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Respiratory Therapy Diploma

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

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 a Respiratory Therapy Diploma 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.
Respiratory Therapy Diploma
3 years
Intake dates
Application Deadline
Feb 1
Not accepting applications
Open to international applicants
RT Students

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:

  • High-risk areas 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, pulmonary rehab clinics and more.
  • Marketing and sales of respiratory equipment.
  • Policy and research.

Further study

Graduates of the three-year RT Diploma program gain 90 credits which can be used toward a Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) through Open Learning.

Alternatively, students can choose to apply for the dual credential stream in the winter semester of their first year. This allows students to complete both their RT diploma and BHSc simultaneously in just four years.

As a graduate of the dual credential stream, students gain 60 credits that can be applied to a Bachelor of Science (BSc). Some lower level prerequisites will need to be completed in order to enter required upper level BSc courses.

Students also have the option to enter the dual Diploma/Masters stream if they have a BSc (preferred) or associate science degree and meet admission requirements for the Master of Education (MEd). In this stream, students complete both programs at the same time. The RT curriculum fulfils the professional requirements needed to become a RT while the Master's degree prepares educational leaders and capable researchers for a variety of roles in education, health care, private industry and government. The MEd program offers thesis, final project or capstone course options.

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

  • $72,892

    Annual provincial median salary

    Source: 2019 Job Bank Wage data

  • $30-$51/hour

    Provincial hourly rate

    Source: 2019 Job Bank Wage data

  • +1.2% (2019-2024)
    +1.4% (2024-2029)

    Forecasted average employment growth rate

    Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

  • 560

    10 year expected job openings

    Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

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)
RT Students RT Students RT Students RT Students RT Students RT Students

Program cost

Students enrolled in the Respiratory Therapy Diploma Program can expect the following approximate costs during the three-year program.

Note: The Dual credential option of the RT program typically requires one more academic year, and therefore another year’s cost needs to be considered.

Fees Costs
First Year (approximate costs)
Tuition and fees $6,000
Extended medical/dental * $248
Books and manuals $1,000
Lab coat (optional) $15
B.C.S.R.T. fees $30 (does not need to be paid in year 1, but if it is, the remaining 2 years are free)
C.S.R.T. membership $100 (includes 3-year membership, diploma, gold pin)
Second year and preclinical year costs
Tuition and fees $6,000
Extended medical/dental* $248
Books and supplies $1,500
Stethoscope $135
Scrubs $40/set
CPR re-certification $60-100
Mask fit $35
TB skin test (update) $55
B.C.S.R.T. fees Free if paid in the first year and $30 thereafter
Clinical year
Tuition and fees $7,235
C.B.R.C. National Certification Exam $900
B.C.S.R.T. Free if paid in the first year and $30 thereafter
Extended medical/dental* (optional) $248
*Please note: You must opt in in order to be enrolled in the extended medical/dental plan.

Have questions about the program?

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