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Certification & exams

The Royal College is the national professional association that oversees the medical education of specialists in Canada. Certification through the Royal College represents the highest standard for speciality medical education. Recognition of training and/or practice by the Royal College is often required for licensure to practice as a specialist in Canada.

Certification process overview

There are many routes to certification, but in most cases, you need to write a Royal College exam. Most pathways start with a training and/or practice assessment by the Royal College. This ensures you have met specialty-specific training and/or practice requirements to register for the examination.

If your training and/or practice meets the requirements and the eligibility criteria are met, you are eligible to write a Royal College exam. It may take from six to eight months to receive your letter of eligibility. For most candidates, exam eligibility is granted for a three-year period following your training and/or practice assessment.

Please note that the CMQ-certified specialist and the Academic certification routes do not require a Royal College exam.

Once your eligibility is confirmed, the next step is to register for your exam. Exams take place in the spring and in the fall depending on your specialty or subspecialty. After you pass your exam, you are eligible to become certified or recognized by the Royal College. Following your certification, you are invited to join the Royal College as a Fellow.

Learn more about the benefits of being a Fellow.

Each step in the process has specific deadlines and fees. Please visit these sections of the website to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

Get started: Find your route

Physicians who practise in Canada follow various training pathways to become specialists. The Royal College has established a number of routes to become specialists and subspecialists. Choose the route that applies to you below and follow the link to get started with your training and/or practice assessment.

** Affiliate status allows you to maintain engagement with the Royal College and to participate in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program, but it does not confer Royal College certification or Fellowship.

Not sure which route applies to you?
Contact us at 1-800-267-2320 or credentials@royalcollege.ca for help getting started.

Looking for information on Area of Focused Competence (AFC) diplomas?

When you are a Fellow, you are joining a unique community of over 50,000 medical and surgical specialists and resident affiliates in Canada. Fellows are able to display the highly-recognized designations such as FRCPC or FRCSC as proof of their expertise, in addition to enjoying a myriad of other benefits such as continued professional development through the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program and access to awards, grants and volunteer opportunities.