Psychology Board of Australia - Internship FAQ (4+2 and 5+1)

Internship FAQ (4+2 and 5+1)

Refer to the Board's Provisional registration page for general information about registration.

The Board is aware that due to the COVID-19 public health measures put in place, provisional psychologists may encounter some additional challenges in meeting the requirements of their internships.

It is important that interns and their supervisors are aware of the flexibilities that are already in place in the requirements for internships. Please ensure you are working from the latest version of the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program and the Guidelines for the 5+1 internship program.

In addition, the Board has temporarily modified some of our regulatory requirements for interns during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure interns can continue with their professional training while still maintaining client safety.

Requirement Existing Flexibilities Additional flexibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic
Psychological practice The definition of direct client contact includes telehealth.

Skills acquisition activities and simulated learning (i.e. client-related activities) can be completed online/by videoconference.

Part-time internships are permitted.
During the COVID-19 pandemic working less than the minimum internship hours per week is allowed without prior permission of the Board.

You may wish to consider whether your situation meets the extended leave provisions for provisional psychologists.

(Note: the minimum hours for the 4+2 internship is 14 hours; the minimum hours for the 5+1 internship is 17.5 hours)
Supervision Frequency and duration of supervision can be varied as needed.

All supervision can be undertaken by video conference. Some supervision can be via telephone, or asynchronous (i.e. written feedback) (see guidelines for hours allowed).

Direct observation of your work by your supervisor can be viewing a recorded session.

Offsite supervision is permitted if documented and approved by the Board.
Supervisors may complete direct observation by joining a telehealth session (i.e. silent observer without video of supervisor) or by reviewing a secure recording of a telehealth session.

Note: ensure informed consent for direct observation, ensure adequate privacy conditions are met for any recording, and delete any recording after viewing.

Since many people are now working from home, the Board accepts that you and your ‘onsite’ supervisor will not necessarily be in the same building. The principal supervisor should put in place measures to ensure the provisional psychologist has access to adequate support during this time.
Professional development Allowable activities already include: reading, audio-visual material, online training, webinars. The requirements for PD are already very flexible. During the COVID-19 emergency, the Board encourages:
  • online learning or reading, and
  • undertaking professional development in the area of telehealth as relevant to your work role.

Note: there is no reduction in required PD hours. You may extend your internship to complete PD if needed.

Annual and extended leave Up to 8 weeks of leave per year is allowed without notifying the Board.

Up to 12 months of extended leave may be granted by the Board upon application without penalty to the internship for parental leave, adoption and grandparenting leave, carers leave, health reasons and lifestyle leave.
The Board has added COVID-19 to the list of acceptable reasons to take extended leave.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can take up to six months leave without notifying or seeking permission from the Board.
Maximum time to complete internship 5 years. The Board will consider extensions to the five-year maximum timeframe on a case by case basis and will make reasonable accommodations for parental and sick leave, and part-time study. The Board will consider extensions to the five-year maximum timeframe due to COVID-19 when clear evidence of need is provided.
National psychology exam
The Board has implemented online proctoring of the exam so that you can sit the exam from your home or workplace (where available) to minimise non-essential domestic travel and to restrict face-to-face interactions at test centres.

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.

Case reports generally take between 4 and 8 weeks to be assessed.

Your principal supervisor can request that your case reports be escalated for assessment only if you have met all other requirements of your internship program, that is, you have:

  • completed the minimum number of hours of supervised practice, and
  • achieved all of the core competencies, and
  • passed the National Psychology Exam

To request escalation of your case reports, your supervisor must submit a Web Enquiry Form confirming that the above requirements have been met.

Page reviewed 19/07/2019