Psychology Board of Australia
Psychology Board of Australia
 

Supervision FAQ

This page provides more information about the Guidelines for supervisors and supervisor training providers. More information is also available on the Supervision page.

General supervision FAQ

All Board-approved supervisors are included in a searchable online list of currently approved supervisors. Simply enter your supervisor’s name or registration number to check their supervisor details.

From 1 July 2013, all psychologists applying to become Board approved supervisors must have successfully completed a Board approved training program in psychology supervision. Board-approved refresher training or master classes must be completed every five years in order to maintain Board approval.

This is consistent with increased emphasis on evidence-based practice, including the necessity to determine outcomes for supervision training in Australia.

Psychologists who become approved by the Board before 1 July 2013 and have maintained approval since that date are required to complete an approved supervisor training program and provide a certificate of completion to the Board prior to 1 July 2018. It is the individual supervisor’s responsibility to identify when it is appropriate for them to undertake supervisor training within this timeframe (between 1 July 2013 and 1 July 2018). However, approved supervisors who have not previously completed any formal supervisor training are recommended to undertake the training as soon as possible.

Supervisors who last completed training before 1 July 2013 (e.g. during the interim period 2010-2013, or earlier as required by a former state or territory board) are recommended to aim to complete further supervisors training within five years of the last training; or as soon as possible if it has already been more than five years.

Summary of transition training requirements for Board approved supervisors

Supervisor status Requirements that must be met from 1 July 2013 Training requirements (every five years)  
Transitioned to the National Scheme as a Board- approved supervisor in 2010 No requirement
  • Complete Board-approved supervisor training (master class) any time before 1 July 2018 (on the basis of self-assessment) and every five years afterwards
Became a new Board- approved supervisor before 30 June 2013 by completing form ABAS-76 (1.45 MB,PDF) No requirement
  • Complete Board-approved supervisor training (master class) any time before 1 July 2018 (on the basis of self- assessment) and every five years afterwards
Psychologists applying for supervisor status after 1 July 2013 Yes, must meet the new requirements for Board-approved supervisors
  • Complete Board-approved supervisor training (full training) before applying to become a Board-approved supervisor 
  • Complete Board-approved supervisor training (master class) every five years from date of approval

Transitional arrangements were put in place for supervisors in 2010 at the beginning of the National Scheme. These arrangements ended on 1 July 2013 and psychologists who were approved as a supervisor before the transition period ended are approved until 30 June 2018 and have until then to meet the new training requirements. (A summary table of the transitional training requirements is published under question 1 of these FAQs.)

The Board approved transition arrangements for psychologists who appeared on the list of Board approved supervisors at the end of the transition period on 30 June 2013; either because they were an approved supervisor under the old registration scheme and transitioned to the list; or because they have applied and been approved as a supervisor between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2013.

These psychologists commenced a five year supervisor training cycle on 1 July 2013 and can elect to complete an approved supervisor training program at any time between 1 July 2013 and 1 July 2018 according to their own assessment of their learning needs.

You can apply for approval to provide any type of supervision that you meet the requirements for.

The Psychology Board of Australia must approve supervisors providing supervision in the following pathways:

  • 4+2 pathway
  • 5+1 pathway
  • higher degree students, and
  • the registrar program for area of practice endorsement.

Psychologists who have not been approved by the Board to be supervisors are not able to provide supervision to these groups.

A Board approved supervisor must not provide supervision in a pathway for which they are not approved.

Principal supervisors of psychology registrars must have an endorsement in the same area of practice as the registrar program and have held that endorsement (or equivalent) for at least two years.

Secondary supervisors of psychology registrars are not required to have an endorsement in the same area of practice but they should have advanced knowledge and experience that is relevant to the registrar program.

Supervisors of higher degree students completing placements as part of an approved program of study must have an endorsement in the same area of practice as the higher degree program and have held that endorsement (or equivalent) for at least two years.

Supervisors of higher degree students working in addition to university placements in positions that do not contribute to the requirements of their degree, do no need to hold an area of practice endorsement.

It should be noted that the Board recognises that universities may have their own requirements for higher degree supervisors which may be different to the Board’s requirements. Therefore approval from the Board does not guarantee a university will approve a psychologist as a supervisor for their students.

To become Board-approved, supervisors must have held general registration as a psychologist for at least:

  • three years before starting as a principal supervisor, and
  • at least two years before starting as a secondary supervisor.

Supervisors providing supervision in the registrar program, must have held endorsement in the relevant approved area of practice for at least two years before beginning supervision. They must continue holding that endorsement for the whole period of supervision.

Holding an area of practice endorsement is not required for higher degree supervisors providing supervision to provisional psychologists in the 5+1 pathway.

There are no extra formal qualification requirements for Board approved supervisors over and above those required to obtain general registration and, where applicable, to obtain an area of practice endorsement.

Please note that supervisors can’t:

  • be a member of the supervisee‘s immediate family or household, nor
  • have been, or about to be, engaged in a close personal or therapeutic relationship with the supervisee, nor
  • have any conditions on their registration.

More information about the requirements is available under Codes, Guidelines and Policies.

Yes, the following types of supervisors don’t need to be approved by the Board:

  • supervisors of a research dissertation
  • line-managers
  • supervisors providing supervision for the purposes of general CPD peer consultation, or
  • supervisors approved by the Board to provide supervision and training to individual psychologists practising under conditions arising from disciplinary action

Principal supervisors take principal responsibility for the supervisee and provide the majority of the supervision.

Secondary supervisors fulfil a component of the supervision of the internship program (e.g. 4+2, 5+1) as agreed with the Board, the principal supervisor and the provisional psychologist. A secondary supervisor is required to assist with supervision programs leading to general registration and recommended but not mandatory for assisting with supervision programs leading to area of practice endorsement.

For the 4+2 and 5+1 internship pathway and the registrar program, the Board has requirements for principal and secondary supervisors. For higher degree supervisors and supervisors of those working in addition to placements, the Board does not differentiate between principal and secondary supervisors.

There is no maximum number of secondary supervisors but the total percentage of supervision provided to a trainee by secondary supervisors must not exceed the Board’s requirements. Refer to the Guidelines on area of practice endorsements (768 KB,PDF) and the Guidelines for 4+2 internship program: provisional psychologists and supervisors (387 KB,PDF) for further information on the roles of principal and secondary supervisors.

The registration requirements are as follows:

  • All principal supervisors need to have held general registration for three years
  • All secondary supervisors need to have held general registration for two years

This applies to supervision in the 4+2 and 5+1 internship programs and the registrar programs.

Additionally, principal supervisors of the registrar program must have an endorsement in the same area of practice as the registrar program and have held that endorsement (or equivalent) for at least two years.

Secondary supervisors of psychology registrars are not required to have an endorsement or to have an endorsement in the same area of practice but they should have advanced knowledge and experience that is relevant to the registrar program.

All applications to become a Board-approved supervisor that are made after 1 July 2013 must meet the new supervisor training requirements. These require new applicants to show that they have completed Board-approved supervisor training before approval is granted. They also require applicants to be a higher degree supervisor to have held endorsement in the relevant approved area of practice for at least two years. For example, if you are supervising a psychologist in a Master of Health Psychology program, you must have held an area of practice endorsement in that health psychology for at least two years before providing supervision.

Psychologists who were approved as a Board-approved higher degree supervisor before 1 July 2013 do not need to meet the new requirements until they apply to maintain their approval for another five years (using MBAS-76 – available on the forms page of the website), before 1 July 2018. In the meantime these supervisors can continue to supervise students in any area of practice – provided they have relevant knowledge and experience to provide suitable supervision. If these higher degree supervisors wish to continue their Board-approved higher degree supervisor status after 30 June 2018 they will need to have been granted an endorsement by 30 June 2016 so that they will meet the two year requirement by 2018.

An area of practice endorsement is not required for higher degree supervisors providing supervision to provisional psychologists in the 5+1 pathway, as the 5+1 programs do not provide training in specialised areas of practice and the pathway does not lead to an area of practice endorsement.

There are two types of training: full training and master classes.

From 1 July 2013, all new supervisors must have completed and passed the Board-approved competency based full training before applying to become Board-approved. To maintain Board-approved supervisor status all supervisors must undertake one Board-approved master class every five years.

Full training consists of three parts:

  1. Knowledge assessment: This is the component during which the supervisors will acquire knowledge about all categories of supervisees. The component requires about seven hours of preparatory work (including self study modules relating to the Board guidelines and general supervisor readings on supervisor competencies (for a detailed list of the competencies refer to the guideline) and passing an online exam.
  2. Skills training: This component will include a minimum of 12 hours direct training. The component will focus on the development of practical supervision skills that are appropriate for all supervisee training pathways and reflective practice. The emphasis of this component is the integration of knowledge and practice.
  3. Competency-based assessment and evaluation: This component takes place no longer than three months after the skills training and involves a systematic assessment of the psychologist demonstrating their supervisory competencies. Participants will be required to submit an electronic version of a supervision session or other competency-based assessment activity to the training provider for evaluation and feedback.

A master class is a competency-based Board approved one day supervisor training program of a minimum of six hours of direct training. This training will include an assessment component and will involve attention to specific relevant topics related to supervision. The minimum ongoing training required to maintain Board-approved supervisor status is the completion of one full day of a master class in supervision every five years.

Yes, since 1 July 2013 all higher degree placement supervisors are required to be Board-approved for the higher degree supervisor category.

It should be noted that universities may have their own requirements for higher degree supervisors which may be different to the Board’s requirements. Therefore approval from the Board does not guarantee a university will approve you as a supervisor for their students.

To check whether you are already a Board approved supervisor, and what types of supervision you have approval to provide, go to Search for a supervisor and enter your name or registration number to view your supervision record.

If you want to add or change supervision types contact your local AHPRA office.

 

FAQ for psychologists who want to become a Board-approved supervisor

Psychologists who wish to become approved supervisors can apply to the Board using the Application to act as a Board approved supervisor - Form ABAS-76 (1.45 MB,PDF), and providing evidence that they meet the prescribed requirements, including a certificate of completion for a Board-approved supervisor training program.

Refer to the Guidelines for supervisor and supervisor training providers for information about the program of supervisor training that you need to complete.

Yes. Psychologists may attend a Board-approved supervisor training (full training) after holding general registration for 18 months. All components of the full training (including the knowledge and preparatory reading, the skills training, and assessment components) are permitted to be undertaken.

This allows general psychologists flexibility to undertake the full training and be ready to apply to become a Board-approved supervisor promptly on meeting the two or three year general registration requirement.

Supervisor Type Length of time general registration is required When can supervisor training be undertaken? When can an application for Board-approved supervisor status be made?*
Internship program – Principal supervisor Three years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for three years
Internship program – Secondary supervisor Two years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for two years
Higher degree placement – Supervisor Three years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for three years
Supervisor of students working in addition to placements Two years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for two years
Registrar program – Principal supervisor Three years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for three years
Registrar program – Secondary supervisor Two years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for two years

*Please see the Guidelines for supervisors and supervisor training providers for more information on the other requirements for becoming a Board-approved supervisor.

Yes.

Psychologists must hold an area of practice endorsement in the relevant area for at least two years before providing supervision either as:

  • a principal supervisor in the registrar program, or
  • as a higher degree placement supervisor.

This is in addition to the requirement to hold general registration for three years before submitting an application to become a Board-approved supervisor using the ABAS-76 form.

Note: secondary supervisors in the registrar program and higher degree supervisors in the 5+1 pathway are exempt from holding an area of practice endorsement.

The Board is aware that some psychologists will have already completed supervisor training and successfully applied to become a Board-approved supervisor for the internship program, or as a secondary supervisor in the registrar program, before they have held an area of practice endorsement for two years. These psychologists will simply need to add a supervisor type after holding an area of practice endorsement for two years by submitting an application to add a Board-approved supervisor type using the ABAS-76 form.

Other psychologists, typically those who only wish to act as a principal supervisor in the registrar program or as a higher degree supervisor in the 5+1 internship pathway, may not have completed supervisor training. Training in supervision can be carried out at any time after meeting the requirement to hold general registration for eighteen months.

Note: Psychologists may attend a Board-approved supervisor training (full training) in the six months before completing the required timeframe for holding general registration. For more information on this provision please see the FAQ entitled: I am thinking of becoming a Board-approved supervisor. Can I undertake training in supervision before I have held general registration for the required number of years?

Supervisor Type Length of time area of practice endorsement is required When can supervisor training be undertaken? When can an application for Board-approved supervisor status be made?
Higher degree supervisors

(except for the 5+1 pathway)
Two years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for three years, and a relevant area of practice endorsement for two years
Registrar program – Principal supervisor Two years After holding general registration for 18 months After holding general registration for three years, and a relevant area of practice endorsement for two years

Yes, if you completed a two-day workshop that had interim approval as a Board approved supervisor training provider between 1 July 2010 and 31 December 2013, you may count this workshop as equivalent to component two of the full training.

The programs with interim approval were the:

  • Supervisor Training and Accreditation Program (STAP) - originating in Queensland, and
  • NSW Psychologists Registration Board's supervision workshops - originating in NSW and also approved in Tasmania.

These programs will continue to be recognised for applications for Board-approved supervisor status made within five years of completing the skills training workshop.

 

FAQ for psychologists who want to maintain or update their Board-approved supervisor status

Board-approved supervisors have a responsibility to maintain and develop their skills as a supervisor on an ongoing basis. Approved supervisors will be required to apply to maintain their status every five years. This is consistent with the Recency of practice registration standard that requires psychologists to demonstrate satisfactory evidence of recent practice within a five-year timeframe.

The application form to maintain approval is: Application to maintain Board-approved supervisor status - MBAS-76 (290 KB,PDF)

When applying to maintain approval for a further five years, you will be required to provide a declaration about how you have continued to develop your skills as a supervisor through peer consultation and professional development and by completing a Board-approved supervisor training program.

Supervisors are required to provide evidence of completion of Board-approved supervision training, as follows:

  • evidence of completion of one Board-approved master class within five years of the date the last training course was completed (for those who gained Board approval after 1 July 2013), or
  • evidence of completion of one Board-approved master class by 30 June 2018 for those holding Board approval on 1 July 2013.

An approved supervisor is not limited in the number of master classes that can be completed but must complete one in every five year period. Only one master class is required regardless of whether the psychologist is approved for more than one supervisor type or holds more than one area of practice endorsement.

More information is available in the FAQ: I am a Board approved supervisor and need to apply to maintain my status every five years. I know the minimum requirement is evidence of completion of a Board-approved master class, but can I complete the full training instead?

Board approved supervisors can be approved to provide supervision in any one or more of the following Board-approved supervision programs:

  • 4+2 internship program (principal and secondary supervisor)
  • 5+1 internship program (principal and secondary supervisor)
  • Board-approved, accredited higher degree programs
  • a registrar program leading to endorsement in an approved area of practice (principal and secondary supervisor), or
  • professional higher degree placements

Board approved supervisors can request approval to provide supervision in an additional supervisor program to what you are currently approved to provide (e.g. adding a supervisor type) at any time. Please be aware that supervisors in different programs are required to meet different criteria and you must meet the requirements of the supervisor type you wish to add to your suite of approvals. The Guidelines for supervisors and supervisor training providers outlines the requirements for supervisors for each supervision program.

For example, if you are already a Board approved secondary supervisor for the registrar program and now you meet the requirements and want to become a principal supervisor as well, you can ask to have it added to your existing supervisor record. You are not required to make a new application (e.g. ABAS-76 form), however you must provide a written request to AHPRA using the online web enquiry or post.

Your request should state the following:

  • which additional supervisor type/s you want to add, specifying the pathway (e.g. 4+2 internship, higher degree program etc.),
  • whether you are requesting to be an approved principal or secondary supervisor (applicable to supervisors of internships and registrar programs only),
  • the area of practice endorsement you hold (applicable to supervisors of registrar programs and higher degree placements only).

If you have previously given permission to appear as an ‘available’ supervisor (i.e. available to be contacted at your nominated supervisor email address via the secure web messaging system) this permission will also be applied to the additional supervisor type. If you want to change whether you are ‘available’ or ‘not available’ you can request this in writing when requesting to add the supervisor type, or at any other time.

Board approved supervisors can only provide supervision in the Board approved program in which they hold the relevant supervisor type. For example, if you are approved for the 5+1 internship program you may provide supervision to supervisee undertaking the 5+1 internship program. Supervision provided outside of the approval process cannot be counted towards the supervisee’s supervision program.

You are not required to complete additional supervisor training to add a supervisor type to an existing supervisor record. Supervisor training is required to be undertaken every five years to maintain approval regardless of whether you add a supervisor type within this approval cycle. The current expiry date of your Board-approved supervisor status will remain the same:

  • five years after the date you last completed supervisor training, or
  • 30 June 2018 if you became a Board-approved supervisor before 1 July 2013 under the Board’s transition provisions.

For more information on the Board’s training requirements please see the Guidelines for supervisors and supervisor training providers.

 

Yes - one master class every five years is the minimum requirement however, you may choose to complete supervisor training that exceeds the minimum requirement (consistent with the aims of your CPD learning plan cover both identified learning needs and areas of interest).

Some Board-approved supervisors have indicated they would like to undertake more than one master class or complete the full supervisor training program as a refresher. This may be because they transitioned to the National Regulation and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) as a supervisor and have never completed the full training before.

The following supervisor training meets the Board’s requirement for renewal of Board-approved supervisor status every five years:

Evidence  Requirement 
Completion of one Board-approved master class  Meets minimum requirement 
Completion of more than one Board-approved master class  Exceeds requirement 
Completion of Component 1,2 and 3 of a Board-approved full supervisor training program  Exceeds requirement 
Completion of Component 1 and 2 (only) of a Board-approved full supervisor training program  Exceeds requirement 
Completion of Component 2 (only) of a Board-approved full supervisor training program  Exceeds requirement
Completion of Component 1 (only) or Component 3 (only) of a Board-approved full supervisor training program  Does not meet the requirement* 

*This is because component 1 does not integrate and assess both knowledge and skills as is the case in a Master class, and Component 3 does not have sufficient assessment of theory and knowledge, and cannot be taken alone (Component 1 and 2 are pre-requisites for Component 3).

Board approved supervisors have a responsibility to maintain and develop their skills as a supervisor on an ongoing basis.

No, this does not exempt you from the requirements of maintaining your Board-approved supervisor (BAS) status. All Board-approved supervisor training providers who are also BAS are required to complete refresher training every five years. The minimum requirement for maintaining BAS status is one master class every five years.

The Board considers that being a supervisor (and learning about/improving your own role as a supervisor) is different to being a trainer. Just like being a lecturer on the topic of supervision doesn’t give you an exemption from doing your own 10 hrs of supervision/peer consultation each year as part of the continuing professional development requirements, being a Board-approved supervisor training provider does not exempt you from undertaking supervisor training yourself.

Attending refresher training is a minimal requirement - one master class every five years. The Board considers it good practice for Board-approved supervisors who are also trainers to keep up their knowledge and learning as supervisors by doing their own refresher training.

You can complete the refresher training with a different trainer in your own organisation, or with any of the other approved training providers. You should aim to complete a program which will teach you something new or extend your current skills as a supervisor, and that contributes to a goal or goals in your CPD learning plan.

 

FAQ for individuals seeking a supervisor

All Board-approved supervisors are included on the Approved Supervisor List, which is a searchable list.

 

FAQ for supervisor training providers

The Board periodically invites applications from suitably qualified and experienced individuals and organisations to deliver supervisor training programs across Australia.

The most recent application round to become a Board-approved supervisor training provider closed on 10 November 2016. Successful applicants for this round will be advertised on the Board’s website in early 2017.

The Board has previously approved eleven supervisor training programs to facilitate delivery of supervisor training nationally. These programs are listed on the Supervisor page on the Boards website and have approval for five years (until 31 December 2018).

The frequency of application rounds (an expression of interest process) is dependent upon the need for further supervisor training programs. Future opportunities to apply will be announced on the Board’s website.

If you wish to add your details to the supervisor training stakeholder distribution list for any future correspondence please email psychologychair@ahpra.gov.au.

Detailed information about Board-approved supervisor training requirements is included in the Guidelines for supervisors and supervisor training providers.

The Board assesses and approves applicants to become Board-approved training providers based on their ability to meet:

  • the Board standards and requirements of the Guidelines for supervisors and supervisor training providers, and 
  • the selection criteria in the Application Pack: How to apply to become a Board approved provider of supervisor training (published on the Board’s website only during an expression of interest process).

Applications are assessed by the supervisor training evaluation panel (the evaluation panel). The evaluation panel consists of subject matter experts in psychology supervision, competency-based training, and the regulation of health professionals. The evaluation panel has a probity process that provides for objective assessment against the selection criteria.

Multiple training providers may be selected to facilitate delivery of supervisor training nationally (in both urban and regional areas) to ensure a complete range of training components.

The Board grants approval to successful applicants for five years, unless otherwise indicated.

 
 
 
 
Page reviewed 23/09/2015