English Language Proficiency


As of July 1, 2019, the CPSA’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements have been updated to align with the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC) Model Standards of Registration.

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Candidates registering for medical practice in Alberta must provide evidence of English language proficiency (ELP), unless exempt. Please review our detailed ELP requirements and exemptions below.

Current Testing Standard

Unless exempt, candidates need to complete IELTS (International English Language Testing System) academic version within 24 months before submitting their application to CPSA. Candidates must score at least 7.0 in each component of a single test. CPSA must be able to verify the test results with the issuing organization


A candidate is exempt from the English Language Proficiency Testing Standard if:

their undergraduate or postgraduate medical education experience is in a country where English is the first and native language*,

more than 50% of their undergraduate and postgraduate (including residency and clinical fellowship training) medical education was taken in a country where English is the first and native language* or

if they are in independent practice in Canada or in a country where English is the first and native language* and have already met ELP requirements before registering with their regulatory body.

If a candidate has been accepted into a postgraduate training program in Alberta but does not meet one of the exemptions above, CPSA will accept confirmation from their university that they have successfully completed the university’s ELP evaluation and is competent in English.**

*Countries where English is a first and native language: Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada (Quebec and New Brunswick may be exceptions), Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, US Virgin Islands Caribbean Islands: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Grenadines, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago

**This applies to physicians accepted into postgraduate residencies, fellowships and visiting elective training through the PGME offices. Visiting elective trainees are exempt from ELP testing for the first 90 days. Candidates will be exempt from any requirement for future testing if CPSA receives university confirmation that they have successfully completed the university’s process to evaluate competency in ELP.


We may waive verification of results if the candidate’s current medical regulatory authority (MRA) provides the following 3 things to the CPSA. The candidate must request that the MRA provide this information directly to CPSA.

  1. confirmation that the applicant showed evidence of English language proficiency in order to enter training or practice in that jurisdiction,
  2. a description of the English language requirement, including the necessary scores on any required English language test(s) and
  3. a copy of the candidate’s test results that were accepted at the time.