Entry-to-Practice Registration Examination

In order to fulfill the requirements for registration as a Registered Psychotherapist (RP), all Qualifying members are required to write the registration exam (also know as the Canadian Professional Standard for Counselling and Psychotherapy (CPSCP): Entry to Practice Competency Assessment). The exam is offered by the COMPASS Centre for Examination Development, a national body established to develop and administer this assessment. It is a computer-based tool, available in both English and French, designed to be reflective of the diversity of psychotherapy traditions and practices. The exam assesses a practitioner’s knowledge of various key entry-to-practice competencies and their information-gathering and decision-making skills in a variety of typical scenarios and simulations.

Information about the development, structure and format of the registration exam can be found in the Entry-to-Practice Registration Examination Resource Manual. For more information about the exam, please visit the COMPASS website.

Eligibility Requirements

All Qualifying members pursuing registration through the regular route are required to successfully complete the registration exam.

A Qualifying member is deemed eligible by CRPO to write the exam when they have demonstrated successful completion of coherent education and training central to the practise of psychotherapy.

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Registering to Write the Examination

The process to sign up for the exam starts with CRPO staff messaging eligible registrants directly. Once registered, Qualifying members will receive a message from CRPO confirming their eligibility to write the exam when they have met the requirements outlined above. Candidates will be advised of the proposed date of the next sitting of the exam and asked to:

  • confirm their intention to write at that sitting;
  • confirm the language in which they prefer to write the exam (either English or French);
  • provide details and documentation pertaining to any accommodations they might require; and
  • verify a primary contact email and phone number

Each candidate will also be notified of a unique identifier code by CRPO which confirms their identity and eligibility to write the examination for COMPASS. The College will send candidate information to COMPASS, along with the unique identifier; COMPASS will then contact eligible candidates directly and can provide assistance with the steps required to register to write the exam (e.g. payment methods, deadlines, etc.).

Note: Successful completion of the registration examination alone does not grant Qualifying members full status as an RP. Qualifying members also need to demonstrate completion of ALL clinical experience requirements (i.e. a minimum of 450 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of clinical supervision) in order to be registered as an RP.

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Conditions for Completing the Registration Examination

  • The first attempt at the exam must be made no later than 24 months following the date that a complete application for registration as a Qualifying member, and fee, are received by CRPO. There will be at least one sitting of the registration exam each year.
  • A candidate must successfully complete the exam in no more than three attempts.
  • The third and final attempt is permitted only after the Qualifying member has completed upgrading activities, if any, required by a panel of the Examination Committee. The third attempt must be made no later than five years after the date of application for registration in the Qualifying category, unless additional time is permitted by the Examination Committee, in exceptional circumstances.

Qualifying members are permitted a maximum of five years from the date that a Qualifying certificate of registration is issued by the College in which to satisfy ALL the requirements for registration as an RP (completing clinical experience and passing the Exam).

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Mitigating Circumstances and Appeals

A registrant who fails the exam has the right to appeal to the Examination Committee, following the procedure outlined in the Examination Appeal Form. As the Examination Appeal Policy indicates, registrants can appeal examination results based on the following categories: compassionate consideration, medical reasons, or process irregularities. The Examination Committee will review and make their decision regarding the appeal using the appeals framework.

In deciding an appeal, the Examination Committee shall not determine that an applicant has passed the examination unless the applicant did, in fact, pass the examination. If the appeal is successful, the results of the examination shall be nullified and the examination does not count against the candidate for any purpose.

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Quick Guide

Exam fee: $545 + tax

Time to write: 3 hours

Next sitting: October 26, 27, 28 (Please note: Sign-up for the October exam has closed.)

Need an accommodation? Click here

Registration Exam Dates Now Posted

2022 Pandemic-Related Exam Extensions

Video Resources

Please Note: These video resources were created prior to the exam delivery method changing to online remote proctoring. For updated information related to Taking the Assessment: Security and Logistics, please refer to the online remote proctoring resources linked under Exam Prep Resources.

Video: COMPASS Registration Exam Overview (39 minutes)
Video: Condensed version of COMPASS Registration Exam Overview with French captions (11 minutes)

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to write the exam?

You are eligible to write the exam if:

  1. You have been issued a certificate of registration in the Qualifying category.
  2. You have successfully completed your psychotherapy program.

If you have not yet submitted a mailed official transcript/credential assessment verifying you have successfully completed your psychotherapy program, please have the institution email one directly to CRPO at info@crpo.ca.

My application is under review. Can I sign up for the exam?

Applicants who have submitted an application but who have not yet been approved and issued a certificate of registration are not eligible to sign up for the exam. If the exam surveying period is still open when your application is approved, we will notify you in a message. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.

Where do I write the Exam?

The exam is delivered exclusively using remote proctoring. Candidates are responsible for providing a safe, secure, and private area for testing. Candidates must meet the established minimum requirements for internet connectivity, technical hardware, and testing environment. Candidates’ hardware requirements and Internet bandwidth must be pre-checked through MonitorEDU. Limited in-person seating is restricted to only candidates with accessibility issues or accommodation needs (whether temporary, transient, or permanent) that prevent remote proctoring.

Are there any recommended readings, sample questions or other exam preparation materials available?

The Registration Examination is a competency-based, simulation-style examination. Anyone planning to write the Exam may choose to download and work through the Competency-Based Case Study Workbook from the COMPASS website. This workbook contains case studies that are focused on linking therapeutic processes to the core competencies for entry-to-practice psychotherapists. The reader is invited to consider the broad questions that follow each study in the context of the Entry-to-Practice Competency Profile for Registered Psychotherapists, the CRPO Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. It is estimated that each case study will take approximately 60 minutes to complete. At the conclusion of the workbook is a key to major competency areas typically used by practitioners to address the circumstances described in each case study. The key highlights the contexts in each case and is not intended to be exhaustive.

The online self-assessment tool accessed on the COMPASS website is designed to give candidates a preview of the style and format of the actual Exam. The fee for the self-assessment is $42.50 plus applicable taxes. For further inquiries and details regarding the online self-assessment tool, please visit the Contact Us page of COMPASS’ website.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to review the Entry-to-Practice Competency Profile for Registered Psychotherapists and to reflect on each competency area. Gauging your preparedness to apply these competencies to a variety of therapist-client settings will assist you in determining whether you need to revisit some of the practice-based texts you used during your education and training program or elsewhere, that focused on a particular competency area. Candidates may also review the Entry-to-Practice Registration Examination Resource Manual for detailed information about the development, structure and format of the exam. Though not exhaustive, the Manual also contains an informal list of the most commonly used entry-to-practice textbooks for the psychotherapy and counselling profession.

Note: Candidates will also receive an additional electronic information guide directly from COMPASS once they have successfully registered to write at the next sitting. In addition to a review of the structure and format of the exam, the information guide outlines the administrative procedures associated with writing the exam.

If extenuating circumstances arise on the day and I miss the Exam, what are my options?

Once you have paid to write the Registration Examination, COMPASS will provide you with the name of a contact person to whom you may explain your circumstances. Exam fees are non-refundable; however, you may, in exceptional circumstances, be permitted to write the Examination at the next available sitting (which could be six months or more in the future). Such requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and supporting evidence will be required.

I have a disability and I need an accommodation. How do I arrange for this?

For full details, visit the Accommodations page. In short, candidates alert CRPO of their accommodation needs at the time of indicating intention to write the Registration Examination – this will give the examination hosting authority sufficient time to evaluate the request for accommodations, seek resources and confirm arrangements. CRPO provides candidates with a special accommodation form which must be completed and submitted with appropriate documentation from a currently registered medical doctor, psychologist, psychological associate or other regulated health professional who has specific training, expertise and experience in the diagnosis of the condition(s) for which the accommodation is being requested.

What is the passing grade required for successful completion of the Exam?

Candidates do not receive a ‘grade’ but will be notified of a pass or fail.

How and when will I be notified of my result?

Results will be available six to eight weeks after sitting the Examination. COMPASS will notify candidates directly of the results. Results will also be sent to CRPO.

I failed my first attempt of the Exam; what should I do?

A Qualifying member who attempted, but did not successfully pass the Registration Exam can continue to practise with clinical supervision while preparing to retake it at the next available sitting. Upgrading activities may be required if you fail the second attempt and before the third and final attempt can be made.

Where can I get more information about the format and content of the Exam?

Information about the development, structure and format of the Registration Examination can be found in the Entry-to-Practice Registration Examination Resource Manual. Additional information about the Registration Exam is available by visiting COMPASS’ website and in the Information Guide for Candidates (sent directly to candidates who successfully register to write the Exam by COMPASS). The COMPASS self-assessment tool also provides applicants with the opportunity to view and work with a simulation and questions in the same format as the exam.

Who do I contact with any additional questions?

General questions about the Exam (e.g., eligibility requirements, proposed dates for sittings, fees) can be sent to the College at info@crpo.ca.

A member who has been notified of their eligibility to write the Exam and confirmed their intention to write, can submit questions directly to COMPASS at info@compassexams.ca.