Specialist Physician



Who is the licensing body responsible for Specialists in Alberta?

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) is the licensing authority responsible for licensing all physicians, including specialist physicians, setting standards of medical practice in Alberta.

What are the options to become licensed as a Physician in Alberta?

There are two basic routes that internationally educated physicians can follow to become licensed in Canada: Residency or Practice Ready Assessment. Please note that each province may have slight variations from the process provided here.  


Upon completion of the following requirements, you may be prepared to compete for residency across Canada:

MCC Evaluating Examination 

MCC Qualifying Exam I 


IELTS/7 or TOEFL /24 

MMI to compete in Alberta (check other provinces to see their requirements) 

Practice Ready Assessment 

Upon completion of the following requirements, you may be eligible for a Practice Ready Assessment:

Evaluating Examination 

IELTS/7 or TOEFL /24 

Note: Please read provincial requirements carefully, as the above are basic requirements. 

What tools are available to help me determine my eligibility for Practice Ready Assessment (PRA)?

Applicants are encouraged to visit the CPSA website, carefully read the criteria for registration, and perform their own assessment of their eligibility by using the Self-Assessment flow charts before deciding to submit an online eligibility review. This is the best approach to determine whether applicants meet the criteria required by the CPSA. 

Note: Practice Ready Assessments are conducted by the provinces. Candidates are encouraged to check other provinces’ licencing body websites, as well.

What is the role of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC)?

The Medical Council of Canada is responsible for all assessments: 

• MCC Evaluating Examination (MCC EE) 

• MCC Qualifying Examination (MCC QE), Part I 


• MCC Qualifying Examination, Part II

What is the process to Residency?

Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCC EE) 

 All first-time MCC EE applicants are required to visit the physiciansapply.ca website as a first step and prior to being eligible to apply for the MCC EE. 

The MCC EE is the first exam an IMG must write. Success in this examination is one of the conditions required for entrance to the Qualifying Examination I and the NAC OSCE. 

Note: You may write the MCC EE exam overseas. Visit the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Exam webpage for more information. 

Note: 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. 

MCC Qualifying Examination Part I 

IMGs who intend to compete for residency or to obtain the qualification of Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) should write and pass MCC QE Part I. Applicants must hold a valid pass standing on the MCC Evaluating Examination (MCC EE) in order to write the MCC QE Part I. 

Note: When applying to CARMS, residency candidates are not required to hold a pass on the QE1 in order to compete for residency in most programs/provinces; however, candidates who have passed their QE1 may be considered more competitive for residency than those without; therefore, candidates are encouraged to write and pass this exam. 


A pass on the NAC OSCE is required to compete for residency across Canada. Once you pass the exam, the mark will stand. You will not be allowed to increase your mark by rewriting the exam. 

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. 

Note: The MCC QE II is not required to compete for residency. 

Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) 

The MMI is required for to be considered for residency in Alberta. 

The MMI assesses the ability of candidates to apply general knowledge to issues relevant to the culture and society in which you will be practicing. 

NOTE: As of 2015, candidates who wish to compete for residency in the Province of Alberta (and who meet all other provincial criteria) will be required to repeat the MMI. Please see the AIMG website for more information.

What resources are available to help me with exams?


Directions for Immigrants – Exam Preparation 

Directions for Immigrants offers study groups for the MCC EE, MCC QE Part I, and NAC OSCE. The aim of the study groups is to facilitate focused learning and provide a learning environment in which Canadian medical content can be explored, discussed, and modeled with practicing Canadian physicians and senior residents.

Visit the Study Groups page for more information on this service and eligibility criteria. 


Directions for Immigrants – Multiple Mini Interview Preparation 

Directions for Immigrants offers workshops to help internationally educated physicians prepare for the Multiple Mini Interviews. Contact your coach for further information. 

Directions for Immigrants – Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Personal Statement (PS) Preparation Workshops

Directions for Immigrants offers CV preparation workshops to support IMGs to create effective CVs for their residency application. Contact your coach for further information. 

Directions for Immigrants – Individual Coaching and Preparation 

In addition to study groups, Directions for Immigrants provides one-on-one coaching to support IMGs to prepare for their residency interviews and personal statements (PS). Please call the Directions for Immigrants’ office at 403-770-5155 to arrange an appointment. 


AIMGA offers moderated study groups to help IMGs prepare for their medical exams. All Study Groups are moderated by volunteer IMGs. AIMGA organizes Study Groups for MCC EE, MCC QE1, MCC QE2, and OSCE.

Bredin Institute offers informational, learning, and other types of support for international medical graduates (IMGs). Immigrant doctors from across the province access 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. 

Directions for Immigrants - Interpersonal Skills Training 

Developed for health care professionals, this facilitated study group will focus on the essence of effective communication in a health care setting. Learn more about Canadian workplace culture, developing effective listening skills and other techniques designed to help you succeed in the workplace. Visit the Study Groups page for more information.

What alternative employment pathways are available for internationally educated Physicians?

Alternate Employment Pathway for International Medical Graduates 

The ACSAP provides IMGs the opportunity to compete for clinical employment within the Province of Alberta as either a clinical or a surgical assistant. This employment pathway does not lead to the full licensure, but provides high level clinical employment under supervision while holding a restricted practice license issued by SPSA. Baseline requirements are a pass on the MCCEE, MCCQE1, IELTS/7 on all benchmarks or TOEFL/24 on all benchmarks. You must also have one year post-graduate training.

What are the accepted English language proficiency tests and where can I be tested?

Applicants must achieve the required passing score on one of the CPSA approved English proficiency tests: TOEFL 24 or IELTS 7. 

To learn more about where to take an English language proficiency test in Alberta, visit English Language Proficiency Tests and Locations.

What information resources are available for Physicians in Alberta?

Vital Links 

For more information, visit the following websites: 

Useful Links

Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut – 867-982-7668 

Department of Health and Social Services, Government of Northwest Territories – 867-920-8058 

Physician’s Assistant 

Internationally Educated Doctors may wish to investigate the alternate career path of becoming a Physician’s Assistant. For more information, visit Canadian Association of Physicians’ Assistants

Note: The Physician’s Assistant program does not lead to becoming a doctor in Canada. 

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario 

University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba 

University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario

Additional Occupational Information

For more information on occupations, duties and wages, visit