Internship FAQ (4+2 and 5+1)

For general questions about provisional registration, see 'Provisional registration' on the Psychology FAQ page.

You need to arrange your own internship by finding a suitable work role and supervisor. You can do this by either searching for jobs for provisional psychologists, or using our list of approved supervisors to find and contact supervisors who may be available to provide principal or secondary internship supervision. We strongly recommend using your personal and professional networks to find a suitable work role and/or supervisor.

We don’t not approve or accredit internship programs or providers, so we don’t have a list of available internships. Some higher education providers arrange 5+1 internships for students graduating from their professional Masters programs.

Find more information about arranging internships, suitable work roles, and what you can expect from your supervisor in the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program or the Guidelines for the 5+1 internship program.

Yes. Working with your supervisor/s and employer, you develop an internship plan and submit this to AHPRA for approval.

If you are doing the 4+2 pathway, you need to provide an internship plan with your application for provisional registration.

If you are doing the 5+1 pathway, you can provide your internship plan after completing your fifth-year qualification. You don’t need to wait until you have formally graduated, but you need to provide evidence of your successful completion of all components of the degree, e.g. transcript or evidence of conferral.

We approve a variety of work roles for internships. Roles must be psychological in nature and provide a breadth of experience that allows you to develop and demonstrate all eight core competencies for general registration. The work needs to involve psychology-specific tasks of assessment, problem formulation, diagnosis, intervention and prevention.

If your work role lacks breadth of experience, then you and your supervisor must plan to develop and demonstrate your competence in other ways. These might include a second work role or different work placement/s, specific professional development activities, and/or simulated learning activities. To make a confident assessment of an intern’s competence, the supervisor might introduce extra tasks or specific foci for case reports in addition to the minimum Board requirements.

See the 4+2 or 5+1 internship guidelines for more information about suitable work roles, core competencies, and alternative means of developing and demonstrating competence. You can also refer to the national psychology exam curriculum for an overview of the range of skills and knowledge you need acquire by the end of your internship.

You can undertake supervision by video or web conference (e.g. Skype), provided you and your supervisor (or peers, in the case of group supervision) can clearly see each other’s facial expressions and body language. You may also undertake some supervision by phone and email:

For the 4+2 internship: At least 150 hours of total supervision (160 hours) must be completed face-to-face or using an online visual medium such as Skype. Up to 40 of the 150 hours may be completed by telephone. The additional 10 hours may be indirect supervision, e.g. written feedback and/or email correspondence.

For the 5+1 internship: At least 70 hours of total supervision (80 hours) must be completed face-to-face or using an online visual medium such as Skype. Up to 20 of the 70 hours may be completed by telephone. The additional 10 hours may be indirect supervision, e.g. written feedback and/or email correspondence.

Note: In the case of special circumstances, we will consider requests for additional telephone or indirect (e.g. written) supervision on a case-by-case basis. These requests need to be made in writing using the web enquiry form.

All practising psychologists, including provisional psychologists, must have insurance that meets the requirements set out in our professional indemnity insurance (PII) registration standard. You are encouraged to seek your own advice about insurance to ensure your cover is appropriate for your individual practice and meets the PII standard.

If you work for a public-sector employer, you may not need to take out your own individual PII if your practice as a provisional psychologist is covered by your employer’s insurance and this cover meets the PII standard.

For the 4+2 internship: If your fourth-year psychology qualification was completed more than 10 years ago, you must meet refresher training requirements before applying to start a two-year internship. The Guidelines for the 4+2 internship (Appendix C) outlines the topics that refresher training should cover.

You need to determine your own refresher training needs by considering any relevant professional experience, study or training you’ve done since finishing your qualification. Neither the Board or APAC approves or accredits refresher training courses. Suitable refresher training activities include:

  • third- or fourth-year units completed at an accredited higher education provider
  • professional development such as workshops, lectures, short courses, or self-directed learning (e.g. reading and peer consultation), or
  • workplace supervision with a psychology supervisor.

If you think your post-qualification learning and/or experience meets the refresher training requirements, lodge an application for provisional registration: we will then conduct an assessment and advise if you need to complete further refresher training. We cannot provide advice on which topics you need to refresh unless we have received a complete provisional registration application from you.

For the 5+1 internship: We don’t have a refresher training policy for entry into the one-year internship because fifth-year programs of study have only been offered since 2012.

If you wish to enrol in a fifth-year program and your fourth-year qualification is more than 10 years old, contact higher education providers for information about their entry requirements, including whether they have refresher training requirements for aged qualifications. Higher education providers set their own policies for entry requirements in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework, set by TEQSA, and the accreditation standards (APAC).

If you think your overseas qualification is equivalent to an Australian accredited four- or five-year sequence of study in psychology, you can lodge an application for provisional registration for overseas-qualified applicants. We will assess your qualifications and let you know whether you are eligible to commence a two- or one-year internship program in Australia.

If you completed formal supervised practice or an internship overseas after completing your qualification, we may waive some of your internship requirements.

Detailed information about the overseas application process is available on our website.

During your 4+2 internship, you need to competently demonstrate nine tests to your supervisor twice each (not required in the 5+1 internship). You might like to include all six tests that the national psychology exam curriculum requires you to have detailed knowledge of, and choose three from the bigger list of tests you need to be generally familiar with. However, if you obtain enough experience with the six selected tests to pass the exam, they don’t have to be the same ones you demonstrate to your supervisor.

Note: In your work role you may gain experience with psychological tests and instruments that are not mentioned in the exam curriculum. You should always discuss these with your supervisor to ensure they are genuine psychological tests and instruments accepted by the profession. Time spent using genuine tests that aren’t on the exam curriculum can still be counted towards your practice hours for the internship, even though you can’t use them to meet the psychological testing requirements.

Yes, but you must always inform us of any change to your principal place of practice.

If moving interstate means a change of your internship supervisor and/or work role, you will need to submit a revised internship program plan for approval. The supervised practice you have completed before changing states will still be recognised as part of your internship.


Proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration

The Board’s proposal is to reduce regulatory burden of psychology training by retiring the 4+2 internship program as a pathway to registration in favour of the 5+1 internship program.

Stakeholders have communicated to the Board that the 4+2 internship pathway is no longer fit-for-purpose as a pathway to registration going forward. 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.

In comparison, the 5+1 internship 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 Board’s proposal is outlined in the Public consultation paper, available under Current consultations on the Board’s website.

The proposal to retire the 4+2 internship will not affect your general registration as a psychologist.

The aim of the Board’s proposal is to retire the 4+2 internship as a pathway 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, as in force in each state and territory.

Yes. The Board is aware that stakeholders would need time to prepare for any retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway.

The Board has outlined three options for transition in the public consultation paper. Depending on overall stakeholder preference during the consultation period, the last enrolment to begin a 4+2 internship program will either be 30 June 2019, 30 June 2020 or 30 June 2021.

Regardless of which of the three transition deadlines are preferred by stakeholders, all of them include a future date for retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway. This means that current 4+2 interns will not be affected by the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway because they have already commenced the internship. Students who are currently undertaking a 4th year program will have time to complete their studies and enrol in the internship before the deadline.

The proposed transition timeframes also allows for the maximum time permitted in the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program (five years) for the internship to be completed. The Board is committed to ensure 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, the Board is able to promote equity within reasonable retirement timeframes.

If you are considering undertaking the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration, but are not enrolled in the fourth year of psychology study, you may be affected by the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway. This will depend on whether you can complete the fourth year, and enrol in the 4+2 internship pathway by the deadline.

The Board has proposed a future date for retirement of the 4+2 internship to give adequate notice of the change. Depending on stakeholder feedback, the last enrolment to begin a 4+2 internship program will be either: 30 June 2019, 30 June 2020 or 30 June 2021.

If you have not successfully enrolled to begin the 4+2 internship pathway by the deadline, you will not be included in the final cohort of the two-year internship. In this case, there remain several other pathways to obtain general registration. Two of the alternative pathways to registration, the 5+1 internship and the standard higher degree pathway take the same time to complete as the 4+2 internship – six years.

The Board’s proposal to retire 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, the Board’s proposal would result in
Australian registration requirements becoming aligned with international standards.

Moving from a two-year internship requirement to a one-year internship requirement is expected to have a positive impact on employers and supervisors by reducing administrative costs, resourcing requirements, and regulatory burden. Less on the job supervision is required for a one-year compared with a two-year internship, and there is expected to be less risk in supervising interns that have already undertaken placements as part of their educational training.

While there will be fewer two-year interns to supervise there will be more one-year interns. There is no current workforce shortage for psychology, and retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway is not expected to alter the overall number of provisional psychologists.

Should the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship be supported, organisations will need to prepare to transition to supervise or employ 5+1 interns. The Board does not require additional training for supervisors to supervise 5+1 interns. Retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway would require employers and supervisors to encourage their current 4+2 interns to finish requirements in a timely manner.

Moving from a two-year internship requirement to a one-year internship requirement is expected to have a positive impact on educational providers. There is an increased opportunity for training providers to add fifth year training, or to transition an internship registration course into an accredited fifth year qualification. Based on current registration data, it would be expected that 800 to 1000 new interns would seek placement in a fifth year approved program of study if the 4+2 internship pathway was retired. Currently there are 17 education providers offering fifth year training programs nationally.

There is particular opportunity in NSW and Qld - jurisdictions with the most number of 4+2 interns who would be looking to train via the 5+1 pathway- and in ACT, NT and SA, where there are currently no fifth year programs offered.

There is a particular need for programs that are offered in distance education mode to ensure national availability of programs, and to support regional and rural workforce development.

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 affect on cost of sessions or availability of psychologists as a result of the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 pathway to general registration.

The Board’s proposal for retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway is outlined in: 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 will accept submissions until close of business (AEST) Friday 1 June 2018.

Further information about the proposal can be found on the Board’s website including information on:

The Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration means that the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship will be in place for at least seven more years.

As a matter of course, the Board reviews all its standards, guidelines and policies every three to five years. Previous consultations on the 4+2 internship were held in 2009 and 2014. Implementing updated 4+2 guidelines were timely and necessary, regardless of any work on the proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway.

The Board published a new Provisional registration standard and Guidelines for the 4+2 internship effective 1 June 2017. 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. If the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship is supported, it is recommended that there are no further changes to the 4+2 internship program.

Page reviewed 20/03/2019