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Starting your Physiotherapy Career in Canada

How to Start your Physiotherapy Career in Canada: A 6-Step Guide for Internationally-Educated Physiotherapists

The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) is the national body responsible for the credential evaluation of internationally-educated physiotherapists (IEPTs) and administers the national Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE) for both Canadian-educated physiotherapists and IEPTs. We do this work on behalf of our members who are the Canadian provincial and territorial physiotherapy regulators. If you are an IEPT, we have outlined 6 basic steps below to help you on your journey to becoming a licensed physiotherapist in Canada.

Step 1: Find out about the licensing requirements in the province or territory where you want to work
You need a licence to work as a physiotherapist in Canada. Most provinces or territories have an organization that monitors the physiotherapy profession in their region and also grants licences to physiotherapists. These organizations are known as regulators. These regulators are often called Colleges, which are not the same as colleges or universities that are places of learning. Each regulator has its own requirements and you should contact the regulator in the province or territory where you plan to work to get the information you need to apply for your physiotherapy licence. You can find the websites for the Canadian physiotherapy regulators here.

Tip: Did you know that regulators may have some additional requirements that are different from CAPR’s requirements? For example, regulators may require you to take a jurisprudence exam that tests your knowledge about the rules and laws of physiotherapy practice. Other additional requirements could include providing evidence of good character in places where you have worked before. Contact the regulator in the place where you wish to work to get more information about these additional requirements.

Step 2: Prepare before you leave your home country
It’s a good idea to know what it’s like to live and work in Canada as a physiotherapist before you immigrate. You should visit our Considering Canada page. This page is full of useful of information that gives you an idea of what the physiotherapy profession is like in Canada and provides resources that can help you learn about immigrating to Canada. If you want to be financially prepared for all of the potential costs that go along with the credentialling and exam process, be sure to use the Cost Estimator Tool to help with your budget. If you completed your physiotherapy education in Australia, India, Philippines or the UK or any of our other source countries, you’ll definitely want to review the Source Country Profiles to see how physiotherapy in your country stacks up against Canadian physiotherapy practice. These profiles have information on the schools CAPR has assessed and some of the potential credentialling outcomes. It also includes exam pass rates in the last five years for first time test takers.

Tip: Did you know that you can complete the entire credentialling process from your home country? It’s always better to start the credentialling process before you leave your home country because it can save you time when you arrive in Canada. It can also be difficult to arrange for your official transcripts and Document Request Form to be sent to our office directly from the issuing institution or appropriate authority once you leave your home country.

Step 3: Apply for Credentialling and submit documents
Now that you know what you need to do to live and work as a physiotherapist in Canada, it’s time to apply for credentialling and submit all the required documents in your application package. If you review the Credentialling Overview page, it will give you step-by-step instructions on how to apply for an assessment and submit your application.

Tip: Did you know that many applications are received incomplete and can result in lengthy delays? Double check your application package to ensure that you have followed the instructions and submitted the documents correctly.

Step 4: Receive your credentialling assessment results
When we have all of the documents we need to assess your physiotherapy credentials, we will start your assessment. How long it takes to finish your assessment depends on if we have assessed someone from your program before or if your program/graduating year is new to us. When your assessment is done, we will send you a letter letting you know if you can register for the PCE, if we need more information from you or your school, or if you have not met our requirements. The assessment results letter will provide you with detailed information about what you need to do next. If you meet all of the requirements, we will send you a letter confirming that you are eligible to apply for the PCE.

Tip: Did you know that you do not need to wait for your assessment results to take a language test? We strongly encourage that you take a language test as soon as possible, to prevent delays in becoming eligible for the PCE. You cannot register for the PCE until you have successfully fulfilled the language requirement. Review our language proficiency requirements for more information.

Step 5: Sit the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE)

The PCE is made up of 2 parts: the written component and the clinical component. The written component is administered 5 times a year and must be passed before you can attempt the clinical component. The clinical is administered 2 times a year. There are firm deadlines for applying to the exam, so be sure to submit your application well in advance of a deadline. All of the required forms and information can be found on our Taking the Exam page. Read everything carefully and mail us your application!

Tip: Did you know that if you have completed all of the credentialling requirements, except for the Knowledge of Physiotherapy Practice in the Canadian Context requirement, you may qualify to sit the PCE while you complete this course? This is called provisional eligibility. Provisional eligibility will let you sit the exam, while you finish your course. Ask your Credentialling Officer if you qualify.

Step 6: You’ve passed the PCE! Now back to the Regulators…
When you have passed the exam, you will need to contact the regulator in the province or territory where you wish to work. The regulators will not contact you. Contact them and let know you’ve passed the PCE and want to get to work!

Tip: Did you know that you may be able to practise while you are completing your exams? Some provincial regulators will let you work with a temporary, restricted or supervised licence to practise physiotherapy when you have successfully completed credentialling and while you are in the process of completing the PCE. Contact your provincial or territorial regulator to see if this is an option for you.

Physiotherapy practice around the world is diverse. The practice varies from country to country and not all international programs meet our standards. We encourage you to visit our website at for more information about our credentialling program. Don’t be shy! Email our Credentialling Client Services Coordinator at if you have any questions.

This article was originally published on the WES Advisor website.