Professional practice issues

The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) is committed to ensuring that practitioners are made aware of relevant issues that inform professional practice.

Education training and reform

The Board considers education and training reform an important next step in the development of the regulatory environment for the psychology profession in Australia. One of the main areas of reform is the Board’s proposal to reduce regulatory burden and complexity of psychology training by retiring the 4+2 internship program as a pathway to general registration in favour of the 5+1 internship program. This education and training reform initiative is a Board priority project in the Board’s regulatory work plan (2016-2020)

The Board often receives feedback that psychology training is unnecessarily complex, fragmented and lengthy. The 4+2 internship program has a long history of serving the profession and employers well. The 4+2 internship program has many positive features and has produced high quality psychologists. However, more questions are being asked about the value of the 4+2 internship program in the contemporary context, including the regulatory burden of this pathway, the complexity and red tape associated with compliance with the 4+2 requirements, the lack of suitable paid placements that allow for development of all competencies, the burden of this pathway on both employers and supervisors, and the mismatch of this pathway with international benchmarks.

The starting point for this education training and reform agenda was in late 2015 when the Board brought together leaders across government, education, workforce, regulation and the profession to consider challenges with the existing arrangements. There were a number of outcomes from the forum, including that the 4+2 internship program was recommended for retirement as a pathway to general registration.

The Collaborative Working Party (CWP) was developed out of this forum and has been meeting and working towards viable solutions to the challenges raised at the forum. The CWP members are: the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), the Australian Psychological Society (APS), the Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA) and the Board. See the first Communiqué from the CWP in December 2015 for more information.

Public Consultation paper released

The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) has published Public consultation paper 31: Reducing regulatory burden: Retiring the 4+2 pathway to general registration.
The consultation paper is available under Current consultations and the Board is accepting submissions until close of business (AEST) Friday 1 June 2018.

Stakeholders have communicated to the Board that the 4+2 internship pathway is no longer fit for purpose as a pathway to registration due to the:

  • regulatory burden of this pathway
  • complexity and red tape associated with compliance with the 4+2 requirements
  • lack of suitable paid placements that allow for consistent development of all competencies
  • burden of this pathway on both employers and supervisors
  • mismatch of this pathway with international benchmarks, and
  • availability of alternative training pathways.

It is the Boards view that retiring the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration would result in many positive benefits for employers, supervisors, interns and consumers.

Special message to fourth year students and current interns

The Board understands that if stakeholders support the retirement of the 4+2 internship, registrants, educational providers, supervisors and employers would need time to prepare.

Current fourth year students, 4+2 interns, and their supervisors should know that a suitable transition period will be proposed in this consultation paper, to allow for completion of the internship in the maximum allowable period permitted in the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program (five years). This will ensure that current fourth year students and current interns will be able to complete their training for general registration and will not be affected by the proposed retirement of the 4+2 pathway.

Special message to psychologists with general registration who trained via the 4+2 internship pathway

The Board reiterates that psychologists holding general registration, who had previously gained general registration on the basis of completion of the 4+2 internship program, will not be affected by the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship.

These registrants will continue to be eligible for general registration under section 53(d) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

If a psychologist was previously registered on the basis of holding a 4+2 qualification, then such a person can remain registered, even if, for example, they have had a period of non-practising registration or have let their registration lapse for a period of time. The aim is to retire the 4+2 internship as a pathway for future new registration only. Psychologists who are four-year trained (and even those who gained registration, for example, in the 1950s and 1960’s with three years of training) will not have their registration status affected by the Board’s proposal.

Further information

Further information about the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration can be found at:

Interested people can also register to attend the following stakeholder meetings to hear more about the Board’s proposal:

  • Attend the Board’s forum in Sydney - The Board will be hosting a forum in Sydney on 24 May 2018. Registrants who live in the Sydney area can hear the Board speak about the rationale for the proposal to retire the 4+2 internship, and to ask questions. Invitations to the webinar have been emailed to all generally registered and provisional psychologists in NSW and ACT. You can register on this website.
  • Attend the Board’s webinar - Registrants who are interested in hearing about the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship who cannot attend the Sydney forum are invited to attend a national webinar on the evening of Thursday 17 May. This webinar is for all psychologists no matter where you live. Invitations to the webinar have been emailed to all generally registered and provisional psychologists across Australia. You can register for the webinar on this website.
 
 
Page reviewed 19/04/2018