Becoming a Physiotherapist in Canada: 6 Basic Steps
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that is rapidly gaining prominence in Canada. The demand for qualified and experienced physiotherapists is increasing every year. According to the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, over 20,000 registered physiotherapists work across the country, helping people recover from injuries, illnesses, and surgeries. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a physiotherapist in Canada, here are six basic steps that you need to follow.
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step towards becoming a physiotherapist in Canada is to complete a bachelor’s degree. According to the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR), a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for admission to a physiotherapy program. Most universities in Canada offer undergraduate programs in health sciences, kinesiology, or related fields, which can prepare you for a career in physiotherapy.
Step 2: Gain Experience in the Field
To enhance your chances of being accepted into a physiotherapy program, it is recommended that you gain experience in the field. This may include volunteering at a hospital or physiotherapy clinic, working as a rehabilitation assistant, or shadowing a practicing physiotherapist. This experience will not only make your application more competitive but also give you an insight into the profession.
Step 3: Obtain a Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy
Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree and gained some experience in the field, you can apply for a Master of Science in Physiotherapy program. CAPR has approved 15 physiotherapy programs across Canada that lead to a master’s degree in physiotherapy. These programs typically take two years to complete and include both theoretical and clinical components.
Step 4: Complete a Jurisprudence Exam
After completing your master’s degree in physiotherapy, you must pass a jurisprudence exam to become a registered physiotherapist in Canada. The jurisprudence exam is designed to test your understanding of Canadian laws, regulations, and ethical standards related to physiotherapy practice. The exam is administered by the provincial regulatory body where you wish to practice.
Step 5: Obtain Licensure
Upon passing the jurisprudence exam, you need to obtain licensure from the regulatory body in the province where you wish to practice. Each province and territory has its own regulatory body that is responsible for setting standards and issuing licenses to physiotherapists. You may have to meet additional requirements besides passing the jurisprudence exam, such as language proficiency or clinical competence assessments.
Step 6: Pursue Continuing Education
Even after obtaining licensure, the learning never stops for a physiotherapist. To maintain your registration, you must participate in continuing education activities that help you keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. Most regulatory bodies require licensed physiotherapists to complete a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) every year.
Q: How long does it take to become a physiotherapist in Canada?
A: It typically takes 6-7 years to become a registered physiotherapist in Canada, including a 4-year bachelor’s degree and a 2-year master’s degree in physiotherapy.
Q: Do I need to complete a standardized test to get into a physiotherapy program?
A: Most physiotherapy programs in Canada require applicants to complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). However, some universities may waive this requirement if you have a strong academic record.
Q: Can I work as a physiotherapist in any province with my license?
A: No, you need to obtain licensure from the regulatory body in the province where you wish to practice as a physiotherapist. However, you can apply for licensure in other provinces through a process known as inter-jurisdictional practice mobility.
Q: How much do physiotherapists in Canada earn?
A: According to the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, the median salary for physiotherapists in Canada is $76,876 per year. However, salaries can vary based on factors such as years of experience, location, and industry.