Physiotherapy Overview

“Physiotherapy,” also known as “physical therapy” is a regulated profession in Canada. That means by law, physiotherapists must have a licence to practise. In Canada, provincial and territorial organizations called Regulatory Colleges are responsible for licensing physiotherapists.

To become licensed as a physiotherapist, all provincial Regulatory Colleges, except the one in Quebec, require you to first pass the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) which is administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (“CAPR”). The PCE consists of two separate exams: a written, multiple-choice exam and a clinical exam. You must first pass the written exam before you can attempt the clinical exam.

Graduates of accredited Canadian programs are automatically eligible to write the PCE.

If you have completed your physiotherapy education outside of Canada, you must first have your qualifications and educational credentials assessed by CAPR to determine your eligibility to write the PCE. If your qualifications and educational credentials are found to be substantially different than Canadian standards, you may not be allowed to write the PCE. To be eligible, one essential requirement is that you must have completed a physiotherapy training program at the university level.

If your physiotherapy education was not completed in English or French, you will be required to demonstrate official language proficiency. Achievement of minimum language test scores with the previous two-year period is required before permission is given to write the PCE.

It is important to note that the credentialling, exam and licensure processes can be lengthy and expensive. Some applicants may take months or even years trying to become a physiotherapist in Canada. Not everyone succeeds. It is important for you to consider other career options as well. The Self Assessment Readiness Tool and Source Country Profiles provide helpful information in this regard.

Though your process will vary, you may also wish to try the Cost Estimator to get a better idea of typical minimum costs involved in applying for licensure as a physiotherapist in Canada.

CAPR credentialling and examination processes are just the first steps. Completing these steps does not automatically give you the right to practise or register as a physiotherapist in Canada. After successfully completing the CAPR processes, you must apply for a licence to practise (register) with the Regulatory College in the province where you plan to work as a physiotherapist. Each regulator may have additional registration requirements. For full information on licensure and information on registration requirements, please review the Licensure section of our website and contact the regulator in the province or territory where you plan to work.