Three tips to become a physiotherapist in Canada
Published September 1, 2022.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutesIn summary:
- Physiotherapists are in-demand across Canada
- There is significant career advancement and income growth potential for Internationally-educated physiotherapists (IEPTs)
- The Canadian physiotherapist licensing process can be expensive, so be sure you have a financial plan to prepare for the costs of credentialing and qualifying exams.
Physiotherapists play an integral role in maintaining and strengthening the health and wellness of Canadians. They possess valuable knowledge of the human body and bring specialized clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.
Their skills are not only valuable but also in high demand. Although more than 20,000 registered physiotherapists (PTs) work in Canada, there is a labour shortage that is expected to continue, according to federal government labour market data and Windmill Microlending’s Trending Jobs Report. This means strong employment and income growth opportunities exist for internationally-educated physiotherapists (IEPTs). Depending on where you live and work, you can make between $60,000 and $100,000 annually.
Understanding the physiotherapy licensing process in Canada
Physiotherapy is a regulated occupation. You require a license to practise by provincial and territorial regulatory bodies. This means successfully completing the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE), and applying to a provincial regulatory college to obtain your license.
If you are a physiotherapist or physiotherapist assistant educated outside of Canada and want to learn more about the steps needed to become licensed to work in Canada, visit Windmill’s Educational Pathways.
Windmill reached out to Shereen Mir-Jabbar, Senior Credentialing Officer at the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR), for advice to internationally-educated physiotherapists to help you move forward on the path to licensure in Canada. CAPR is the national organization responsible for credential evaluation of IEPTs and administering the Written Component of the PCE for Canadian-educated physiotherapists and IEPTs.
Shereen Mir-Jabbar from the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) suggests three tips to support foreign-trained physiotherapists to become licensed in Canada.
Tip #1: Prepare for the costs of the credentialing and exam process
You’ll want a financial plan for all the potential costs of the Canadian physiotherapy credentialling and exam process. This can easily reach in the thousands of dollars. CAPR has developed a Cost Estimator Tool to help you in your financial planning for the licensing process.
Find out if you’re eligible for an affordable loan from Windmill Microlending to help you pay for the costs of getting licensed to work as a physiotherapist in Canada. Take our two-minute online loan eligibility quiz.
Tip #2: Connect with the regulator in your province or territory to understand licensing requirements
Provincial physiotherapy regulators may have licensing requirements that differ from CAPR’s. For example, you may need to complete a clinical competency and jurisprudence exam to test your clinical skills and understanding of the rules of physiotherapy practice. Other requirements could include character references and demonstrating evidence of previous work experience. It is important to reach out to the regulatory body in your province or territory to understand their licensing expectations.
Tip #3: Consider bridge training or exam preparation
Bridge training programs offer internationally-educated physiotherapists (IEPTs) skills and knowledge to launch your physiotherapy career in Canada successfully. Some university programs also offer exam preparation workshops.
Some bridge training programs or exam preparation workshops to consider include:
- Physio Refresh at the University of British Columbia, which offers written exam preparation
- Physical Therapy Bridging Certificate at the University of Alberta
- Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging (OIEPB) Program at the University of Toronto
- Programme de qualification professionnelle en physiothérapie at the Université de Montréal (This program is offered only in French; for IEPTs looking to work in Quebec)
- Physiotherapy Equivalency Program at McGill University (This program is offered in English; for IEPTs looking to work in Quebec)
Below find some helpful links and resources to support you through the licensing process to become a physiotherapist in Canada.