Become an examiner

Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) – Overview for Examiners

The Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) tests whether qualified exam candidates have demonstrated a minimum standard of practice. The PCE ensures that members of the public will be safe when they interact with physiotherapists. It fairly and accurately evaluates the competencies candidates need to have to practise physiotherapy. Most physiotherapy regulators in Canada include passing the PCE as part of their entry-to-practice process.

The PCE tests the essential competencies of physiotherapy practice – the essential knowledge, skills and abilities. It tests history-taking, physical examination, data interpretation, clinical problem solving, treatment techniques, ethics, safety, interviewing and communication. The exam covers the core clinical practice areas: neuromusculoskeletal, neurological, cardiopulmonary-vascular and multisystem.

Physiotherapists work as examiners for the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination. The Chief Examiner at the site selects the examiners for each station, from a list of examiners who have applied and are eligible to examine.

Examiners observe the performance of the candidates in clinical stations, record their observations on standardized test sheets and make decisions about whether the performance is satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Some examiners mark written station answer sheets. They compare candidates’ written answers to the answer key, record the marks and indicate whether the answers are adequate or inadequate. The written station marking takes place at a centralized location a week after the clinical exam.

Examiners do not decide whether a candidate passes or fails a station or the exam. The Board of Examiners makes the pass/fail decisions.

Roles and Responsibilities

Role of the Physiotherapist Examiner

The role of the physiotherapist examiner in the Clinical Component is to:

  • observe the performance of the candidate in a clinical station
  • record the observations on a standardized test sheet
  • make a decision about whether the performance in that station is satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Role of the On-site Spare Examiner

The role of the on-site spare examiner in the Clinical Component is to:

  • remain available on-site during exam day until 3 pm
  • if selected to be an examiner, then plays the role of the examiner
  • assist Chief Examiner or Assistant Chief Examiner on Exam day with duties assigned.

Role of the On-call Spare Examiner

The role of the on-call spare examiner in the Clinical Component is to:

  • remain available until 9am on exam day
  • if selected to be an examiner, the Chief Examiner or Assistant Chief Examiner will call you before 9am
  • you will arrive at the exam site if called on exam day, sign in and then play the role of the examiner.

Examiner and Written Station Marker Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible if you:

  • are fully registered as a physiotherapist and in good standing with your home province/territory
  • are not required to do the Physiotherapy Competency Examination in the future. Physiotherapists who have graduated since December 31, 1993 and have not successfully completed the competency examination, might be required to complete the examination if they move to another province. Such physiotherapists are not eligible to be examiners, as they would have an unfair advantage should they need to complete the examination.
  • have completed a minimum one-year waiting period since graduation. The waiting period serves two purposes. The first is to allow the newly registered to gain some clinical experience. The second is to avoid having examiners evaluating recent classmates.
  • have no conflict of interest with a candidate*
  • have experience in:
    • one or more areas of clinical expertise such as acute care, long term care, community care or private practice
    • direct client care or educational settings

You are not eligible if you:

  • are employed, or intend to be employed, in a physiotherapy academic program in a role that involves teaching of physiotherapy students. Those involved in occasional lecturing/lab instructors are acceptable.
  • are currently employed, or intend to be employed, in PCE preparation courses and programs e.g. Bridging Programs and for-profit PCE prep courses.

If you are unsure regarding your eligibility to be an examiner, please contact CAPR exam program.

* Please refer to the Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest for Examiners document for a full breakdown of what is required of potential examiners where a conflict of interest exists.

Examiner checklist

To apply to be an examiner:

  • read the Examiner Eligibility Requirements
  • read the Roles and Responsibilities for Examiners and Written Station Markers
  • download and complete the Examiner Application Form (application can be located under forms at the top of the page)
  • download, read and sign the Examiner Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest Forms (form can be located under forms at the top of the page)
  • return the Application and Examiner Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest form via fax: 416-234-8820 or email: examassistant@alliancept.org
  • read the FAQs document