Psychology general FAQ

Frequently asked questions are available on the following topics:

A psychologist’s registration number is a ten digit number prefixed by PSY i.e. PSY0000000001. If you don’t know the registration number you can also search by entering the last name and profession.

See the online Register of Practitioners.

Provisional psychologists completing an APAC accredited two-year master's degree must complete all components of their degree and be eligible to graduate before they can apply for general registration. Therefore master's candidates cannot apply for general registration until the thesis has been marked and passed.

However, if you have completed and passed all degree components, including your thesis, you may apply for general registration before you have formally graduated (i.e. attended the graduation ceremony). You must arrange for your university to forward to AHPRA your official academic transcript that shows completion of the qualification, and a letter from the Head of School at your university confirming that you are eligible to graduate.

Provisional psychologists completing an APAC accredited doctorate or combined master/PhD may apply for general registration once they have completed the equivalent of a master's degree. This means completion of all coursework and placements and sufficient progress with the thesis to the point that it is equivalent to a master's thesis at that university.

More information is available in the Board’s Policy for higher degree students applying for general registration. To apply for general registration prior to completion of your thesis you must submit a form PDEC-76 signed by your Head of School verifying progress with the thesis.

As soon as you are granted general registration as a psychologist you can start practising in any state or territory of Australia.

Provisional psychologists can start practising as soon as provisional registration is granted but only in positions that are supervised, such as part of an accredited higher degree or in a workplace internship approved by the Board.

Provisional psychologists undertaking internship or transitional programs who are seeking to change work roles, and higher degree students who wish to undertake additional placements that are not part of the higher degree, must obtain the Board’s permission before starting in new roles.

The category of provisional registration better represents the training pathways of psychologists than the category of student registration. Student registration is typically applied to registrants in undergraduate programs, or in programs where students are closely supervised in group placements and do not work independently in a practical environment. This does not apply to trainees in 5th and 6th year programs which require trainees to operate autonomously under supervision when practising, usually in one-on-one consultations.

Although trainees have a choice of three routes to complete the 5th and 6th years - either through a workplace internship (4+2 program) or an accredited postgraduatedegree (Masters or Doctorate), or a combination (5+1 program), all have substantial periods of training in supervised workplace placements and are therefore deemed fall into the provisional registration provisions of the National Law rather than the student registration provisions. Provisional registration for 5th and 6th year trainees is also consistent with accepted standard practice in Australia given that 6 of 8 jurisdictions before the national scheme registered 5th and 6th year trainees as provisional (or equivalent) registrants.

In addition, it is not unusual for trainees to obtain paid workplace training positions, or further obtain paid work performing duties as a provisional psychologist under supervision on Board approval. These paid positions are important for growing and maintaining the psychology workforce. Student registration at the 5th and 6th year for postgraduate students would prevent them obtaining such paid places as these are outside their work as a student.

The Board would anticipate considerable discontent from provisionally registered psychologists should it seek to introduce student registration at the 5th and 6th year as it might inadvertently limit an intern's ability to obtain paid supervised training positions which require provisional registration status. For information on gaining approval to undertake placements in addition to university placements refer to the Board’s Policy on working in addition to placements (423 KB,PDF).

Although other health professions (such as medicine and pharmacy) that have provisional registration for graduates undertaking supervised practice also have student registration for individuals enrolled in undergraduate programs, the Board has determined that the first four years of psychology training do not require registration as a student as there are no internship placements, making the risks to the public of these students very low. This decision follows the precedent that there has never been psychology student registration in any jurisdiction of Australia.

Under the national scheme, all individuals working towards general registration as a psychologist will have a consistent title in every state and territory of Australia. This is important in helping the public understand more about the registration status of psychologists.

A psychologist’s registration number is a ten digit number prefixed by PSY i.e. PSY0000000001. If you don’t know the registration number you can also search by entering the last name and profession.

See the online Register of Practitioners.

A psychologist’s registration number is a ten digit number prefixed by PSY i.e. PSY0000000001. If you don’t know the registration number you can also search by entering the last name and profession.

See the online Register of Practitioners.

A psychologist’s registration number is a ten digit number prefixed by PSY i.e. PSY0000000001. If you don’t know the registration number you can also search by entering the last name and profession.

See the online Register of Practitioners.

A psychologist’s registration number is a ten digit number prefixed by PSY i.e. PSY0000000001. If you don’t know the registration number you can also search by entering the last name and profession.

See the online Register of Practitioners.

 

Endorsements

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law), as in force in each state and territory, enables National Boards to ‘endorse’ the registration of suitably qualified practitioners.

Endorsement of a psychologist’s General registration is a legal mechanism under the National Law through which particular groups of registrants, who have an additional specialist qualification and advanced supervised practice recognised by the Board, can be identified to the public, employers and others through the National Register.

An endorsement on General registration indicates that a health practitioner has qualifications and supervised experience in an advanced area of practice, in addition to the minimum level of training required for General registration.

To check if a registered psychologist has an endorsement under the National Law you can check their registration details via the online Register of Practitioners.

To be eligible for endorsement in one of the approved areas of practice a registered general psychologist must have:

  1. a Board-approved postgraduate qualification accredited as a fifth, sixth and seventh year of study (e.g. doctorate) in the approved area of practice, followed by a minimum one year of approved supervised full-time equivalent practice with a Board approved supervisor in a Board-approved registrar program or

  2. a Board-approved postgraduate qualification accredited as a fifth and sixth year of study (e.g. masters) in the approved area of practice, followed by a minimum of two years of approved supervised full-time equivalent practice with a Board approved supervisor in a Board-approved registrar program or

  3. another qualification and period of supervised practice that, in the Board’s opinion, is substantially equivalent to (a) or (b).*

* Option c) generally refers to equivalent overseas qualifications as assessed by a recognised accreditation authority.

The Board will also accept university postgraduate bridging programs accredited as a sixth year or seventh year of study (e.g. post-masters graduate diploma) in the approved area of practice followed by one or two years of approved supervised full-time equivalent practice with a Board approved supervisor in a Board approved registrar program.

The application forms for area of practice endorsement are available on the Board’s website on the Forms page under Endorsement of registration.

If you meet the qualification requirements and have completed a Board-approved registrar program use form AECR-76.

If you meet the qualification requirements but have not yet completed a registrar program, apply to commence a registrar program using form AEAP-76.

If you completed equivalent training overseas, or if you completed an accredited Australian doctorate under transition provisions, refer to information about the non-standard pathway and use form AEAT-76 when you are ready to apply for endorsement.

 

The APS college membership requirements are closely aligned with the Board’s area of practice endorsement requirements and you may be able to complete an advance supervised practice program that meets the requirements for both concurrently.

However the Board and the APS are completely separate organisations and completion of the requirements for one will not automatically meet the requirements for the other. You must apply separately to the college and to AHPRA to commence the programs and meet the requirements of both organisations including pre-approval of the registrar program plan and supervised practice plan and meet the separate progress reporting requirements and any other requirements of both organisations. You must also make separate applications to at the end of the programs, to AHPRA to have the endorsement added to your registration, and to the APS college for membership.

If you are planning to undertake supervised practice for both endorsement and college membership you must ensure that you fully understand the requirements of both programs.

The Board’s requirements for endorsement are explained in the Area of practice endorsements registration standard (288 KB,PDF) and the Guidelines on area of practice endorsements.

Information about the APS requirements for College membership is available from the APS website.

If you already qualify for more than one endorsement under the transitional arrangements then you can be endorsed in two or more areas of practice. However the Board's view is that endorsement of registration should communicate to the public about the qualifications and supervised practice of the psychologist in an area of practice. To be endorsed in more than one area of practice you must have completed an accredited qualification and a period of approved supervised practice for each area of practice.

Therefore to obtain a second endorsement you must complete an accredited qualification in the second area of practice such as a Masters, Doctorate, or post-masters bridging program, followed by a Board-approved registrar program in the area of practice.

 

Professional indemnity insurance

The requirement for current PII only applies to practising psychologists. If you practise as a registered psychologist for part of the year you must hold PII for the period of practice. If you don’t have current insurance you will be required to declare on annual renewal of registration that you have not practised and will not practise without PII. Annual renewal applications will be subject to audit.

If you are not currently practising as a psychologist but have done so in the past you must ensure you have adequate run-off cover or equivalent in accordance with the PII arrangements registration standard.

If your work does not include the practice of psychology you don’t need to have PII that meets the Board’s requirements. If you are a registered psychologist and undertake any psychology practice, even if the job title is not ‘Psychologist’, you must be covered by your own PII or by an employer’s professional PII.

 
 
 
Page reviewed 20/09/2019