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 Physiotherapy Alberta. 

The information in this guide 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.

Is a career as a physiotherapist in Canada right for you? Consider this basic knowledge self-assessment as one tool to assist you when making that decision. 

Click here to purchase the Physiotherapist Knowledge Self-Assessment. The cost is $30.00 plus tax CND

Purpose

This self-assessment was developed for internationally educated physiotherapists (IEPTs) who wish to evaluate their basic physiotherapy knowledge compared to Canadian expectations. There is no pass score, however, after completing the self-assessment you will receive a report which provides an overview of areas of strength or where you might need to update or refresh your knowledge. We hope this report becomes a useful tool for you to engage in self-assessment and reflection and is part of your decision-making process when considering a career as a physiotherapist in Canada. 

Entry-level physiotherapy programs in Canada follow a similar curriculum so graduates of Canadian education programs receive similar education and training. Education programs around the world vary dependent upon the education, health systems and needs of the population in any specific country. 

Content areas

75 multiple-choice questions covering the following content areas:

  • Basic Sciences
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Movement Science
  • Assessment, evaluation and management
  • Therapeutics

The areas of practice in Canada, across the lifespan, include: 

  • Cardiorespiratory    
  • Neuro-musculoskeletal
  • Neurological    
  • General 

The self-assessment mainly evaluates basic knowledge but there are also questions that evaluate the application of that knowledge.

This self-assessment is not linked in any way to the Canadian entry-to-practice examination (Physiotherapy Competency Examination) administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators and should not be considered predictive of success on that examination, nor should these questions be understood as practice questions for that exam.

You may purchase the self-assessment as often as you wish. Each time the questions will be slightly different. For each purchase you may attempt the self-assessment one time.

The registration process to independent practice for internationally educated physiotherapists normally has 5 steps and involves 2 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 'credentialling'.
  • Administers the Physiotherapy Competency Examination.

Physiotherapy Alberta - College + Association

  • Registers and authorizes individuals to practice as a physiotherapist in Alberta.

The majority of internationally educated applicants start off on the Provisional Register after passing the PCE written component. They then move to the General Register after passing the PCE clinical component. The 5 steps are illustrated in the figure below (click to enlarge).

Provisional Register

  • Registration may not exceed 2 years or 2 failures of the PCE clinical component.
  • Practice must be supervised by a physiotherapist on the General Register.

Passing the PCE clinical component means you are eligible to be registered on 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 Physiotherapy 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.

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.

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.

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 Check, regulatory history, and civil judgments.

Language

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

  • demonstrated English language proficiency through The Alliance's credentialing process
  • completed the Physiotherapy Competency Examination in English

Additional criteria you must meet to be registered on the General Register (Step 5).

Examination

You passed the Physiotherapy Competency Examination clinical component (Step 4).

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 when you have:

Documents you send directly to Physiotherapy Alberta

Email your application and all of the above supporting documents to registration@physiotherapyalberta.ca.

Applications must be accompanied by all supporting documents which you are required to provide directly. If you do not have all the supporting documents, then you are not ready to apply for registration. All information (application and supporting documents) must be received together.

Ensure you have arranged for the other party to send the documents listed below directly to Physiotherapy Alberta before you apply. Only the documents listed below will be accepted if sent by another party.

Documents you arrange another party to send directly to Physiotherapy 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 jurisdiction where you worked 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. A Regulatory History is only valid for 90 days from date of issue.
  • Regulatory History form from each jurisdiction where you worked 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 CAPR to verify you demonstrated language proficiency through the credentialling process.

Documents Physiotherapy Alberta will obtain directly

  • Physiotherapy Competency Examination results

How we will manage your application file

  • In 2 business days, we will review your application and the supporting documents which are required to accompany your application to ensure the application is complete and the required documentation provided.  
    • If yes, we will start the application process and provide access to our Member Portal where you can monitor your application progress.
    • If no to either, we will not start the application process. You will be advised to reapply and provide complete supporting documentation.
  • In 4 business days, we will start to work on your application file. This includes reviewing your application and accompanying supporting documents in detail to ensure the registration requirement is met. We will also review any documents received directly from another party.
  • A status report is uploaded to your Member Portal.
  • Thereafter, any documents received from another party are dealt with in 6 business days.

We try to deal with applications and documents within the timelines noted above. However, processing may 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 1 - 2 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. Decisions or actions taken by Physiotherapy Alberta can be reviewed by the provincial Ombudsman in accordance with the Ombudsman Act.

Fees paid to Physiotherapy Alberta - College + Association

Collected at time file is complete, based on date of registration and for a practice permit to the end of the current registration year, e.g., September 30, 2021.

Application fee $125
Practice permit fee (applying for registration between Oct 1 and Mar 31) $805
Practice permit fee (applying for registration between Apr 1 and Sep 30) $615

Fees paid to another party

Credentialing $1,088 (effective Jan 1, 2020)
Documents required for credentialling for example transcripts, translation At discretion of agencies
Examination $2,815 (both components, one sitting)
Liability insurance $200 - $250
Criminal Record Check

Canada - $29 + tax

United States - $31 + tax

Other countries - range is $35 - $350. Refer to the country order form for country costs.

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

Timelines

Credentialling 10 - 12 weeks for precedent cases and 16-18 weeks non-precedent cases
Examination Written results 6 weeks
Clinical results 12 weeks
Regulatory reference At discretion of regulator
Liability insurance At disretion of insurance provider
Criminal Record Check

Canada - approx 2 business days if cleared based on name search

International - country specific

Supporting documents 6 business days for Physiotherapy Alberta to review from the date received
Decision on complete file  Approx. 1 - 2 business days

Personally held professional liability insurance is a required.

Physiotherapists are autonomous health professionals accountable for their conduct and practice. As such, you are required to personally hold professional liability insurance to ensure coverage wherever you practice as a physiotherapist in Alberta, regardless of role or employment environment. The amount of coverage you must have is $5 million per occurrence/patient and $5 million minimum for the policy year.

Liability insurance is offered through a variety of vendors. We've included a link to vendors who provide coverage to the majority of Alberta physiotherapists. Not all policies offer the same coverage. You are responsible for reviewing each policy and making an informed decision. Physiotherapy Alberta does not endorse a specific product or validate the information contained within each vendor’s website.

Physiotherapy Alberta collects information from members for regulatory purposes. This includes determining eligibility for registration, maintaining the member register and implementing the investigation and discipline process. The information is also used to support activities that further Physiotherapy Alberta’s mandate to protect the public interest (e.g., workforce planning and research that promotes innovative, quality physiotherapist care). Physiotherapy Alberta keeps complete registration files for a minimum of 10 years following removal from the register.

Who do we share your information with?

Information on the Register of Members must be disclosed to the public upon request. This includes your name, registration number, registration status, conditions imposed on your practice permit, current or previous employment information (e.g., employer’s name and address), whether you are authorized to independently perform an advanced restricted activity, and conduct findings on record. Members of the public may access information on the register by contacting Physiotherapy Alberta directly or through our Public Registry

Under the Health Professions Act, Physiotherapy Alberta is required by law to provide demographic, education and practice information to the Minister of Health and Wellness for health workforce planning purposes.

With expressed consent, Physiotherapy Alberta will share member contact information (i.e., name, address, phone, email) with researchers conducting a study that will further our mandate to protect the public interest by promoting innovative, quality physiotherapy care. The data may not be used for commercial purposes and can only be used once and not reproduced or passed on to others. Consent is granted using My Profile in the Member Portal.

Physiotherapy Alberta may disclose information that is summarized or in a 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 registration staff.

Who should you contact for more information?

Contact Physiotherapy Alberta’s Privacy Officer if you have questions about the collection, use and disclosure of your information. 780.438.0338 or info@physiotherapyalberta.ca.