I got to know a Canadian physical therapist (PT) by chance. We talked about physical therapy in each country. I am interested in Canadian physical therapy, so I asked many questions of her.
Q1. Is it hard to be a PT in Canada?
In the case of the University of Alberta, undergraduate scores of 90% are a criterion for applying to a department of PT. In addition, there is an interview, and then students have to get a score of 90%.
Although you might think "Is the University of Alberta especially hard?", most PT departments in Canada are difficult to enrol in because there are only 15 graduate schools (The entry level of PT is graduate school in Canada).
On the other hand, there are more than 254 schools in Japan. It seems that Canadian PTs' level is higher than Japanese ones'.
Q2. Is it possible for Canadian PTs to work in other countries?
A. It's probably impossible.
It was surprising. Because occupational therapists (OT) can work in any countries if they pass linguistic exam, I thought that Canadian PTs can work in English-speaking lands.
But actually, it appears that Canadian PTs also have to pass a rewritten test when they hope to work in other countries.
Q3. How many students are in the department?
A. PT: 110 students (Max), OT: 150 students. The ratio of male : female: PT 5:5, OT 1:9.
I was surprised because the number of OT students is more than that PT students. It's the opposite for rehabilitation faculty in Japan.
This tendency of the ratio is similar to Japanese departments'.
Q4. How is clinical study in Canada?
A. There are 2 times in second grade at hospitals or clinics.
They don't have to write many reports. She told me it was a good opportunity and she is satisfied with her studies.
I thought it's completely opposite to PTs' clinical study in Japan. Japanese PTs have to write too many reports, so many PTS cannot sleep enough. Also, some supervisors are too strict. Actually, our clinical study is called "Like a company that habitually flouts labor standards".
I hope our clinical study will change to one like Canadians' someday.
Q5. Do you have a national exam?
A. Yes. There is a written exam and practical exam.
If PTS get a PT licence, they can work anywhere in Canada. (Probably, except for Quebec)
Q6. How about courses of graduates of PTS?
A. Approximately half of them work in a hospital, and others work in a clinic.
Clinics' wage structure is a commission system. On the other hand, hospital's wage structure is a monthly salary plan.
I felt although Canadian PT education (2.5 years) is shorter than Japanese one (3-4 years), their level is higher than ours, especially assessment skill and PT approach.
In addition, I thought they can consider PT approach in connection with basic knowledge and assessment well.
I did not ask more concrete topics about clinical sites, because she is still a PTS. But she was confident taking about PT, so I was surprised and respected her. When I was a PTS, I couldn't talk about my country's PT like her.
Thanks to her, I came to be interested in Canadian PT more. I may think I want to work in Canada as a PT someday.