Area of practice endorsement and an area of professional interest are different.
Area of practice endorsement is a regulatory mechanism under the National Law. It enables a notation to be included on the public register to identify practitioners to the public, employers and others when the practitioner has completed a Board-approved qualification and supervised experience in an approved area of practice.
The following criteria must be considered before applying for an endorsement to be approved by the Ministerial Council:
In addition, the qualification for endorsement must be accredited and then approved by the Board for registration. For the psychology profession the Board has delegated the accreditation function to the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC).
In comparison, a practitioner’s area of professional interest does not meet the threshold for requiring more regulatory oversight. An area of professional interest is not a regulatory mechanism under the National Law, but rather stems from personal work experiences and vocational choices. While the number of endorsements available are limited, the areas of professional interest have no bounds. Professional interest areas can be related to a work area (e.g. drug and alcohol use, trauma), type of therapy (e.g. narrative or psychodynamic therapy), working with specific populations (e.g. women, refugees, couples), age ranges (infants, older adults), client presentations (e.g. sleep disorders, eating disorders) or a job tasks (policy, supervision).
Practitioners upskill themselves in an area of professional interest through continuing professional development (CPD). There are typically no Board-approved or APAC-accredited qualifications available in an area of interest like there is for an area of practice endorsement. Practitioners regularly change their areas of professional interest over their careers, as they change jobs or develop new directions of professional growth.