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Respiratory Therapy

Closed for Fall 2020

Open for Fall 2020 Saskatchewan applicants only

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.

Interprovincial Health Training Agreements

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

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Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $4,099
Year 2: $4,099
Year 3: $4,722
Year 1 (International): $12,889
Year 2 (International): $12,889
Year 3 (International): $15,225

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

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


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 2020 are accepted from Oct. 2, 2019, to March 31, 2020.
  • Applications will be accepted until May 1, 2020 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.
Term Program start
Fall 2020 Sept. 8, 2020 

Check us out

Respiratory Therapy students participate in a comprehensive three-year diploma program featuring two years of classroom, lab study and clinical simulation followed by one year of clinical education in an acute and community care facility.

Program Details

Program description

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 Polytechnic 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 of study at SAIT with some clinical practica. The third year is a 12-month clinical placement at an affiliated health care facility which will include weekday and weekend shifts. 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 CompTracker. Students are required to have an iPad or iPad mini to support the CompTracker system while at practicum sites.

Learn more about the Respiratory Therapy profession at careercruising.com. Log-in with username: SAIT, and password: Polytechnic

This program is under review and could undergo changes.

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, 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 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.

Credentials and Accreditation

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

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.

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
  • College of the North Atlantic
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland (The Marine Institute)
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University of New Brunswick, Saint John
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) 

To learn more, visit Transfer Options.

Admission Requirements

Admission and Selection

  • Fall 2020 start: applications for fall 2020 are accepted from Oct. 2, 2019, to March 31, 2020.
  • Applications will be accepted until May 1, 2020 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

Admission Requirements for fall 2020

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 (contact: 403.262.2656). 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 Alka Manmohan at AlkaM@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 

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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 program will forward a selection package by email to those that meet the minimum admission requirements.

In the selection process, applicants will be expected to write the Health Occupation Aptitude Exam (HOAE) within 3 weeks of being placed in selection. Not completing this step within the timeline will result in you being declined from the program.

Applicants can write this exam at the SAIT Testing Services Centre - email testing@sait.ca to make an appointment. There is a $60 fee to write this exam at SAIT.

Applicants can also arrange to write the HOAE at another educational testing centre approved by the program. Testing arrangements and any additional costs will be the responsibility of the prospective student.

Applicants will be ranked based on their HOAE score:

  • Applicants that meet and exceed the threshold HOAE score set by the program will be offered a seat in the program until the program is full.
  • Once the program is full, applicants will be waitlisted based on their HOAE 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 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 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 must be valid for the duration of your practicum. SAIT offers the above CPR course on a continuous basis (CPRS 001 BLS Provider (Level C) CPR). Please note that only the 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. The receiving practicum site has the right to refuse students who cannot prove they have met all the required immunizations.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • View additional Respiratory Therapy program information including course-specific descriptions and requisites.

First Year

Semester 1 - Fall

Course CodeCourse NameCredit
HLTH-201 Respiratory Therapy Healthcare Core 3.0
RESP-212 Respiratory Therapy Anatomy and Physiology 3.0
RESP-214 Patient Assessment 1 3.0
RESP-216 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Practice 1 3.0
RESP-218 Respiratory Therapy 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 Respiratory Therapy 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 Respiratory Therapy 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 Respiratory Therapy 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 Respiratory Therapy Practicum 1 6.0
RESP-340 Respiratory Therapy 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 Respiratory Therapy Practicum 2 6.0
RESP-350 Respiratory Therapy 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 Respiratory Therapy Practicum 3 6.0
RESP-370 Respiratory Therapy Clinical Theory 3 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.


2019/20 Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $3,114 $462 $288 $235 $4,099
2 $3,114 $462 $288 $235 $4,099
3 $3,114 $462 $288 $235 $4,099

2019/20 International Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2019/20 total
1 $11,679 $462 $288 $460 $12,889
2 $11,679 $462 $288 $460 $12,889
3 $14,015 $462 $288 $460 $12,889

2020/21 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

*as approved by SAIT's Board of Governors


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.

International Students 

  • Health and Dental Plan: $460
  • For more information on Health and Dental Benefits for International students please contact the International Centre.

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 are required to purchase lab supply kits from NR 105 in Semester 1 prior to attending their labs.
  • 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.
  • 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.


School of Health and Public Safety

Inspiring Stories

Kaelin was most surprised by the amount of practicum experience she received during her program — a full year in a hospital environment. She's now employed in her field in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 

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

Kaelin Miske
Respiratory Therapy | 2018

"The staff are terrific and the teachers make everything so personal," she says. "The group we had this year was just so unbelievable — we really are a little family."

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.”

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