How to get a residency in Canada? How to practice medicine in Canada? what to do after passing all required Canadian exams? what are the pathways to practice medicine in Canada? these are some questions every IMG has on his mind considering the country they want residency in or want to practice medicine in. This article will answer these questions in Canada’s language.
Before we start, know that if you want to know information about any specific statement, see if it is highlighted and click it. It will link you to a separate article for the specific word
Some Harsh Facts
Basically, it is very difficult for IMGs to get a permanent or even temporary residency in Canada. This is because there are relatively very fewer spots for IMGs to fill in.
Pathways to Practice Medicine in Canada
Medical school in Canada
The best way at first would be if you could get your medical degree from a Canadian medical school, that’s your best option but considering that they are highly costly and require much higher competition as you have to pass the MCAT with high scores and there are only around 20 medical schools in Canada. If you seriously want to consider this option then there is another option, you can apply for a clinical clerkship in a medical school for 2 years, upon passing which you will be a Canadian medical graduate. The programs are listed below
- McGill Faculty of Medicine – M.D.,C.M. program for International Medical Graduates (IMG) who are residents of Québec
- Dalhousie University IMG clerkship program Only open to newcomers to Canada (and residents of Nova Scotia).
come to Canada after post graduation or after training some time (usually 2 years) as a general practitioner. This increases your chances of practising medicine in Canada and you may be eligible for the three exams that form your core CV.
- The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada exam
- Medical Council of Canada’s Therapeutics Decision Making (TDM)
- Practice Readiness Assessment (PRA)
TDM is only for those IMGs interested in family medicine. The TDM exam standardizes the selection process into the PRA. All info regarding TDM can be found by clicking it. TDM is solely for those who want to practice family medicine. The following steps must take place after your TDM exams to get a membership with the College of Physicians and surgeons of Alberta (Canada)
The Royal College exams are for all other specialties (not including family medicine). This Pathway is called the Practice Eligibility Route to certification for specialists (PER).
You first have to go through the (PRA) exams and then take your Royal College exams. Specialists that don’t get to work in their respective areas may occasionally be allowed to practice as primary care physicians after they pass the PRA and Royal College exams. Depending on the province where you receive your post-graduate training you may get a permanent or temporary license.
The sites listed below provide more info regarding the PRA exams
- NAC-PRA: A list of provincial PRA programs
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario – IMG with US Postgraduate Training and Certification
- Manitoba – IMG pathways
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia – IMGs
- SIPPA – Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment
IMGs (International medical graduates)
This is the most difficult and stressful of options for an IMG. If you are not a Canadian medical school graduate or do not have 24 months post-graduate training or have not worked as a general practitioner and are a fresh candidate wanting to get to Canada (Passing just your MBBS or equivalent undergraduate degree), This is your only way, and believe me it is a hard way to take. Do not demotivate yourself you can still do it. This Pathway is the famous Medical Council of Canada exams pathway. it includes the following three tests:
- MCCEE (Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination): Before 2018 this was to be taken necessarily before all the other exams but now it can be taken in any order but is still a necessity. They are phasing this MCCEE examination out after 2018 because the MCCQE exam will be available worldwide and IMGs will not have to take the MCCEE exam after that.
- NAC-OSCE (National Assessment Collaboration Examination): It is an Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). This and MCCEE is only taken by IMGs.
- MCCQE Part 1 (Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination): This exam has two component, an MCQs component, and Clinical decision making.
- MCCQE Part 2: Not compulsory for residency, you can take this during your stay or residency.
The idea here is that after you pass your NAC-OSCE and MCCEE exams, You are eligible to apply for a residency but you must pass your IELTS exam too, with 7-7.5 bands overall in all subjects.
Note: IELTS nowadays is essential for any foreign residency or examination.
Once you have NAC-OSCE, MCCEE, and IELTS. You can now apply for residency through Canadian Residency Matching Services (CaRMS). Even though you are applying through it, still, each province has their own criteria, described here CaRMS provincial criteria.
Now, If your residency application gets accepted by a program, You are called upon for an interview, The more programs you apply for the higher the chances of getting an interview and success. After the interview, you are asked to rank all you interviewed programs in order of preference. Then they match your preferences to your programs and the one that matched to your program, you get it. After getting matched the program may assess you for usually 4-6 weeks and if you pass that your residency is confirmed.
Clinical Assistant Pathway
There is another way you can work in Canada is by applying for a clinical assistant. This way you will always be under supervision but will be well enumerated and respected. If you wish to work independently then this option is not for you, but if you have tried everything and are still desperate to get to Canada then this is definitely for you.
To summarize the article look at the diagram below, This would recall you whatever you just read
This was all about pathways to practice medicine in Canada. Here is an article on tips and tricks for MCC exams for IMGs. Leave your queries or questions in the comments below and they will surely be answered. Thankyou