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Clinical Examination

The Post-Graduate Clinical Examination is a clinical competency examination approved by the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta's (CPTA) Council as per section 3(c) of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulations (PTPR). Successful completion of the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination is required for admittance to the CPTA’s General Register and independent practice.

The Post-Graduate Clinical Examination tests whether exam candidates have demonstrated a minimum standard of practice. It is an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) that tests the candidate’s ability to safely and effectively apply the principles and processes of physiotherapy practice.

Click here for the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination Policy Guide.

The CPTA has an agreement with the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Continuing Professional Education Unit (CPE Unit) of the University of Alberta to administer the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination.

Responsibilities of each organization
  • Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Continuing Professional Education Unit: content, exam day administration
  • CPTA: eligibility, registration, psychometric analysis of results by external psychometricians, confirm final results after analysis and release to candidates.

Examination candidates (candidates) must successfully pass the written component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) and meet the eligibility criteria as set out in the eligibility policy noted below. The Post-Graduate Clinical Examination is only available for those seeking to be registered on the CPTA’s General Register.

Ineligible

The following candidates will not be eligible for the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination:

  1. Candidates who have exhausted the maximum attempts as per CAPR’s current policy for the PCE Written Component and former policy for the PCE Clinical Component.
  2. Candidates who have three failed attempts or more at any combination of the Alberta Post-Graduate Clinical Examination, PCE Clinical Component administered by CAPR or any other Canadian physiotherapy regulators clinical evaluation for licensure.
  3. Former regulated members of the CPTA who have exceeded the permitted time-period of two years or have two failed attempts of the PCE Clinical Component and were cancelled as per PTPR section 7(3) and 7(4) before January 1, 2017.
Eligible

To be eligible to take the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination, the candidate must not be ineligible as referenced above and must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Registered on the CPTA’s Provisional Register.
  2. Former regulated member of the CPTA whose registration was cancelled January 1, 2017 or later, due to section 7(3) or 7(4) of the PTPR.
  3. The individual is the subject of an order of a CPTA Hearing Tribunal, an Agreement and Undertaking with the CPTA Complaints Director, or referral to the CPTA Registration Committee which requires the successful completion of the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination.
Individuals Whose Registration Was Cancelled January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2023

Individuals previously registered on the CPTA’s Provisional Register, and whose registration was cancelled between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2023, in accordance with Section 7(3) or 7(4) of the PTPR are eligible to register for the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination provided they have NOT exhausted their eligibility as stated in the Ineligibility section.

Individuals belonging to this group are no longer regulated members; therefore, the CPTA does not have accurate, up-to-date contact information for these individuals.

Individuals belonging to this group who wish to receive the examination registration link must complete the form at this link. Only individuals who meet the eligibility criteria should complete the form. The CPTA will be verifying eligibility based on its registration records.

The Post-Graduate Clinical Examination is a 12-station in-person, hands-on clinical examination held in Edmonton Alberta. During the exam Candidates will be asked to demonstrate clinical skills through clinical tasks such as subjective assessment/history-taking, assessment procedures, therapeutic intervention and/or patient education. Professionalism, communication and safe practice will also be assessed as part of the performance in each station.

The exam will include a total of 12 practical skills stations.

You will complete six (6) 10-minute stations and six (6) five-minute stations

When completing the 10-minute stations you will have two minutes to read the instructions and prepare prior to entering the station room. Once in the station room, you will have 10 minutes to complete the task.

When completing the five-minute stations you will have one minute to read the instructions and prepare prior to entering the station room. Once in the station room, you will have five minutes to complete the task.

The Post-Graduate Clinical Exam will align with the Physiotherapy Competency Exam Blueprint 2018 published by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) and the 2017 Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada.

Another recommended resource is the National Physiotherapy Entry-to-Practice Curriculum Guidelines which includes lists of knowledge areas, skills, and conditions that a physical therapist should know.

Further information about the PGCE will be shared with candidates by the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Continuing Professional Education Unit when you are notified of your scheduled date and time.

Individuals admitted on the CPTA’s Provisional Register will receive a direct email from the CPTA with instructions on how to register for the examination. The instructions will be emailed shortly after the individual is registered.

Individuals whose registration is cancelled June 1, 2023 and onwards will be provided examination registration details in their notice of cancellation.

Individuals whose registration was cancelled between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2023 will only receive the examination registration link IF they have provided their contact information using the form at this link.

Examination registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. When an examination date reaches capacity, registration for that date will no longer be available.

Candidates will be able to select their examination date* when they register for the examination, however, their examination start time* is assigned by the CPE Unit after examination registration closes.

* NOTE: The CPE Unit reserves the right to designate the date and time of the examination should a candidate request an examination accommodation(s). For example, if a candidate chooses to register for the October 14, 2023 examination administration, they must be available on both days (e.g., October 14 AND October 15, 2023). Candidates will be assigned their examination date by the CPE Unit after examination registration closes.

Candidates may only register for one clinical examination date. The CPTA is not maintaining a “waiting list.”

Future examinations will be administered on:

  • October 14, 2023
  • October 15, 2023
  • February 24, 2024
  • February 25, 2024
  • April 27, 2024
  • April 28, 2024

No other examination administrations are currently scheduled.

Registration for an examination date will remain open until the registration deadline passes or the examination date reaches capacity.

Date of Examination Registration Open Registration Deadline

October 14, 2023

June 1, 2023

August 11, 2023

October 15, 2023

June 1, 2023

August 11, 2023

February 24, 2024

June 1, 2023

December 22, 2023

February 25, 2024

June 1, 2023

December 22, 2023

April 27, 2024

July 7, 2023

February 23, 2024

April 28, 2024

July 7, 2023

February 23, 2024

The CPTA is committed to offering the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination on a cost-recovery basis. The CPTA is not seeking to generate a profit from the administration of the examination. The examination fee reflects the costs of administering the examination.

The fee for the posted examination dates is $750.

Candidates will complete 12 stations. An analysis of performance within each station on a predetermined checklist and for the overall exam will be conducted. Pass scores will be determined following each examination administration using the comprehensive scoring data therefore the pass scores may vary between examination administrations.

Candidates will receive an email when examination results are available. Examination results will be available in the candidate’s Member Portal 12 weeks after the examination day.

Where can I find more information about the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination policies on refunds, transferring between examinations, withdrawing from the examination, or reporting an examination-day incident?

All candidates must review the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination Policy Guide in full, prior to registering for the examination and declare that they have read and understand the information.

The Post-Graduate Clinical Examination Policy Guide contains information about withdrawing from the examination, reporting an examination-day incident that may negatively affect a candidate’s performance on the examination, and the policy regarding examination transfers.

What happens if I fail the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination?

If the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination is your first failed attempt at a clinical examination, then failing does not impact your current registration on the Provisional Register and practice permit.  You may continue to practice as a Physiotherapist Intern in Alberta as long as you hold a valid practice permit and do not exceed the two-year time limit.

However, the failed attempt at the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination will be counted as one examination attempt for the purpose of administering Section 7(3) of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation, that states “If an applicant fails the examination referred to in section 3(c) a second time, the applicant’s registration is cancelled.”

Candidates with two unsuccessful attempts at completing a clinical examination (whether the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination, PCE Clinical Component, or any other Canadian physiotherapy regulators clinical evaluation for licensure) are ineligible to remain on the Provisional Register while waiting to complete their next attempt(s) at the Post Graduate Clinical Examination.

The Health Professions Act does allow for an extension on the Provisional Register after two failed exam attempts but only if the Registrar is of the opinion that extenuating circumstances exist. An example of an extenuating circumstance would be medically documented illness. Examples of circumstances not considered extenuating include financial stress, generalized exam anxiety, decreased ability to prepare/study for the exam.

Page updated: 12/05/2023