In my last post, I talked about the different pathways for Canadian IMGs to get into medical practice and one of them was by applying for post-graduate training. Today, I’ll be elaborating on the steps involved in getting a post-graduate medical residency.

1. Become a permanent resident at some point during your application process. Post-graduate training positions are only open to Canadian permanent residents or citizens. (Except you are being sponsored by your home country). Read more about this HERE.

2. Register on the Physicians Apply website. You need to pay a one-time non-refundable fee of $280 to do this. After payment, you will have access to your Physicians Apply Web Account.

3. Get your documents verified by Physicians Apply. To do this, you need to have them notarized and then sent to Medical Council of Canada (MCC). You will find more details on the Physicians Apply website. It’s best to use tracked mail. Cost per document is $ 160. The type of documents to be verified include:

  • Medical School Degree
  • Medical School Transcript
  • Identification document (e.g National Passport, Canadian PR card, Canadian driver’s license)
  • House job/Internship Certificate
  • Specialist Certificate

4. After your Medical School Degree and Identification Document have been verified, you can then proceed to register for Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE). You can verify your other documents later.

5. When you register for it, you have to wait until you get a confirmation after which you pick a suitable exam date and center. The MCCEE costs $ 1780. It is computer-based and if you are outside Canada, you have a choice from over 500 Prometric test centers across the globe. Take note that you need to do your MCCEE at least 19 months before your desired resident start date. Residency starts July of every year. So, for example, if you want to start residency in July 2019, you should aim to apply for the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) in October/November 2018 (otherwise called the 2018/2019 CaRMS application period). That means you need to do your MCCEE at least by November 2017. Aim for a minimum score of 324 even though the passing score is 250. This will make your score more competitive.

6. When you pass the MCCEE, you can then proceed to register for either the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I (MCCQE1) or National Assessment Collaboration OSCE (NAC OSCE). You cannot participate in the CaRMS if you have not written and passed your NAC exam. What this means is that you need to have passed your NAC before the CaRMS program selection period opens (which is usually around mid-October annually). The NAC exam is currently offered twice a year in March and September, and although the passing score is 65, you should aim for a minimum score of 74. The costs for NAC and QE1 are $ 2,470 and $ 1,105 respectively.

The QE1 and NAC-OSCE can only be taken in Canada but since the QE1 is a computer-based test like the EE, there are plans for it to be taken internationally. See MCCevolution for more details.

Please note that currently, you need to pass the MCCEE before you can write the NAC-OSCE or MCCQE1. From 2018, you can sit for the MCCEE or NAC in any order you prefer. You will still have to pass the MCCEE before being eligible for the MCCQE1. However, the last session of the MCCEE will be written in November 2018.

7. Language proficiency exam. This is also a pre-requisite for a CaRMS application and you need to pass it no earlier than 15 months before the CARMS selection period opens. For example, if you are applying for CaRMS in October 2018, it’s advisable not to write it earlier than July of the previous year. Although most programs accept only IELTS academic, there are a few programs which accept TOEFL. However, if you only want to write one language exam, opt for the IELTS. Furthermore, take note that you need to have a minimum score of 7 in each component in IELTS to be considered.

8. Province-specific residency entry programs. Some provinces require you to undergo some further assessment before you can apply for a post-graduate position in their province. I’ll list the ones I know. There are more details on the  (CaRMS) website.

9. Apply for CARMS and choose the programs you are interested in. The more programs you apply for, the better your chances of getting an interview. The CaRMS application process deserves its own post.

10. Programs that like your application will call you for an interview.

11. If you impress the interviewers, you will be placed on a ranking list and then you might be matched to one of the programs that interviewed you.

12. If you get matched, then this means you have been accepted to start your residency and you will proceed to the next step.

13. Pre-residency orientation/evaluation. Some provinces (e.g Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario) require you to pass through a further assessment to evaluate your medical skills, capabilities, and ability to fit into their residency programs. I have heard sad stories of how some people get kicked out at this stage. May this not happen to anyone reading this! Imagine getting so close and then you get thrown out.

14. Pass your evaluation and start residency officially! Yay!

In future posts, I will talk more about some provincial residency entry programs/assessments.

More Notes:

  • The MCCEE and NAC exams are only taken by IMGs but the QE1 is taken by IMGs and Canadian medical graduates alike.
  • There is another exam called the MCCQE2 which is not compulsory until after you get admitted into residency. You can do it if you’ve passed the three compulsory ones and you are waiting for your CARMS process to come through. Some argue that it increases your chances of getting admitted into residency. When you pass it, you are given a Certificate called LMCC. Unfortunately, you can’t use this to practice medicine in Canada unless you have been approved by either the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College). However, if you don’t mind going to Australia to practice medicine, you can use this Certificate to apply for registration to practice there! Read more about this HERE.
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