The Practice Readiness Assessment (PRA) process offered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) will help you obtain an Independent License to practice medicine in Alberta.
PRA determines if an applicants postgraduate medical education meets the college requirements and ready for independent practice in Alberta. To be eligible for independent practice a physician must be:
- On the General Register, or on the Provincial Register Conditional Practice as a physician in independent practice.
- Authorized to practise medicine within his/her scope of practice.
- Responsible and accountable for his/her medical practice and does not require another physician to be responsible for or oversee any aspect of their medical practice.
Full registration in Alberta requires the successful completion of Family Medicine or of Specialty residency in Canada; qualification from the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC); and certification from the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).
Physicians (including IMGs) who don’t hold such national certification, but who have completed a minimum amount of postgraduate training may be placed on the CPSA Provincial Register Conditional Practice upon successful completion of the Practice Ready Assessment process administered through the Provincial Physician Assessment Program (PPAP). Participation in PPAP is possible only after an applicant applies for a practice permit and only after the CPSA Registration Department determines whether that applicant meets the requirements of the General Register, or must undergo a PPAP assessment. Assessments are composed of two parts: a Preliminary Clinical Assessment and a Supervised Practice Assessment. The need for the preliminary assessment can vary depending on where the physician received medical training.
Step by Step
In order to be considered for the CPSA Practice Ready Assessment through PPAP, an IMG must:
- Have completed successfully a post-graduate program outside of Canada in Family Medicine, or another Specialty recognized by the CPSA with a duration of at least:
- 24 months in Family Medicine containing 4 months of Community-based Primary Care and a minimum of 8 weeks each of three of the following: Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Surgery, and Internal Medicine; or
- 48 months in another Specialty (graduates from programs with a duration of 36 may be considered for the Provisional Register as a non-specialist) and acceptable specialty certification from the jurisdiction of training. This does not apply to radiology/diagnostic imaging
- Not have been out of practice or formal postgraduate training in a medical discipline in which the applicant intends to practise in Alberta for more than 3 years before submitting the application. If an applicant has been out of practice or formal postgraduate training for more than 3 years, the applicant has to have returned to clinical practice or formal postgraduate training for at least 12 months before sending his/her application.
- Have passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part 1 (MCCQE1) before submitting the application.
- Have passed the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS-Academic) within 24 months before submitting the application achieving the minimum score of 7.0 in each of the components on IELTS/Academic.
- Visit the CPSA website and get thorough information about the eligibility criteria, the application process and the most current updates concerning IMGs who wish to apply for Independent Practice permit in Alberta.
Note: Don’t start the application process if you fail to satisfy any of the basic and additional eligibility requirements for the Provisional Register Conditional Practice as stated by the CPSA at the time of submitting your application. If you are applying for PRA in Family Medicine, you must also pass the Therapeutic Decision Making (TDM) exam before actually submitting your application. However, in order to register for this exam, you need to satify the CPSA criteria for PRA in Family Medicine and register for the exam date through the CPSA website.
- Apply for Independent Practice permit to the CPSA Registration Department through his/her pysyciansapply.ca account to which the applicant will be re-directed from the CPSA website and share his/her medical credentials already verified by the MCC Physician Credentials Repository and exam results stored in the applicant’s account with CPSA.
- Use his/her physiciansapply.ca account and submit a Review of Qualifications for Alberta paying the required fees for this service.
- Receive email from the CPSA with notification about the results of the assessment after his/her qualifications have been reviewed by the college. If the applicant is not deemed eligible, then he/she will be provided by the college with an explanation about the reasons that make him/her ineligible to apply. If eligible, then the applicant will be granted access to the complete application in physiciansapply.ca with detailed instructions on how to proceed.
Note: IMGs must have their credentials source verified by physiciansapply.ca when granted access to the complete application.
- If determined eligible for the Provisional Register Conditional Practice, receive the CPSA formal Review of Qualifications / Eligibility letter specifying the applicant’s scope of practice. Then apply for AHS sponsorship approved positions within that scope of practice.
Note: If a physician applicant does not meet the full requirements of the General Register they must undergo a PPAP assessment.
- Apply for AHS sponsorship approved physician positions within that scope posted on the Doctor Jobs Alberta page of the Alberta Health Services website.
- Secure an Alberta Health Services (AHS) sponsorship position within six months from the date on which the formal CPSA Eligibility Letter is issued and follow the CPSA requirements to move on to PPAP assessment.
Note: If the CPSA does not receive a sponsorship form from AHS on the applicant’s behalf within six months, the applicant’s file will be closed and the applicant you will not be granted access to the application for registration process with the CPSA.
- Get familiar with the updates concerning sponsorships as provided on the CPSA website at the time the AHS sponsorship position has been secured.
- Receive an acknowledgement letter by the CPSA outlining the next step in the PPAP assessment process and return a signed letter of understanding with his/her availability dates for the assessment.
- Begin the Preliminary Clinical Assessment as assigned by the CPSA.
- Upon successful completion of the Preliminary Clinical Assessment, get access provided by CPSA to the complete application in physiciansapply.ca and follow the CPSA detailed instructions on how to proceed in order to obtain the independent licence to practice and move on to the last part of the assessment process – the Supervised Practice Assessment.