How You Can Become a Respiratory Therapist in Canada

By Logan Bright Modified on September 18, 2020

Respiration therapy is part of the critical care pathway for patients with COVID-19.

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Respiration therapy is part of the critical care pathway for patients with COVID-19.

So you're considering your future career — and the education you'll need to obtain it — and you can't help but see the daily headlines about COVID-19. Healthcare workers are in high demand and it looks like that trend will continue. Hospitals and clinics are hiring registered nurses, sure, but with the coronavirus, a new type of hero has emerged: the respiratory therapist.

Respiratory therapists are specialized healthcare providers who focus on cardiopulmonary care — that is, breathing. In Canada, respiratory therapists are licensed professionals who aid patients with airway management, oxygen therapy, and ventilation.

As world COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it's clear that more healthcare specialists in respiration will be needed, in Canada and abroad. To start your dynamic career as a respiratory therapist, check out these programs from Canadian schools.

College diploma programs

Advanced diplomas typically take three years of full-time study to complete, and focus heavily on hands-on, practical instruction.

Conestoga College | Respiratory Therapy

Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, offers an advanced diploma designed to meet the requirements for Registered Respiratory Therapists, and is nationally recognized by Accreditation Canada. The program is a diverse mix of lab sessions, online learning, classroom instruction, and clinical exposure to give you the training you need to become a respiratory therapist.

Conestoga works with partner sites across southern Ontario to offer you Work-Integrated Learning opportunities — on-site placements in community and critical care environments that put you up close and personal with the patients you'll be treating as a respiration therapist.

Check out the respiratory therapy program at Conestoga College.

Algonquin College | Respiratory Therapy

Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada's capital city, offers an advanced diploma that includes over 1,200 hours of clinical placements, in various settings from general wards to neonatal intensive care units. This means you'll get the hands-on experience you'll need to practice respiration therapy.

Algonquin's respiratory therapy program gives you access to cutting edge equipment and knowledgable instructors, and teaches you to work as part of a team to deliver the best possible care to patients. On graduation, you'll be ready to write your accreditation exam to work as a Registered Respiratory Therapist.

Learn more about the respiratory therapy program at Algonquin College.

University bachelor degree programs

Honours bachelor's degrees usually take four years of full-time study to complete, and teach the full scope of theory and practice so you'll develop the skills you'll need as a respiratory therapist.

University of Winnipeg | Pre-Respiratory Therapy

If you want to shore up your skills before starting your bachelor's degree in Respiratory Therapy, this program is for you. You'll do your first year of studies at the University of Winnipeg, learning the basics of the field. Then you'll be ready to apply for admission to the Respiratory Therapy program at the University of Manitoba!

Get started with the pre-respiratory therapy program at the University of Winnipeg.

University of Manitoba | Respiratory Therapy

You can earn your BRP — Bachelor of Respiratory Therapy — degree in just three years of full-time study at the University of Manitoba. If you want to work as part of a dynamic healthcare team, making a difference in the lives of people with breathing problems, look no further! Plus, UManitoba has a special relationship with the University of Winnipeg, meaning you can do a foundation year before applying if you need it.

The University of Manitoba boasts one of the only entry-to-practice respiratory therapy programs in Canada. It's part of the university's Department of Respiratory Therapy, which is filled with state-of-the-art facilities for clinical practice. You'll work with real patients, and by graduation, be ready to work as a respiratory therapist.

Check out the respiratory therapy program at the University of Manitoba.

Dalhousie University | Respiratory Therapy

Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia offers a four-year Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc), including a focus on respiratory therapy. You'll study at the Faculty of Health in Halifax, working with highly-skilled healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat patients suffering heart and lung afflictions.

At Dal, you'll also take part in an eight-week summer clinical practicum, where you'll put your knowledge to the test in a real hospital setting!

Learn more about the Dalhousie University's respiratory therapy program.

Thompson Rivers University | Health Sciences Dual Credit in Respiratory Therapy

Thompson Rivers University, in British Columbia on Canada's west coast, offers a unique respiratory therapy program that gives you both a diploma and a degree in just four years. That means you'll earn a diploma in Respiratory Therapy as well as a Bachelor of Health Sciences.

You'll start off with basic health and science programming for your first year. In second year, you'll begin specializing in respiratory therapy, earning your diploma and your degree at the same time. Talk about expanding your career options!

Check out the respiratory therapy dual degree from Thompson Rivers University.


We hope this sampling of respiratory therapy programs across the country has been helpful! With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing into fall and winter, more students are becoming interested in respiratory therapy. These schools, and others in Canada, are equipped and ready to support you and your dreams of caring for others in a difficult time.

Good luck with your studies!


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