Before you begin practicing

The following section will provide more information and resources on:

Practice advice

The AMA created a guidebook, The Physician's Guide to Starting a Practice, to assist physicians in Alberta in successfully setting up a practice. Learn about examination room tips, practice incorporation considerations and more.

MD Financial Management

Transition to Practice Hub (TTP)

The TTP is a resource centre where visitors can find financial literacy articles, webinars, calculators and FAQs aimed to assist resident physicians transitioning into practice.

Practice types and remuneration

As a physician, you have some choices about how you would like to practice and how you would like to be paid. The following information is a brief overview of some of these options and includes links to other resources that may help you determine which might be best for you.

Group practice

While a solo practice affords complete autonomy and dedicated resources, it also leaves you with the burden of all start-up costs and overhead expenses.

Sharing office space with another medical professional of the same or another discipline can be a satisfying and cost-effective way to practice. There are two primary types of group practice:

  • Partnership: Share expenses, income and liability.
  • Association: Share some or all of the practice expenses (as defined by an association agreement) without sharing income or liability.

Whatever you choose, protect your interests – have your financial and legal representatives review all contracts before you sign.

The Canadian Medical Association offers a large number of live sessions throughout the year that are free for all medical residents, regardless of CMA status. All sessions are taught by practicing physicians and are free of any industry bias and involvement. Information about those sessions is available on the CMA website.

Salaried positions

As a resident, you are paid according to the contract negotiated for you by PARA. You may opt to continue the security of an agreed-upon salary (unaffected by the number of services performed) by accepting a position as an employee or contractor with a hospital or other organization.

Unlike a self-employed physician, you may not be able to deduct expenses from your income such as professional association fees or malpractice insurance.

Alternate Relationship Plans

Rather than billing the government health care insurance plan on a fee-for-service basis, you may opt for an Alternate Relationship Plan (ARP). ARPs provide physicians with set remuneration amounts in exchange for delivering:

  • Services to a specific patient population.
  • Services in a specific location. 
  • Services for a specific block of time.

Individual physicians, physician groups or health authorities may initiate ARPs.

Learn more about ARPs


Incorporation of your practice means that shareholders (you, perhaps your family members) own shares in a corporation. The corporation owns the medical practice, of which you would become an employee.

The Health Professions Act allows for the practice of medicine by professional corporations under certain conditions, including:

  • The professional corporation must be incorporated under the Business Corporations Act.
  • The professional corporation must obtain a permit from the College of Physicians and Surgeons – in this case, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA).

There are advantages and disadvantages to incorporation, which should be discussed in detail with your legal and financial experts before you make this important decision. Don’t forget: the financial advisors at MD Financial Management are there to assist you.


Your tax situation may depend on whether you are self-employed or a salaried employee, and on the province in which you will be earning. Generally:

  • Salaried employees will have taxes automatically deducted from their paycheques by their employers. 
  • Self-employed physicians will need to calculate the taxes they owe, but may also deduct business-related expenses incurred to earn their income (e.g., continuing medical education, office expenses, professional association membership fees).

Other income may also be taxable, such as government benefits or investments. Consult your financial/tax specialist regarding your particular situation.


There are a number of places you can look for available positions/practice opportunities in Alberta:

  • AMA ResidentSeekers™ pilot for family medicine resident physicians
    Allows family medicine resident physicians to securely upload CVs and information about your desired practice characteristics. The tool then matches those requirements against a pool of physicians/clinics that are seeking locums or full time physicians to join their practices. Once matched, both parties then receive an email introduction to facilitate further discussions. The rest is up to you!
  • AMA’s Classified Ads
    Published twice each month in the MD Scope email newsletter and in each bi-monthly issue of the Alberta Doctors’ Digest, these ads contain a variety of practice opportunities across the province.
  • AMA Physician Locum Services®
    A unique practice option for locums who contract with the AMA to provide rural/regional locum coverage.
  • APL
    A service of The Alberta Rural Health Professions Action Plan, APL is a provincial website to facilitate the recruitment of qualified physicians to Alberta on behalf of Alberta Health Services and their partner communities.
  • dr careers 
    CMA's career centre for physicians
  • Doctor Jobs Alberta
    Alberta Health Services' physician/practice opportunity database.
  • Resident Doctors of Canada - Career resources
    Are you looking for a job when you finish residency but having difficulty finding all your employment options? CAIR is here to provide assistance and advice.

Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.