OCCUPATION INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Who is the licensing body responsible for Physicians in Alberta?
- What assessment tools are available to help me determine my eligibility for registration?
- What is the role of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC)?
- Examination Information
- What resources are available to help me with exams?
- What are the educational requirements for Physicians in Alberta?
- What training programs or services are available for internationally educated Physicians?
- What are the accepted English language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?
- What information resources are available for Physicians in Alberta?
In Alberta, you must be registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) to practice as a Physician. The CPSA is the licensing authority responsible for licensing all physicians, setting standards of medical practice in Alberta.
Applicants are encouraged to visit the CPSA website and undergo the online eligibility review. This is the best approach to determine whether applicants meet the criteria required by the CPSA. The review also determines what part of the Medical Register in Alberta the candidate may qualify for. For physicians who do not hold the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC), the following register may apply: Part 5 of the Special Register. – Provisional Practice. Upon completion of the online eligibility assessment, a candidate is given as series recommendations as to what they need to do next.
The Medical Council of Canada is responsible for promoting a uniform standard of qualification to practice medicine for all physicians across Canada. An International Medical Graduate (IMG), for the purpose of eligibility for the MCC examinations, must have completed all of the requirements for the final medical diploma in a university outside of Canada or the United States which is listed in either the International Medical Education Directory or the World Health Organization's World Directory of Medical Schools.
An IMG must have a valid pass standing on the MCC Evaluating Examination (MCC EE) as one of the eligibility criteria for the Qualifying Examination Part I. The exception is an IMG who is a specialist certified by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties may request an exemption from the MCCEE.
Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCC EE)
The MCC EE is the primary exam an IMG must write. Success at this examination is one of the conditions required for entrance to the Qualifying Examinations except for graduates holding a diploma from a medical school accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools or the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the U.S.A.
All first-time MCC EE applicants are required to submit their credential and identity documents to the Physician Credentials Registry of Canada (PCRC) for review and approval, as a first step and prior to being eligible to apply for the MCCEE. Note: applicants must have documents translated and notarized. The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta / Association provides translation services. Applicants are encouraged to be aware of: registration criteria, examination fees, registration deadlines and the turnaround time for exam results. Other costs may include preparation materials, travel etc. Recommended readings to prepare for the exam are available on the MCC website.
There is a time limitation of 30 months to obtain the LMCC for General Practitioners. Specialists are not required to do so. For family physicians: preference is given to those candidates with at least 24 months of approved training including a minimum of 8 weeks each of pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, emergency medicine and 12 weeks of family medicine For specialists: preference is given to those candidates with a minimum of 48 months postgraduate training in the area of their specialty and specialty certification from their home jurisdiction.
The following is a list of all Regional Health Authorities in Alberta.
R1 - Chinook Regional Health Authority
R2 - Palliser Health Region
R3 - Calgary Health Region
R4 - David Thompson Health Authority
R6 - Capital Health
R7 - Aspen Regional Health Authority
R8 - Peace Country Health
R9 - Northern Lights Health Region
Preliminary Assessment: prior to registration on the Special Register, the applicant must pass a preliminary assessment approved by the CPSA. These are typically arranged by the Alberta Health Services zone interested in recruiting the physician. The preliminary assessment occurs over a set period of time in which the physician’s medical knowledge is assessed to determine their preparedness to practice medicine in Alberta. The need for a preliminary assessment may be waived by the CPSA if the applicant has previous Canadian practice experience or will be in a supervised academic setting. The fees for preliminary assessments are the responsibility of the sponsor.
MCC Qualifying Examination Part I
IMGs who intend to obtain the qualification of Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) and thus inscription in the Canadian Medical Register must write and pass MCC QE Part I. Applicants must hold a valid pass standing on the MCC Evaluating Examination (MCC EE) or have been granted an exemption from MCC EE based on American or Canadian Board Certification. Source verification of medical degree credentials must be in progress or completed as well as the application form found on the MCC website. Recommended readings to prepare for the exam are available on the MCC website.
MCC Qualifying Examination Part II
The MCC QE Part II assesses the competence of candidates; specifically the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for medical licensure in Canada, following a minimum of 12 months of supervised postgraduate clinical medical training or postgraduate osteopathic clinical training. Recommended readings to prepare for the exam are available on the MCC website.
Directions for Immigrants offers study groups for Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II – OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam).
Visit the Study Groups page for more information on this service and eligibility criteria.
MCC Clinical Exam Preparation Weekend
This Clinical Exam Preparation Course offered through the University of Calgary Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development. Candidates must be eligible to write the MCC QE Part 2. Candidates are encouraged to be aware of the number of student seats, frequency course and fee.
Bredin Institute (Edmonton)
Bredin Institute offers informational, learning, and other types of support for international medical graduates (IMGs). Currently, over 300 immigrant doctors from across the province are accessing Bredin Institute’s services which include: orientation for medical licensure in Alberta, lectures, workshops, seminars on various medical/clinical subjects, training activities for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination, assistance with the preparation of medical CVs and personal statements and coaching for clinical employment/ residency interviews.
The majority of the services are offered at no cost to the IMGs registered with the Bredin Institute. Registration is open to the internationally-trained physicians who reside in Alberta and hold a status enabling them for employment in Canada.
(Note: Licensing bodies compare international education and experience to Canadian standards)
Physicians must complete:
- Pre-medicine studies at the university level.
- A Medical Doctor (MD) degree program at an approved North American medical school, or a school of medicine that is listed in the directory of the world health organization and has carried on a medical education program for more than 10 years and offers a medical training program of at least 48 months in duration.
- Post-graduate training in family medicine or another specialty.
In Alberta, MD programs are offered by the following institutions.
After successfully completing an MD program, there are two ways to become a registered practitioner with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta:
- Training for an additional two years to become a family physician.
- Training for an additional five to seven years to become a specialist.
Additional Occupational Information
For more information on occupational duties and wages, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service at www.alis.gov.ab.ca and search for Physician under Occupational Information.
Residency Training Program
The Alberta International Medical Graduate Program
University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine
The AIMG Program provides access into post graduate residency training in Family Medicine or Specialty disciplines for graduates of medical schools outside Canada or the United States who have resided in Alberta as of July 1st of the application year. Applicants are encouraged to be aware of eligibility criteria, for example, applicants must have written and passed the MCC EE (Evaluating Exam) MCC QE1 (Qualifying Exam Part 1) prior to applying to the AIMG Program. As well, applicants should be aware of the number student seats and frequency of program.
Language Training Program
Medical Communication Assessment Program
University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine
This program aims to assist immigrant International Medical Graduates to increase their language & communication skills for entry into the medical profession. It introduces information that is relevant to medical practice in Canada. Applicants are encouraged to be aware of eligibility criteria, for example, applicants must have written and passed the MCC EE (Evaluating Exam) MCC QE1 (Qualifying Exam Part 1) prior to applying to the program. As well, applicants should be aware of the number of student seats and frequency of program.
Clinical Opportunities for International Medical Graduates
Capital Health (in Edmonton)
IMGCP - International Medical Graduate Clinical Preceptorship
The IMGCP Program provides a clinical environment for the assessment and enhancement of clinical skills of IMGs who, once qualified, will become eligible to be retained by Capital Health to provide clinical coverage duties in areas where there are shortages of acute care coverage. Applicants are encouraged to be aware of eligibility criteria. For example, candidates must have successfully completed of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Qualifying Exam Part I (in addition to the MCC Evaluating Exam). As well, applicants should be aware of the number of preceptorship seats and frequency of program.
IMGSP - International Medical Graduate Surgical Preceptorship
The Program's mission is to provide IMGs with surgical training background, an opportunity for clinical and surgical assist skills, enhancement and performance evaluation within a supervised setting, in preparation for contract prospects in provider roles designed to address clinical coverage and surgical assist shortages in surgical services across the region. Candidates must have successfully completed of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Qualifying Exam Part I (in addition to the MCC Evaluating Exam).
(Note: These programs do not lead to full licensure; however they do provide successful graduates opportunities to work with an attending physician.)
Calgary Clinical Assistant Program (CCAP)
This program provides a transition to create a more successful cadre of international medical graduates as they proceed to residency programs. Clinical Assistants (CAs) would be blended into existing programs requiring supervised medical services and have the opportunity to actively participate in supervised interactions with patients and obtain hands-on experience in the Calgary health care system.
Applicants are encouraged to be aware of eligibility criteria. For example, candidates must have successfully completed the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Qualifying Exam Part I in addition to the MCC Evaluating Exam. As well, applicants should be aware of the number of student seats and frequency of program.
International Medical Graduate to Paramedic Bridging Program, Bredin Institute, Edmonton http://www.bredin.ab.ca
This international bridging program is designed to assist International Medical Graduates in becoming Emergency Medical Technologist – Paramedics (EMT-Ps). For more information visit the Bredin Institute website.
Applicants must successfully achieve the required passing score on one of the CPSA approved English proficiency tests. This includes: Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) TOEFL, IELTS and CanTEST.
To learn more about where to take an English language proficiency test in Alberta, visit English Language Proficiency Tests and Locations.
Alberta Medical Association (AMA)
The Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan
Professional Association of Residents of Alberta
Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP)
Canadian Medical Association
Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, Central Region (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba)
College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) website: www.cpsa.ab.ca
Last Updated: August 2009