Graduate Certificate in Bridging to Canadian Physical Therapy Practice


The Graduate Bridging Certificate program runs once a year from August to the following August. This 12 month program, offered in a blended format, consists of five courses: two academic courses, two concurrent mentoring courses, and one clinical placement course. Our delivery format supports adult learners to manage the majority of their study time at the time of day that best fits their needs. The on-campus lab component takes place once every two weeks. 

The Bridging Certificate program also includes a one week full-time academic introduction (August) and one mandatory clinical placement which is 6 weeks full-time. As well, a physical therapist practicing in the local community is assigned to each IEPT as a mentor and guide for learning integration and application. Mentors will provide access to clinical experiences 3-6 hours a week during the time the academic courses are running. The mentorship experience will take place during regular working hours. Clinical placement is offered during the months of June, July or August. The Bridging Certificate program will take a minimum of 12 months to complete. The timing of the clinical placement may extend the total time to complete.

Progress in the program will be assessed using written and practical exam formats.

FAQs for Students and Mentors:

Eligibility for Students



  • How do I obtain a license to practice Physical Therapy in Alberta?

    Physiotherapy Alberta – College and Association is the organization responsible for the licensing of Physical Therapists in Alberta. Information on how to register as a Physical Therapist is available on their website. In order to be registered as a Physical Therapist you must successfully complete Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE).

    The Physiotherapy Competency Exam is administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators. In order to be eligible to write the PCE you must first credential through the Alliance. This process takes approximately 5- 8 weeks to complete. Once the process is finished you will be given instructions on your next steps.


  • Are the students covered under the Affiliation Agreement that my site has with the University of Alberta?

    Yes, Bridging Certificate program students are covered under the same affiliation agreement as our U of A MScPT students.

  • Are the students expected to have a caseload while they are on their Mentor placement?

    The amount of hands on involvement from the student is up the discretion of the mentor. The mentor should consider the student’s behavior, performance and learning goals for the course when deciding the amount of hands on student involvement. The expectation is that students will start out with observing the contextual factor, progressing from shadow-type activities, and then move to hands on care carrying a portion of the caseload for each visit.

  • How does a Mentor differ from being a clinical supervisor?

    A mentor is different from a preceptor or clinical supervisor in that mentorship “is less instructional, focuses less on supervision and assessment of performance and more on positively influencing through role modeling and guidance”. (The Canadian Nurses Association Achieving Excellence in Professional Practice – a Guide to Preceptorship)

    The mentorship model is a mentor-led clinical experience that provides a focused introduction to the Canadian workplace environment. It allows the Internationally Educated Physiotherapist (IEPT), through both observation and participation, to gain knowledge of and exposure to the role and scope of practice of a physiotherapist, and the continuum of care within the Alberta health system.

    The mentor model refers specifically to the clinical practice experience that will be offered to the Bridging Certificate program students integrated into two courses in the program. This is a new model of clinical experience for therapists in Alberta, one which involves significantly fewer hours per week but over a longer period of time, and ongoing feedback rather than formal evaluation, (i.e. no Assessment of Clinical Experience or ACP type tool).

  • How much time per week, outside of usual clinical hours, would I be expected to devote to students?

    Mentors are required to attend 1 full day in-person on the academic site in first week of the first course (last week of August) for orientation to the program and meeting with their assigned student. The students will spend a total of ~ 40 hours per course (6 hours every 2 weeks) at the mentor’s clinical site. The actual format of the 6 hours may vary, i.e. ½ day per week or 1 day every 2 weeks.

    Mentors need to be available for weekly or bi-weekly email or phone contact with instructor and/or course coordinator and available for contact from the student and / or instructor as per mentor’s schedule.

  • I'm considering being a mentor for the Bridging Certificate program. What are the roles and responsibilities of being a mentor?

    In the Bridging Certificate program, mentors will monitor the progress of the student according to the module learning objectives created in class and the objectives for student learning. The mentor ensures that students adhere to professional workplace behaviors and clinical site specific policies and procedures. They also provide the student with the cultural context of Canadian PT practice, integrating them into the social culture and facilitating transition from previous work contexts.

  • Is there a formal evaluation form that mentors have to complete?

    The mentor model requires no formal, comprehensive evaluation. As this clinical experience is part of a larger academic course, evaluation consists of ongoing feedback and confirmation of achievement of module goals. Evaluation will be based on specific learning goals from each module (for example, conduct a patient interview or perform a cardiorespiratory assessment). Module goals will be communicated to the mentors for monitoring during the clinical visits.  At the end of each course, a short narrative assessment will be required in a verbal consultation with the course coordinator and/or instructor.

  • What if I am away on holidays when my student is supposed to attend my site?

    The mentor will be accountable for the student at all times while they are on their designated mentor led clinical experience (6 hours/2 weeks) but this responsibility can be shared amongst colleagues and is often a great experience for the students. Each session does not have to be with the designated mentor only. A number of our IEPTs complete mentorships at an acute care hospital where the student is able to experience many different areas of practice

  • Where are IEPTs from and what are their past experiences?

    IEPTs come from a number of cultural backgrounds. Many students in the program come from India, Philippines, Nigeria, South America or Eastern Europe. Practice experience varies widely. Some have practiced only in their home country while others have worked in several other countries on their journey to Canada. Some have many years of clinical experience and some immigrated to Canada immediately after finishing their training. Many have worked as PT Assistants or Health Care Aids (HCAs) in Canada. Many IEPTs were educated and have worked in a very different model of care than what we are used to in Canada; one where directed practice and the medical model of care are the norm. Typically the IEPTs require knowledge and skills in the areas of the biopsychosocial model of care, evidence informed practice, client-centered care, clinical reasoning, autonomous practice and inter-professional teamwork. Understanding the cultural and workforce expectations in Canada are crucial to their success.

  • Where can I get more information about being a mentor?

    For further information, please contact:
    Michelle Barnes

  • Will the students have their clinical placement with the same Mentor?

    The final course in the program (REHAB 524) is a 6-week full time clinical placement at the end of two terms of courses. This will be a regular clinical placement i.e. fulltime with full evaluation of performance. Normally, the mentor will not be the Clinical Instructor for this placement.