Retirement of the 4+2 internship program

Five steps to ensure you start your 4+2 internship program by the 30 June 2022 deadline

The last day that the Board will accept applications for provisional registration to undertake the 4+2 internship program (the two-year internship) is 30 June 2022.

This is a hard deadline, and no new applications for the 4+2 internship will be accepted after this date.

If you miss this deadline, you will need to undertake an alternative pathway to general registration such as the 5+1 internship pathway or the higher degree pathway.

Students who wish to be in the final cohort of the 4+2 internship program should undertake the following tasks to ensure they meet the deadline.

Step Tasks and essential information
1. Know what you need to know

Read and prepare to meet the deadline now
2. Complete all fourth-year units by the end of 2021
(or over the summer at the latest)

There will not be time to complete final units in first semester 2022 and make the 30 June 2022 application deadline. You must finish all units in 2021 (or over the summer). This is because during first semester 2022 you will need to:

  • Receive all your results and final transcript
  • Secure an internship, and
  • Complete all paperwork for registration
3. Secure an internship as early as possible
  • Find a suitable work role
  • Obtain the official position description on company letter head
  • Find a principal and secondary supervisor(s)
4. Undertake any necessary tasks towards meeting the Registration standards

To be registered as a provisional psychologist you must meet the following registration standards:

  • Provisional registration standard
  • English language skills registration standard
  • Criminal History registration standard
  • Professional indemnity insurance arrangements standard
5. Apply for provisional registration via the 4+2 internship pathway as early as possible in 2022

Apply for provisional registration using the APRO-76 form and

Submit the 4+2 internship program plan SPPR-76 form

Key transition and retirement dates

Key date
30 June 2022 The last day that the Board will accept applications for provisional registration to undertake the 4+2 internship program (i.e. the two-year internship).

This means that by 30 June 2022 you will need to complete your fourth-year training and submit your application for provisional registration through the 4+2 internship program (i.e. the APRO-76 Form and the 4+2 internship program plan).

We strongly encourage you to apply six to eight weeks prior to this deadline for your application to be assessed in a timely manner. Applications are assessed in the order they are received. You cannot start your two-year internship until your application has been approved.

No new applications for provisional registration through the 4+2 internship pathway will be accepted after this hard deadline.
30 June 2027 The last day that a person who has completed the 4+2 internship program can apply for general registration.

This is also the last date the Board will receive applications under Extended leave provisions for provisional psychologists.

We strongly encourage you to apply six to eight weeks prior to this deadline to ensure there is enough time for your application to be assessed.
1 January 2029 The date the new General registration standard and Provisional registration standard come into effect, and the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration is retired.

Applications for general registration from applicants who have successfully completed the 4+2 internship cannot be accepted once the new standard is in force.

Information for students and interns

No. The last day we will accept applications to undertake a two-year internship is 30 June 2022. This is a hard deadline and no new applications for the 4+2 internship will be accepted after this date.

The retirement of the 4+2 pathway to registration was announced in April 2019 to provide students with three years advanced notice of the hard deadline. While we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to people’s life, work and study we are unable to extend the deadline. The hard deadline is in place to ensure that the final cohort of 4+2 interns have enough time to complete the internship requirements before this pathway is retired and removed from the General registration standard.

You will need to choose an alternative pathway to general registration such as the 5+1 internship pathway or the higher degree pathway. These pathways take the same time to complete as the 4+2 internship - they all take six years from the beginning to the end of training.

We know that gaining entry into a postgraduate psychology program can be competitive, and we are working with higher education stakeholders to encourage more places in these programs.

Yes. To help people prepare, there is a ten-year transition period for retirement of the 4+2 internship. Retirement of the pathway was announced in April 2019 and does not come into effect until 1 January 2029.

The key transition dates are:

  • 30 June 2022 - the last day that we will accept applications for provisional registration to undertake the 4+2 internship program (i.e. the two-year internship).
  • 30 June 2027 - the last day that a person who has completed the 4+2 internship program can apply for general registration
  • 1 January 2029 - the date the new General registration standard and Provisional registration standard come into effect, and the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration is retired.

We chose a future date of retirement of the 4+2 to ensure that there would be time for three further intakes of fourth-year students before the internship program is closed (i.e. 2019, 2020, and 2021).

The transition provisions allow for the maximum time permitted in the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program (five years) for the two-year internship to be completed.

We are committed to ensuring equity for those students who need to study or work part-time or take a leave of absence due to family, medical, or maternity reasons. By allowing the maximum timeframe for completion of the internship, we can promote equity within reasonable retirement timeframes.

Yes. If you have not begun your fourth-year in 2021, you will not have enough time to complete your qualification and apply for provisional registration to undertake the 4+2 internship program (i.e. the two-year internship) by the 30 June 2022 deadline.

You will need to choose an alternative pathway to general registration such as the 5+1 internship pathway or the higher degree pathway. These pathways take the same time to complete as the 4+2 internship - they all take six years from the beginning to the end of training.

Yes, you can apply to restart your 4+2 internship, however you must do this before the 30 June 2022 deadline. If you miss the deadline, you will need to complete your psychology training via one of the other pathways.

Applicants with aged qualifications should review the Policy on recency of qualifications for applicants for provisional registration in the 4+2 pathway (which is an appendix to the 4+2 Internship Guidelines) before making an application for the 4+2 Internship program.

If you are required to complete refresher training in order to be eligible to apply for an internship, this must be completed, and your internship program plan and application for provisional registration submitted, by the 30 June 2022 deadline.

The key dates for transition and retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration are hard deadlines.

If you miss a deadline, you will need to choose an alternative pathway to general registration such as the 5+1 internship pathway or the higher degree pathway.

Supervised practice hours from a 4+2 internship are not able to be applied to a 5+1 internship, masters practicum or a registrar program. The aim of supervised practice is to integrate knowledge and apply it to practice. For this reason, practical experience must occur after knowledge and theory acquisition for the knowledge to be applied and supervised during supervised practice hours.

 

Key date Deadline What to do if you miss this deadline
30 June 2022 Applications to begin the two-year internship will not be accepted after this date You cannot begin the two-year internship. Choose an alternative pathway to general registration.
30 June 2027 The last day that a person who has completed the 4+2 internship program can apply for general registration. You cannot apply for general registration even if you have completed the internship. You will need to apply to undertake an alternative pathway to general registration.
This is also the last date the Board will receive applications under Extended leave provisions for provisional psychologists . If you have not finished the two-year internship, and do not have extended leave approved by the Board, then you are not able to apply for general registration by the deadline. You will need to apply to undertake an alternative pathway to general registration.
31 December 2028 End of the extended leave provisions. The 4+2 internship is retired on 1 January 2019 (with the publication of the new Provisional and General registration standards). Applications for general registration from applicants who have successfully completed the 4+2 internship cannot be accepted once the new standard is in force. If you miss this deadline you will need to apply to undertake an alternative pathway to general registration.

Interns will have the maximum of five years as outlined in the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program to complete the two-year internship program.

We are committed to ensure equity for those interns who need to study or work part-time or take a leave of absence due to family, medical, or maternity reasons. By allowing the maximum timeframe for completion of the internship, we can promote equity within reasonable retirement timeframes.

If you think you will need longer to complete the internship, please see Extended leave provisions for provisional psychologists.

Interns will have the maximum of five years as outlined in the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program to complete the two-year internship program.

We will consider extension to the five-year maximum on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the Extended leave provisions for provisional psychologists.

Extended leave can only be granted for a maximum of twelve months from the date of renewal of registration.

All applications for extension must be approved before 30 June 2027. It is paramount that applications for extended leave are submitted to Ahpra well in advance of this deadline.

Extended leave provisions cannot extend any longer than 31 December 2028 because the 4+2 internship will be retired the next day - on 1 January 2029.


The last day for a person to apply for general registration through the 4+2 internship pathway is 30 June 2027. An additional six months will be allowed for administration and processing of applications until 31 December 2027.

There will be generous grace period for a maximum of twelve months until 31 December 2028 to allow for any additional administration and processing of applications, including for the administration of approved leave under the Extended leave provisions for provisional psychologists policy.

 

Information for others

Retirement the 4+2 internship will not affect your general registration as a psychologist.

Retirement the 4+2 internship as a pathway for general registration is for future new registration only. If the 4+2 internship pathway was recognised as a pathway to registration at the time you were first registered, you will not be affected by retirement of the 4+2, even if you have had a period of non-practicing registration or your registration has lapsed for a period of time.

You will continue to be eligible for general registration under section 53(d) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law

Public safety is at the heart of the National Scheme. The public can be confident that their psychologist is suitably trained and qualified to practice in a competent and ethical manner.

There will be no effect on cost of sessions or availability of psychologists because of the retirement of the 4+2 pathway to general registration.

The retirement the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration will not result in any changes to the application timeframes, application process, or to the Board’s transitional program for applicants with overseas qualifications.

Since there is no international equivalent of the 4+2 internship, overseas students will not be disadvantaged. Retirement of the 4+2 internship will result in Australian registration requirements becoming aligned with international standards.

Further information for overseas applicants can be found under overseas applicants on the Board’s website.

We ask employers and supervisors to encourage their 4+2 interns to finish requirements in a timely manner.

Organisations will need to prepare to transition to supervise or employ 5+1 interns. The transition period, and future date of retirement on 1 January 2029 will allow employers and supervisors plenty of lead time to prepare for retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway.

We do not require additional training for supervisors to supervise 5+1 interns.

 

General information

We announced the retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration in April 2019.

On 3 April 2019, the Ministerial Council approved the revised General registration standard and Provisional registration standard removing the 4 +2 internships as a pathway to general registration. The revised standards will take effect on 1 January 2029 – the date of the retirement of the 4+2 internship.

For more information please review:

The 4+2 internship program is being retired as a pathway to registration in favour of the 5+1 internship program to reduce regulatory burden of psychology training.

The 4+2 internship program is unsustainable as it carries a high regulatory and administrative burden for employers, supervisors, interns, and the regulator. The 4+2 internship is not comparable to international benchmarks for training and registration, and there are significant risks associated with the two-year unaccredited internship.

While the 4+2 internship pathway has a long history of servicing the profession and employers well, and has produced many high-quality practitioners, the pathway is no longer fit-for-purpose in the current or future context. Retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration is expected to have the following benefits:

  • increased public protection
  • strengthening risk management
  • improved training quality and consistency
  • improved international equivalence of training standards
  • improved use of accreditation, and
  • reduction in costs, administration and burden for trainees, employers, supervisors and the regulator.

In comparison to the 4+2, the 5+1 internship program has the advantage of an additional year of accreditation that provides interns with a better model of training and learning. In addition, there is an administrative and regulatory advantage of the 5+1 through reduced regulatory costs and costs to employers.

Further information about the reasons to retire the 4+2 internship is outlined in the Public consultation paper, available under Past consultations on the Board’s website.

The 4+2 internship pathway to general registration will not be retired until 1 January 2029 – ten years after the retirement of the pathway was announced.

As a matter of course, we review all the standards, guidelines and policies every three to five years. Previous consultations on the 4+2 internship were held in 2009 and 2014.

Implementing an updated Provisional registration standard and Guidelines for the 4+2 internship, effective 1 June 2017, was timely and necessary, regardless of any work on the proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway.

The updated 4+2 internship is outcome-focused, and competency based. A range of new flexibilities were introduced in the 4+2 internship guideline, including:

  • more flexible supervision arrangements
  • promotion of simulated learning activities
  • increased supervisor responsibilities
  • retirement of the limited work role policy, and
  • more flexibility to demonstrate achievement of the core competencies in different ways.

These flexibilities will assist interns complete their internship more easily and will support the transition to retirement of the 4+2 internship.
We do not expect that there will be any further changes to the 4+2 internship program, and that the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship will be in place until the retirement of the pathway.

The Board conducted wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders between 2015 and 2018 on the proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration.

Background information to the decision to retire the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration includes the following:

 
 
 
Page reviewed 25/02/2021