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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University
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Respiratory Therapy Diploma

Help fill the urgent need for cardiopulmonary care by becoming a registered respiratory therapist.

Priority Health Program Student Recruitment and Retention Grant

The value of the non-refundable grant is set at $2,000 per program year per eligible participant. Only program years (not prerequisite years) are eligible.

The total maximum value of this grant per student over the duration of their program is $4,000 (fast-track) or $6,000

Learn more about this bursary

Begin an exciting, high-demand career in health care with a Respiratory Therapy (RT) diploma.

With four program options to choose from, you can complete your RT diploma in two to three years or choose to advance your education with dual credentials in respiratory therapy and a Bachelor of Health Science or a Master of Education.

Learn the latest in respiratory care theory and gain the active, hands-on laboratory learning required to succeed as a respiratory therapist, the only allied health profession with curriculum and clinical practice in critical and community care.

Why pursue Respiratory Therapy at TRU?

  • TRU is a national leader in respiratory therapy education and the only university in BC to offer a diploma in Respiratory Therapy (RT).
  • TRU’s RT diploma is accredited by Accreditation Canada, which is the national accrediting body.
  • The fast-track option allows Bachelor of Science graduates to enter the second year of the RT diploma, leaving only two years to graduation.
  • The dual credential option means students will complete an RT diploma and Bachelor of Health Science degree in just four years.
  • Students in the fast-track stream can complete their RT diploma and Master of Education (MEd) simultaneously. With both an RT Diploma and MEd, you will not only have the professional requirements to become a respiratory therapist but also to become an educational leader or researcher in areas such as education, health care, private industry and government.

What will I learn?

You will prepare for an exciting and rewarding career as a respiratory therapist (RT)—a licensed health-care professional specializing in cardiopulmonary care. You will practise the clinical skills necessary to gain the specialized medical expertise and understand the advanced practice required to become a successful RT.

  • Learn the latest in respiratory care theory.
  • Take an active, hands-on approach to learning in the laboratory and simulation lab.
  • Engage in an 11-month clinical hospital internship.
  • Learn to apply life-saving skills to people in need.
  • Register to write the National RT Certification Examination in respiratory therapy in January or July after graduating from the program.
  • $72,892 Annual provincial median salary
  • $51 Highest provincial hourly rate
  • +1.2% Forecasted average employment growth rate for 2029-2024
  • 680 10 year expected job openings

2022 Job Bank Wage data / B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Where will this take me?

Pursuing a career in respiratory therapy opens a world of possibility in health care. It is a high-demand field, and RTs are urgently needed in Canada and abroad to treat, manage and care for patients with cardiopulmonary and other breathing disorders. RTs directly impact the lives of the youngest to the most senior patients in various health care settings.

RTs work in various hospital and clinical settings, including:

  • Such as emergency departments and adult, pediatric and/or neonatal intensive care units.
  • Operating rooms.
  • Various hospital wards.
  • Diagnostic departments such as pulmonary function labs and bronchoscopy.
  • Out-patient clinics.
  • In the community in areas such as home care, obstructive sleep apnea clinics, asthma/respiratory education, and pulmonary rehab clinics.
  • Marketing and sales of respiratory equipment.
  • Policy and research.

How the program works

The Respiratory Therapy (RT) diploma program prepares graduates to meet workplace challenges and find success as an RT through classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences including:

  • Lectures
  • Clinical applications
  • Demonstrations
  • Discussions
  • Experiments
  • Observational visits
  • Self-directed studies
  • Simulations

In the first two years of the diploma program—or first three years of the dual credential program—students will complete courses and practical labs. Students take part in observational rotations at one or more hospitals with RT departments in their first year.

In their final year, students attend an 11-month clinical internship at hospitals affiliated with TRU. Diploma students complete their clinical in year three while dual credential students complete their clinical in year four.

Fast-track students directly enter year two of the diploma program. There are six courses per semester in the first year including additional labs that are completed from September-November. The clinical internship is completed in the final—or second—year.

The clinical internship includes three components. Levels one and two are completed at two different hospitals with adult patients. The final component requires completing a clinical rotation in a pediatric and neonatal setting.

Graduation requirements

First year (36 credits)
  • BIOL 1592, Human Biology: Anatomy and Physiology 1 (3)
  • BIOL 1692, Human Biology: Anatomy and Physiology 2 (3)
  • CMNS 1810, Professional and Academic Composition (3)
  • CMNS 2290, Technical Communication (3)
  • PHYS 1580, Physics for Respiratory Therapists (3)
  • RESP 1580, Principles and Application of Respiratory Therapy Equipment 1 (3)
  • RESP 1650, Introduction to Mechanical Ventilation (3)
  • RESP 1680, Principles and Application of Respiratory Therapy Equipment 2 (3)
  • RESP 1690, Cardiopulmonary Anatomy and Physiology (3)
  • RESP 2510, Pharmacology (3)
  • RESP 2720, Professional Issues in Health Care (3)
  • STAT 1200, Introduction to Statistics (3)
Second year
3rd semester (18 credits)
  • RESP 2500, General Pathophysiology (3)
  • RESP 2540, Client-Centered Education and Community Health (3)
  • RESP 2550, Mechanical Ventilation (3)
  • RESP 2570, Blood Gas Analysis (3)
  • RESP 2590, Patient Assessment (3)
  • RESP 2680, Pulmonary Function (3)
4th semester (18 credits)
  • RESP 2600, Respiratory Pathophysiology (3)
  • RESP 2620, Anaesthesia (3)
  • RESP 2630, Perinatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care (3)
  • RESP 2650, Application of Mechanical Ventilation (3)
  • RESP 2660, Chronic Disease Management (3)
  • RESP 2710, Application of Respiratory Therapy Practice (3)
Third year (53 credits)
  • RTCL 3040, Neonatal and Pediatrics (8)
  • RTCL 3110, Respiratory Therapy Clinical (Level 1) (19)
  • RTCL 3120, Respiratory Therapy Clinical (Level 2) (18)
  • RTCT 3040, Respiratory Therapy Clinical Theory: Neonatal and Pediatrics (2)
  • RTCT 3110, Respiratory Therapy Clinical Theory (Level 1) (3)
  • RTCT 3120, Respiratory Therapy Clinical Theory (Level 2) (3)

What you need to get in

The minimum educational requirements—obtained within the last five years—must be met in order to be accepted into the program or specific stream.

Seats for high school applicants can be limited. One to two years of post-secondary education in a bachelor of science program is recommended for successful admission.

Educational requirements

  • B.C. Grade 12 Graduation with a C+ minimum average or equivalent
  • Foundations of Mathematics 12 or Pre-calculus 12 (or equivalent) with a minimum C+
  • Chemistry 12 (or equivalent) with a C+ minimum grade
  • Anatomy and Physiology 12 (or equivalent) with a C+ minimum grade
  • English Studies 12 or English First Peoples 12 with a minimum of 73% (or equivalent)
  • Physics 11 (or equivalent) with a C+ minimum

General requirements

  • Completion of the program information session (proof of completion required)
  • Completion of "C" level CPR with AED (upon acceptance)
  • Complete immunization schedule (upon acceptance)
  • Criminal record check (upon acceptance)

Program options

Respiratory Therapy Diploma

Three-year program.

Graduates will receive a diploma in respiratory therapy and can find employment as a graduate RT while waiting to write the National RT Certification Examination.

Graduates of the RT diploma program gain 90 credits that can be used toward the Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) through Open Learning.


Students with applicable lower level science pre-requisites may be able to enter directly into the second year of the program, completing that program in just two years. Preference is given to those who already have a BSc or Associate Science degree.

Respiratory Therapy Diploma/Master of Education (MEd)

Students who already have a BSc (preferred) or associate science degree can simultaneously complete both the RT diploma and MEd. Students must also meet the MEd admission requirements to enter this stream.

Further Study

Graduates of the RT diploma can also apply for the Anesthesia Assistant Post-Diploma program through Open Learning.

RT Students
RT Students
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Program Details

Respiratory Therapy Diploma
Three years
Intake dates
Not accepting applications
Open to international applicants

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Admission requirements

Faculty Highlights

Tuition & Fees

Cost for this program per semester:

  • Canadian
  • International
Choose the number of courses:
Tuition $0.00
Fees $0.00
Books and supplies
Typically about $150 per course
Total (CDN) $0.00

Does not include a lab fee of $23.03 that may apply to some courses.

These are only estimates - your actual cost may vary.

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