Applying to work in USA/Canada

Original Editors - Claire Adams as part of the UCD Final Year Project: What Next?

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Seeking Employment in Canada[edit | edit source]


Canada Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators are the national federation of provincial/territorial physiotherapy regulators committed to the development and improvement of regulatory standards of practice for physiotherapists.

The goals of the Alliance are to:

  • Administer the Physiotherapy Competency Examination to determine a candidate's readiness for safe, effective, and independent physiotherapy practice.
  • Establish whether the education and qualifications of internationally educated applicants are substantially equivalent to those of Canadian educated physiotherapists.

They require internationally educated applicants to complete The Alliance's mandatory Credentialing process before taking the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE).
The Québec: L'ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec conducts its credentialing assessments for applicants seeking to work in Québec. Canada is bilingual (English and French). Some regulators require that you are fluent in the official language. It is important to check with the requirements of the regulator.

Step by step instructions are available on line: Applying for an Assessment.

Click here to download the forms you will need to print to apply.

Credentialing handbook details can be found here

Useful information[edit | edit source]

  • You do not need work experience, but if you have worked after graduation as a physiotherapist or physiotherapy assistant/aide with three months paid work, not volunteer experience your supervisor will be contacted and asked to complete a questionnaire. This will determine if you need to take a course to meet requirements. The transcripts and applications are reviewed when applying for credentialing (they look at courses and clinical placements completed to see if you need to take a course).
  • Your physiotherapy education must include a minimum of 1025 hours of supervised clinical placement.
  • You do not need a bachelor’s or master's degree before doing physiotherapy course.
  • It can take 4 – 22 weeks, from the time the complete application package is received, to get a response. The Alliance may also issue a notice to an applicant regarding delays in processing procedure due to increase volume of applications received.
  • PCE: written part- multiple choice questionnaire that tests your understanding of the principles and processes of physiotherapy practice. Clinical part- objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) that tests your ability to safely and effectively apply the principles and purposes of physiotherapy practice. For more information visit here.
  • What is required by the applicant:
    • Documents: (sent by mail or courier, do not accept faxed or emailed applications)
    • Document request form sent to School of physiotherapy (they complete it and post it to Canada) which includes course descriptions, transcripts, final course grades, reports on clinical placements, clinical hours.
    • Completed and signed application form, available to download here.
    • Fee (they must receive all fees before they will process your application).
    • Identity documents: two identical passport-sized photographs, full legal name, date of birth, signature. (Proof of legal name change if applicable.)
    • Notarised copy of your membership card or letter of eligibility to practice as a physiotherapist from either the physiotherapy regulatory agency in which you received your education, or the physiotherapy association or the ministry or department of health. (e.g. ISCP in Ireland)
    • Notarised copies of diplomas, degree and certificates from a) secondary education, b) university-level physiotherapy education and c) any other university-level education.
    • Notarised and certified translated copy of cover page, table of contents, abstract and bibliography or reference list.
    • Also send a copy of your application checklist.

The assessment is valid for two years from date of successful result letter. This means that your 1st attempt on the written component on PCE must occur within these 2 years.
If education and qualifications are not substantially equivalent, you are given 60 days from unsuccessful result letter to submit additional information or documents.
If don’t have any additional documents to submit they will let you know if you are eligible for their Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) program. Given 60 days to apply.

For more information regarding credentials and information regarding Provincial and Territorial Regulators click here.

Seeking Employment in USA[edit | edit source]


Individuals educated outside the U.S. who wish to work as physical therapists in the U.S. These individuals must possess the following:

  1. Permission to work in the U.S. - granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  2. Physical therapy license - issued by each jurisdiction in which the physical therapist intends to work. Applicant chooses the state in which they wish to work.

This form be completed online at the Foreign credentialing commission on physical therapy.

The Type 1 Comprehensive Credentials Review Includes:

  • Educational Credentials Review (Applicant applies to a credential evaluation agency for evaluation of educational credentials. The credential evaluation agency reviews the applicant’s documents and determines whether the applicant’s education is substantially equivalent to first professional PT degree in the United States. Need 60 credits and 90 pro credits.)
  • Verification of Eligibility to practice in Country of Education elsewhere if applicable
  • Verification of English Proficiency
  • The Type 1 Certificate is a visa screen and results in (USCIS) Healthcare Worker Certificate.

If don’t have enough credits: CLEP- college level exam programme: there is a computer based exam that assess college-level knowledge in several subject areas.

The credential evaluation agency sends the final report to the applicant and to state licensing authority. The decision to grant a license is at the discretion of the jurisdiction. FCCPT's educational credentials review is only an advisory report. The report indicates the deficiencies in the educational comparison. You may choose to supplement the educational documents based upon the review, and apply for a re-evaluation. When FCCPT get all the required documents credit evaluation begins. According to the FCCPT website this can take 16 weeks. The FCCPT will issue a Health Care Worker Certificate, (Type I). This is only a part of the requirements for application to the USCIS for a visa.

The state licensing authority reviews application for license (including the credential evaluation report) and determines whether or not to permit the applicant to sit for the NPTE. (national physical therapy examination)

NPTE: mcq based. Register for in on FSBPT website. The jurisdiction licensing authority will approve your eligibility and notify FSBPT. For more information click here

FSBPT web link

  • The state makes a decision as to whether the applicant can sit for the NPTE.
  • If approved, the applicant sits for NPTE. (FSBPT federation of state boards of physical therapy- develops and administers NPTE)
    a. If not approved, the applicant must supplement education to meet state requirements.
    b. A re-evaluation of the educational credentials may be required.
  • When the applicant passes the NPTE, most state boards approve the license.
    a. Some may require a period of supervised practice before being licensed.
    b. Some require a Social Security Number before they issue the license.
  • If the applicant fails the NPTE, they must retake exam until they earn a passing score.