How to Apply for Independent Practice License in Alberta

Courtney Marie L.
Sep. 1, 2023
9-minute read

Before you start your independent practice in Alberta, you need to make sure you’re fully licensed to legally practice unsupervised medicine in Canada. Generally, it’s best to apply at least 3 months before you start working in order to make sure you receive your license in time. We've broken down the steps to gain licensure and provided helpful tips along the way.

How to apply for your Independent Practice License

Applying for your provincial medical license is done through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA). Having this license is what lets you diagnose and treat patients, order investigations, obtain and write prescriptions and essentially practice medicine.

You need to make sure you meet the following (non-negotiable) requirements:

  1. Medical degree
  2. In independent practice or a continuous formal postgraduate training program*,
    • in the discipline of medicine in which you intend to practise in Alberta, within three years preceding application;
  3. Postgraduate training requirements* for Family/General or Specialty Practice, as identified below; AND
  4. Therapeutics Decision Making (TDM) exam
    • applicable if you are a Family Medicine International Medical Graduate

  5. Criminal Record Check or Police Certificate
    • from every jurisdiction you have ever lived (90+ days) within 10 years of your application or dating back to your 18th birthday. We do not accept vulnerable sector checks.

Requirements for Family Medicine/General Practice

The general register is if you hold both the LMCC from the Medical Council of Canada and the CCFP or Royal College of Canada Certification.

If you do not have those credentials you may still be eligible for the provisional register with an assessment.

General Register:

  • Successful completion of a Family Medicine residency in Canada and both the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) and Certification in the College of Family Physicians (CCFP)

Provisional Register:

You must have one of the following:

  1. Successful completion of a Family Medicine residency in Canada and one of the LMCC or CCFP; or
  2. Successful completion of a continuous family medicine postgraduate training program* of at least 24 months duration outside of Canada containing 4 months of community-based primary care and a minimum of eight weeks each of three of the following: Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Surgery, and Internal Medicine; or
  3. Satisfactory completion of a continuous postgraduate training program* recognized by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and a passing score on the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination. **See important changes to the MCCEE coming soon.** Also, if your training was completed in the USA, UK, Ireland, or Australia, you are encouraged to apply to the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) for certification without examination via the Recognized Training and Certification Outside Canada alternate pathway to Family Medicine certification before submitting a Review of Qualifications);

In addition, you must also have the following:

Requirements for Specialty Practice

General Register:

  • Successful completion of a Specialty residency in Canada and both the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) and specialty certification of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCP/S(C)).

Provisional Register:

You must have one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Specialty residency in Canada and one of the LMCC or FRCP/S(C); or
  • A postgraduate program of specialty training* outside of Canada of at least 48 (continuous) months duration and acceptable specialty certification from the jurisdiction of training; or
  • A postgraduate program of specialty training* outside of Canada of at least 36 (continuous) months duration that is substantively equivalent to Canadian based training, and acceptable specialty certification from the jurisdiction of the training (may be eligible for the Provisional Register as a non-specialist); Note: does not apply to radiology/diagnostic imaging.

In addition you must also have the following:

CPSA Fees to Expect

  • Review of Qualifications (non-refundable) $200
  • Registering in Alberta upon successful application:  $800
  • Practice Permit fee:  $1,960
  • Total: $2,960

For a complete guide on how to submit claims for refurbishment in Alberta check out our Alberta Health Billing Guide.

Steps to Apply for Your Independent Practice License in Alberta

Most university programs will help you with this step, but many doctors (especially those switching between provinces) find it complicated. Therefore, if you’d like to double check you’ve got everything in line, make sure you’ve completed ALL the steps below (in the order that they appear).

Step 1: Create a ‘PhysiciansApply’ Account & Start the Application

Applications for independent practice registration must be submitted through physiciansapply. If you don’t already have an account, create one with your university email. Once inside, click on “Application for Medical Registration.” in Canada. Then select “AB - Review of Qualifications.”

Step 2: Upload Your Documents (Review of Qualifications)

Once you’ve created an account, you will need to upload your qualifications for CPSA to review. Essentially, this is a “pre-screening” and you cannot apply for independent practice without getting their approval first. Generally, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Practice Intentions

    • Select an intended scope of practice.
    • Practice Intent: Select components of intended professional activity, select long-term;  indicate intended start date; write a little blurb about your practice intentions.
    • Intended practice location: Complete this section to the best of your ability, keep it general if nothing is organized yet.
  • Personal Information
  • Contact Information
  • Medical Education
  • Canadian Credentials

Step 3: Get Approval and Complete the Application

If you’re deemed eligible to apply, you’ll receive an acceptance email from the college and be granted access to complete the application through physiciansapply. When you’re finished your application, it will be sent electronically to the CPSA.

Step 4: Acceptance

The College will evaluate your application and notify you as to whether or not you qualify for registration in Alberta. If you do, you will be provided with further instructions and details regarding completion of:

  • An assessment (if required)
  • Final registration documents,
  • Registration appointment (in person or online, at the discretion of the Registrar), and
  • Payment of applicable fees and taxes.

You will then be issued a practice permit and you will be entitled to practice medicine in Alberta!

Renewing Your Alberta Independent Practice License

You need to review your Alberta Independent Practice License annually by December 31st. It’s recommended to renew it by December 1st to avoid late penalties and possible suspension.

If you’ve been out of practice for more than 3 years then you’ll need to re-apply for registration.

To re-apply you must:

  1. pay the annual fees,

  2. have liability coverage/insurance, and

  3. complete the online annual renewal form and submit it directly to the CPSA.

Note: The application process is meant for physicians applying for independent registration for the first time only and you cannot use it to renew your license. You need to submit the renewal form to

The Next Step…

If you’re a new physician, a locum, or coming from out-of-province, then the next step is to apply for your your AHCIP billing number. . This is the number that that you’ll need to submit claims to AHCIP for payment.

Claim Your $150 Credit!

Get a $150 Credit when you sign up for Dr.Bill*. No credit card required.
*Terms and conditions apply.

Claim Your Credit

How to Apply for Alberta Health Practitioner & BA Number

Related Blog

In order to submit Alberta Health claims and get reimbursed for your services, you need to have an Alberta Health Practitioner number and a Business Arrangement (BA) number. You cannot submit claims to AHCIP without having both of these numbers.

Courtney Marie L
Writer and editor with a demonstrated history of working in the Canadian healthcare sector and the publishing industry. Skilled in writing, editing, proofreading, Spanish to English translation, and teaching English as a second language. Strong communications professional with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Science from the University of Manitoba.
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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBCx. or its affiliates.

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