Skip navigation

Internationally Educated

Registration is mandatory. To practice as a physiotherapist in Alberta and use the titles physiotherapist or physical therapist, or abbreviation PT, an individual must be registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta.

The information in this section is for internationally-educated applicants who are not currently registered in Canada. You are an internationally educated applicant if you graduated from a university outside of Canada. This includes Canadian citizens who studied abroad. If you have questions about the registration process, contact a Registration Coordinator at registration@cpta.ab.ca or 587.442.1088.

The registration process to independent practice for internationally educated physiotherapists has five steps and involves two organizations:

Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators

  • Establishes if the education and qualifications of internationally educated applicants are not substantially different from those of Canadian educated physiotherapists. We refer to this process as 'credentialing'.
  • Administers the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Written Component

The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta

  • Registers and authorizes individuals to practice as a physiotherapist in Alberta.
  • Contracts the University of Alberta, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine to administer the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination (the clinical examination).

Internationally educated applicants start off on the Provisional Register after passing the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Written Component. They then move to the General Register, and able to practice independently, after passing the Post-Graduate Clinical Examination. The five steps are illustrated in the figure below.

Internationally Educated Pathway.jpg
Provisional Register Eligibility
  • Passing the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Written Component is required for eligibility onto the Provisional Register.
  • Registration on the Provisional Register may not exceed two years. Two years starts from date of initial registration on the Provisional Register and is continuous regardless of breaks in employment or registration.
  • You are not eligible for registration on Alberta's Provisional Register if you have two failed attempts at completing any combination of Alberta's Post-Graduate Clinical Examination, the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Clinical Component administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators, or any other Canadian physiotherapy regulator's clinical competency evaluation for full licensure.
  • Registration on the Provisional Register may not exceed two years or two failed clinical examination attempts, whichever comes first. A clinical examination attempt is any combination of Alberta's Post-Graduate Clinical Examination, the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Clinical Component administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators, or any other Canadian physiotherapy regulator's clinical competency evaluation for full licensure.

Passing Alberta's Post-Graduate Clinical Examination is required to move to the General Register and able to practice independently.

The criteria you must meet to be registered on the Provisional Register (Step 3).

Physiotherapy Education

You successfully completed the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulator's credentialing process (Step 1).

Examination

You passed the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Written Component (Step 2). 

Jurisprudence

You passed the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta's jurisprudence module which evaluates your understanding and application of the rules governing practice in Alberta. 

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct Education

You completed the mandatory education in place to protect patients from sexual abuse and sexual misconduct by physiotherapists.

Liability insurance

You personally hold professional liability insurance in the amount of $5 million to ensure coverage wherever you practice as a physiotherapist in Alberta, regardless of role or employment environment.

Supervised practice

A regulated member on the Provisional Register may practice only under the supervision of a regulated member on the General Register. A physiotherapist on the General Register has agreed to supervise your practice.

Character + reputation

You are of good character and reputation. There is no past or present behavior or conduct that would put the Alberta public at risk. Evidence is collected by self-declarations, criminal record checks, regulatory history, and civil judgments.

Language

You are reasonably proficient in the English language to be able to safely and competently practice as a physiotherapist. There are two ways to meet the language requirement:

  • demonstrated English language proficiency through the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulator's credentialing process, or
  • passed an approved English language test

Additional criteria you must meet to be registered on the General Register.

Examination

You passed the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Clinical Component administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators OR a Canadian physiotherapy regulator's clinical competency evaluation for full licensure.

You are ready to apply for registration on the Provisional Register when you have:
You are ready to apply for registration on the General Register if you have:
  • Passed the Physiotherapy Competency Examination Clinical Component administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators prior to its discontinuation OR a Canadian physiotherapy regulator's clinical competency evaluation for full licensure.
  • All of the above except supervised practice.
Before you apply, documents you arrange another party to send directly to the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta
  • Criminal record check completed by Sterling Talent Solutions (myBackCheck.com) from every country where you have lived for 90+ days within 10 years of this application or dating back to your 18th birthday. A criminal record check is only valid for 90 days from date of issue. 
  • Regulatory History form from each Canadian jurisdiction where you worked or were registered as a physiotherapist for the last 10 years to confirm your registration status, conduct history, and clinical evaluation attempts if applicable. A Regulatory History is only valid for 90 days from date of issue.
  • Regulatory History form from each non-Canadian jurisdiction where you worked or were registered as a physiotherapist for the last 10 years to confirm your registration status and conduct history. If you worked, but were not registered, in a jurisdiction where the physiotherapy profession is subject to registration or any other form of regulation, a Regulatory History form is still required to confirm you were not registered. No exceptions. A Regulatory History is only valid for 90 days from date of issue.
  • Regulatory History form from each jurisdiction where you worked or were registered as another regulated professional (e.g., nurse, acupuncturist, teacher) for the last 10 years to confirm your registration status and conduct history. A Regulatory History is only valid for 90 days from date of issue.
  • Language verification. Verification Request Form from the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators to verify you demonstrated language proficiency through the credentialing process OR language test from an approved testing agency. The language test is valid for two years from date of issue.
Coordination of the application process is important to ensure a document does not expire before all required documents are received and approved. This is particularly important if an international criminal record check or international regulatory history report is required as these can often take several weeks to receive.
Documents the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta will obtain directly
  • Physiotherapy Competency Examination results from 2012 onward.
When you apply, documents you will include WITH your application
  • Identification. Scanned copy of government-issued photo identification that matches the name on your application. We may request additional identification if your name on any supporting document is different than on your application.
  • Jurisprudence Module Exam Summary to confirm you passed the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta's jurisprudence module. 
  • Liability insurance.  Certificate of Insurance with a current effective date. A future-dated policy will not be accepted.
  • Supervision Agreement for each practice site to confirm your practice as a physiotherapist will be supervised.
Application

Before you apply ensure you have read and followed the instructions in the "Access your readiness to apply" and "Apply to be registered" sections. Failure to include or arrange for the documents as specified will significantly delay the application process.

How we will manage your application file
  • In five business days, we will start to work on your application file. This includes reviewing your application and accompanying supporting documents to ensure each document meets the registration criteria. We will also review any documents received directly from another party.
  • Thereafter, any documents received from another party, resubmitted documents and email correspondence are dealt with in six business days.
  • A status report is available in your Member Portal and updated each time a requirement is cleared.

While we try to deal with applications and documents within the timelines noted above processing does take longer when there is a high volume.

Application files are typically assessed by staff, however, the Registrar may refer any matter to the Registration Committee to consider and this will delay the application progress.

Decision on a complete application
  • We should be able to approve your application in one to two business days once all registration requirements have been cleared/met unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • Once approved, a practice permit is issued entitling you to practice as a physiotherapist in Alberta.
  • Your name will appear on the public registry enabling the public and employers to verify your registration status.

Applications may also be deferred, refused, or conditions imposed if it is in the best interest of the public.

An applicant whose application for registration is approved subject to conditions (except the supervision condition when it is a legislated register condition), or whose registration is deferred or whose application is refused may within 30 days after being given a copy of the decision, request a review by the council in accordance with section 31(3) of the Health Professions Act.

Decisions or actions taken by the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta can be reviewed by the provincial Ombudsman in accordance with the Ombudsman Act.

Fees paid to the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta

An invoice for the Application Fee and Practice Permit Fee is generated as soon as your application is submitted. The invoice must be paid in full before your application will be reviewed. The Application Fee is non-refundable. The Practice Permit Fee is refundable until your application is approved. After approval the Practice Permit Fee is non-refundable.

An application is valid for 90 days from the date of submission. Your file will be closed if your application expires at which time the Practice Permit Fee will be refunded. The Application Fee and Practice Permit Fee are applied on a subsequent application.

The registration year is from October 1 to September 30. The Practice Permit Fee is for a permit to September 30.

Application fee

$125

Practice permit fee (applications between Oct 1 and Mar 31)

$805

Practice permit fee (applications between Apr 1 and Sep 30)

$615

Collected at time applicant registers for the clinical examination.

Clinical Examination

To be determined. Range $750 - $900 (one sitting)

Fees paid to another party

Credentialing

$1,486 (effective January 1, 2023)

Documents required for credentialing for example transcripts, translation

At discretion of agencies

Written Examination

$1,368

Liability insurance

$125 - $270

Criminal Record Check

Canada - $29 + tax

United States - $31 + tax

Other countries - the range is $35 - $350 (see Note below)

Note: These are estimates only and can vary depending on circumstances, e.g., number of region/state searches within a country, the complexity of the search, local fees, delay in processing.

Timelines

Credentialing

17 weeks after all documentation and information is received

Examination

Written results 6 weeks

Clinical results 12 weeks

Regulatory reference

At discretion of regulator

Liability insurance

At discretion of insurance provider

Criminal Record Check

Canada - approximately two business days if cleared based on name search

International - several weeks to obtain and varies by country

Supporting documents

Six business days for the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta to review from the date received

Decision on complete file

Approximately one to two business days

Collection of Information

The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta collects information from applicants and members for regulatory purposes. This includes determining eligibility for registration, maintaining the Register of Members and implementing the investigation and discipline process. Information is also used to support activities that further the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s mandate to protect the public interest. The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta keeps complete registration files for a minimum of 10 years following removal from the register.

Who do we share your information with?

In accordance with Sections 33(3), 85 and 119 of the Health Professions Act, the following information on the Register of Members must be disclosed to the public upon request: member’s full name, registration number, practice permit status (including conditions, restrictions, suspensions, cancellations), whether they are authorized to perform a restricted activity, practice specialization, and conduct findings on record. Members of the public may access information on the register by contacting the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta directly or through our online register.

In accordance with the Bylaws, the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta may disclose the following information concerning its regulated members to members of the public in order to support its physiotherapist search function on its website: member’s names used in practice; employment information including business name, mailing address, telephone number, fax number and email address; degrees and other qualifications; practice areas and specializations; school of graduation; gender; and languages in which the member can provide professional services.

In accordance with Section 122 of the Health Professions Act, the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta is required to provide demographic, education and practice information to the Minister of Health for planning and resource allocation, health system management, public health surveillance, and health policy development.

In accordance with the Bylaws, the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta may disclose information in a summarized or statistical form so that it is not possible to relate the information to any particular identifiable person.

How can you access and correct your information?

You may access and correct most information using My Profile in the Member Portal. Information that may not be changed online must be brought to the attention of the College.

Who should you contact for more information?

The College of Physiotherapists of Alberta is committed to protecting all personal information shared with us. The commitment to safeguarding your privacy is reflected in our privacy policy. Contact the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta’s Privacy Officer if you have questions about the collection, use, and disclosure of your information. 780.438.0338 or info@cpta.ab.ca.

The University of Alberta runs a bridging program to help internationally educated individuals meet the registration requirements and transition into Alberta physiotherapy practice.

Living and working in Canada

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 19, 2024
  • October 20, 2024
  • February 22, 2025
  • February 23, 2025

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 19, 2024

December 7, 2023

August 16, 2024

October 20, 2024

December 7, 2023

August 16, 2024

February 22, 2025

December 7, 2023

December 20, 2024

February 23, 2025

December 7, 2023

December 20, 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: 15/11/2023