge & aptitude exam, CASPer test, a career investigation form and program-specific consent forms.
    • The selection package must be completed and returned within one week of the initial email date. The date for the knowledge and aptitude exam must be booked within the first week as well.  
    • We recommend you add Kathy Moore and the sait.ca domain to your safe senders list or you risk missing critical email messages. It is not recommended to use a Microsoft email account such as @hotmail.com or @live.com as there have been some issues in the past in receiving SAIT communications using these types of account.
    • There are two phases in the selection process.

    Phase 1- Profession Knowledge and Aptitude Exam

    • In phase 1 of the selection process, applicants will be expected to write a profession specific knowledge and aptitude exam. This is an online exam with and has an administration fee. Access information for this exam will be provided to you in the initial email from the program regarding selection. You will be expected to complete this exam within two weeks of being placed in selection. Not completing this step within the timeline will result in you being declined from the program.
    • Scores from this exam are used to determine which individuals move to Phase 2 of the selection process. The program administrators try to mark this exam within one week of the submission date.
    • If scores are above the program benchmark score, applicants will move to phase 2. If the applicant’s score is 10 below or lower than the program benchmark, the applicant will be declined in selection.

    Phase 2 - CASPer

    • Applicants progressing to Phase 2 will be notified by email and will be required to complete the undergraduate Health Sciences CASPer test. The test can be accessed through their website- https://takecasper.com. Please complete this test within two weeks of receiving the phase 2 notification email. Applicants will be offered a seat in the program if their CASPer score is above the program benchmark. There is a $52 fee associated with the CASPer exam.
    • Please note that program benchmarks for both knowledge & aptitude test  as well as CASPer are determined annually and may vary from the previous years.  
    • 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 12 seats are reserved for Saskatchewan residents.
    • Once the program is full, applicants will be waitlisted based on the average of their knowledge and aptitude exam score.
    • Successful candidates must sign a practicum agreement contract prior to final acceptance.  This includes acknowledging you may be placed at any of our practicum sites to complete the practicum components in third year.

    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 sender's 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 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 Health Care Provider Level (C) CPR
    • Updated immunization records
    • Security clearance - Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check
    • N95 respiratory mask fitting
    • Health and wellness status
    • 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.

    Learn more


        Program Outline

        Looking for course descriptions and requisites? Visit the course catalogue

        First Year

        Semester 1 - Fall

        Course Code Course Name Credit
        HLTH-201 Respiratory Therapy Healthcare Core 3.0
        RESP-212 Respiratory Therapy Anatomy and Physiology 3.0
        RESP-214 Patient Assessment i 3.0
        RESP-216 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Practice I 3.0
        RESP-218 Respiratory Therapy Fundamentals 3.0
        Semester 1 Total 15.0

        Semester 2 - Winter

        Course Code Course Name Credit
        PATH-254 Pathophysiology I 3.0
        RESP-262 Patient Assessment II 3.0
        RESP-264 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Practice II 3.0
        RESP-266 Interventions I 6.0
        Semester 2 Total 15.0
        First Year Total 30.0

        Second Year

        Semester 3 - Fall

        Course Code Course Name Credit
        PATH-311 Pathophysiology II 3.0
        RESP-315 Patient Assessment III 3.0
        RESP-317 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Practice III 3.0
        RESP-319 Interventions II 6.0
        Semester 3 Total 15.0

        Semester 4 - Winter

        Course Code Course Name Credit
        PATH-312 Pathophysiology III 1.5
        RESP-314 Anesthesia 1.5
        RESP-327 PFT & Outpatient Care 3.0
        RESP-329 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Practice IV 3.0
        RESP-330 Interventions III 6.0
        Semester 4 Total 15.0
        Second Year Total 30.0

        Third Year

        Semester 5 - Spring/Summer (15 weeks)

        Course Code Course Name Credit
        PRCT-312 Respiratory Therapy Practicum I 6.0
        RESP-340 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Theory II 3.0
        RESP-342 Practicum Foundations II 3.0
        Semester 5 Total 12.0

        Semester 6 - Fall

        Course Code Course Name Credit
        PRCT-314 Respiratory Therapy Practicum II 6.0
        RESP-350 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Theory II 3.0
        RESP-352 Practicum Foundations II 3.0
        Semester 6 Total 12.0

        Semester 7 - Winter

        Course Code Course Name Credit
        PRCT-316 Respiratory Therapy Practicum III 6.0
        RESP-370 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Theory III 3.0
        RESP-372 Entry to Professional Practice 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% 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
        • Memorial University of Newfoundland (The Marine Institute)
        • Thompson Rivers University

        To learn more, visit  Transfer Options.


        Domestic Tuition and Fees*

        Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2020/21 total
        1 $3,425 $682 $288 $252 $4,647
        2 $3,425 $682 $288 $252 $4,647
        3 $3,425 $682 $288 $252 $5,332

        *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. 

        SAIT Fees

        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, supplies and uniform are approximately $2,500.
        • Students pay $75 Comp Tracker fee for the first two years of the program and $75 per semester in the third year.
        • Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practica (i.e. relocation costs if placed outside of Calgary, food, housing, transportation, etc.)
        • 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.
        • 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 $50 charge to review vaccine history. Any vaccines to be administered will result in additional charges.

        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

        The clinical practicum experience includes rotations through adult intensive care, neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care, home care, surgical suite, and wards. You will be evaluated on your competency performance during practicum using a tracking system called CompTracker. You will require a wi-fi enabled Apple tablet with the ability to run the most up to date operating system to support the CompTracker system. 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)

        You will need your uniform for orientation day, the first day of classes, so order your uniform early. You are expected to wear scrubs for your simulated labs, including the Centre for Advanced Patient Care Simulation and clinical experience.

        Respiratory Therapy Uniforms

        These scrubs can be purchased at:

        Universal Workwear
        Bay 11, 2135-32nd Ave NE
        Calgary, AB T2E 6Z3
        Tel: 403.717.3780
        Toll-free: 1.866.442.7303

        Students outside of Calgary
        If students live outside of the Calgary area, they two options to consider regarding the purchase of their uniform in order to have it for orientation and the first day of classes.
        • Wait until you move to Calgary to order your uniform in person so that you have an opportunity to try the tops on before your name is embroidered and SAIT crest is added. If you choose this option, please be sure to allow yourself a minimum of 2-3 days for Universal Workwear to have it ready for pick-up as you are required to wear your uniform to Orientation.
        • Find a local scrub provider who carries the MOBB brand of scrubs, and try them on for fit. Then call-in your order to Universal Workwear at 1.866.442.7303 (toll-free) so that they may have your uniform ready for you once you arrive in Calgary. If you use this option, then please take some time to review the photo of your uniform to know what to look for. The following styles for tops are the only accepted styles:
          • Ladies: T3030 or 308T
          • Mens: T4010 or 301T

        Part of your uniform is a stethoscope, which is also available at Universal Workwear.  Stethoscopes need to be brought to all patient assessment labs and simulation labs.

        Students are also required to purchase Lab Supply Kits in semester one prior to attending their labs. Purchase these at the bookstore (who processes the payment) and then bring your receipt to room NR105 in the Senator Burns building where you will be given the lab kit once proof of purchase is confirmed.

        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

        Meena Kumar, Academic Chair
        Email:  meena.kumar@sait.ca

        Have questions about this program?

        Contact us at

        School of Health and Public Safety

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