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.


Recognised qualifications

To be recognised for registration, psychology qualifications must be accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and approved by the Psychology Board of Australia. An online search is available for all approved programs of study. The search contains detail of programs of study that are accredited by APAC and approved by the Board.

An online search is available for inactive programs of study that are no longer delivered by an educational provider or no longer approved by the National Board.

Previously accredited courses that are no longer offered may still be recognised. If a tertiary course of study was on the list of approved programs on the date you completed the course it will be recognised by the National Board.

You can also submit a request for historical course information on the APAC website if you need to verify the accreditation status of a course that is no longer offered.

Current accreditation standards for higher degrees do not allow individuals into the Masters or Doctorate programs if there has been a gap of more than 10 years between the 4th and 5th year. Therefore you should seek advice and approval to enrol from the tertiary institution to which you are applying.

It is the responsibility of the accredited tertiary institution to advise you about any particular conditions or refresher training that is required to be accepted into a postgraduate program.

The Board or AHPRA are unable to provide general advice about this issue as it will depend on the specifics of your education program which must be in a psychology field. The Board will assess this issue on a case by case basis when it receives an application for registration.

Detailed information about the application process is available on the overseas applicants’ section of the website.

No the Board cannot provide advice on this issue. This is a matter for the university offering the particular course. Please contact the university directly.


Renewal of registration

If it is within one month of the expiry date you can still renew and you can continue to work as a psychologist during the one month ‘late period’. If your registration is general or non-practising you can renew your registration online. Enter your user ID and password on the health practitioner login page.

If you don’t have your login details contact our customer service team using the online enquiry form or phone 1300 419 495. Tell our team member your registration is due now and ask for your user ID and password. Then you can renew your registration online.

When you renew your registration, make sure you check the Board’s registration standards, as you must meet these under the National Law and questions about whether you have met them are part of the renewal.

You can also mail your complete form to your local AHPRA office; however your application to renew must be received within one month of your registration expiry date.

Provisional psychologists cannot renew online as details of university enrolment or confirmation of an ongoing internship must be provided with the renewal. Provisional psychologists need to post their renewal forms to AHPRA.

Renewal of registration during the late period will incur the late fee that is included on the schedule of fees.

No if you don’t renew your registration within one month of the expiry date your registration lapses. You must apply for re-registration and cannot practise psychology or use the title ‘Psychologist’ until re-registration has been granted.

If your registration expired more than one month, but less than two months ago you can use fast track registration. Fast track registration allows practitioners whose registration has recently lapsed to re-register without having to provide proof of identity, verification of qualifications (if previously provided), verification of English language proficiency, and evidence of registration and practice history.

If you need to use fast track registration, please call the customer service team on 1300 419 495.

If it is more than two months since your registration expired you should use the Application for general registration - AGEN-76, which is available on the Forms page.


Supervisors and supervision programs

No, each candidate for provisional registration must arrange his or her own internship and submit their application and supervision plan based on a proposed work role(s) and under the supervision of a proposed principal and secondary supervisor.

For more information please refer to the Provisional registration standard (352 KB,PDF) and information on the 4+2 internship program or the 5+1 internship program page.

Each individual is responsible for finding their own supervisor.

To assist you with finding a supervisor AHPRA has created a searchable database which is available on the website – Search for a Supervisor. To find a supervisor who matches your supervision requirements choose the appropriate state/territory in the search and you can narrow your search by location or by supervision category (pathway) or both.

If you are searching for a supervisor in the Registrar Program pathway you can narrow your search further by choosing an area of endorsement. Where an approved supervisor has given their consent their email address will be published in the search results allowing you to contact potential supervisors directly.

No. The Board and the legislative framework upon which registration is framed stops at the borders of Australia. The Board has no jurisdiction over practice performed outside Australia and cannot approve overseas psychological work for the purposes of an internship or registrar program.

The Board will consider requests for credit for supervision previously completed overseas with the approval of the relevant registration or licensing authority. These requests will be considered case by case when an application for approval of an internship or registrar program in Australia is received.

Yes. For the purpose of the 4+2 internship program this type of supervision is regarded as ‘remote’ supervision.

Board permission is not required for remote supervision that uses high quality equipment for real time visual and verbal communication where both the supervisor and the supervisee can clearly hear each other and there is a clear image that allows facial expressions and body language to be seen.

Requests for remote supervision that does not allow each party to see a clear image of the other (e.g. telephone) must be made in writing to the Board and approved in writing before this type of supervision can be counted towards the training program. For more information refer to the Guidelines for 4+2 internship program (387 KB,PDF) for more information.

The Psychology Board of Australia approves the following types of supervisors:

  • supervisors of provisionally registered psychologists undertaking placements as part of an accredited university course (Board approval is required from 1 July 2013)
  • supervisors of provisionally registered psychologists enrolled in an accredited university course and undertaking psychological practice in addition to university placements (see the Board’s Policy on working in addition to placements (423 KB,PDF))
  • supervisors of provisionally registered psychologists undertaking a two year Board approved supervised practice program for the purposes of obtaining general registration - the 4+2 internship program
  • supervisors of provisionally registered psychologists undertaking a one year Board approved supervised practice program following completion of an accredited fifth year degree for the purposes of obtaining general registration - the 5+1 internship program (under development)
  • supervisors of generally registered psychologists undertaking a registrar program leading to eligibility for area of practice endorsement

This excludes other types of supervisors, such as those supervising a research dissertation, line-managers, or supervisors providing supervision for the purposes of general CPD peer consultation, who do not need to be Board-approved. This also excludes supervisors approved to provide supervision and training to individual psychologists practising under conditions arising from disciplinary action.

Supervisors of psychologists undertaking a Board approved supervision program (4+2 internship, 5+1 internship, or registrar program) can also be divided into principal supervisors and secondary supervisors. Principal supervisors take primary responsibility for the trainee and provide the majority of the supervision. Secondary supervisors fulfil a component of the supervision of the internship program as agreed with the Board, the principal supervisor and the provisional psychologist. A secondary supervisor is required to assist with supervision programs leading to general registration.

Since 1 July 2013 applicants are required to complete a Board approved supervisor training program before they can become a supervisor. 

Information on supervisor training programs and training providers is available in the Guideline for supervisors and supervisor training providers and on the Supervisor training page.


Provisional Registration

Yes. You can apply for provisional registration online if you have completed an APAC-accredited four-year sequence of study within the last 10 years and wish to start an internship, or if you are enrolled in an accredited postgraduate (Masters) program (provided you have never been registered as a health practitioner in Australia before).

There are three simple steps to applying for provision registration online:

  1. Fill out an online application for provisional registration.
  2. Upload supporting documents as part of the online application.
  3. Wait to be contacted by AHPRA.

If you are doing the 4+2 internship you will need to submit an internship program plan (form SPPR-76) with position description/s for your work role/s or placement/s before you can finalise your application for provisional registration.

Before applying for provisional registration, ensure you are familiar with the obligations and responsibilities of provisional psychologists, including the Board’s registration standards, the code of ethics, and various guidelines and policies.

For full details visit Graduate Applications.

No. Provisional psychologists cannot renew online because they must provide details of their university enrolment or confirmation of their ongoing internship with their renewal application. Therefore, provisional renewal forms need to be posted to a local AHPRA office.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law states that provisional registration cannot be renewed more than twice. We cannot make exemptions to this requirement.

Provisional psychologists who do not complete their postgraduate degree or internship within three years must apply again for provisional registration, however there is a streamlined application process (using form ARPP-76) to ensure your study/internship is not disrupted. You won’t incur any application fees, you’ll just pay the annual provisional registration fee.

Under the National Law you must renew your registration within one month of the expiry date or your registration will lapse. The month following your expiry date is known as the ‘late period’. You can still work in this period because you are still registered, but you will incur late renewal fees when you lodge your renewal application (see schedule of fees).

If you have not renewed at the end of your late period, your registration will lapse and you cannot continue practicing as a provisional psychologist. If you wish to continue your postgraduate study or internship, you will need to submit a new application for provisional registration. You must not practice until the new application for provisional registration is approved.

Important: If you have already renewed provisional registration twice, you won’t have a late period because you are not eligible for renewal. You must lodge an application for provisional registration before your expiry date otherwise your registration will lapse (see the FAQ above).

If you hold provisional registration in psychology under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, you can use the title ‘provisional psychologist’ while practicing in an internship or higher degree (Masters) placement.

Using the term ‘psychologist’ alone would imply that you hold general registration as a psychologist, which you do not. There are penalties and other consequences for representing you hold a type of registration that you don’t hold.



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 have completed a Board-approved registrar program use form AECR-76.

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

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.

Yes. If you hold a current practising certificate you can apply for registration under Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (TTMR) and your registration type in Australia will be the equivalent type to your registration in New Zealand:

  • The scope of practice for a counselling psychologist in New Zealand is equivalent to General registration with a counselling psychology area of practice endorsement in Australia.
  • The scope of practice for a clinical psychologist in New Zealand is equivalent to General registration with a clinical psychology area of practice endorsement in Australia.
  • The scope of practice for an educational psychologist in New Zealand is equivalent to General registration with an educational and developmental psychology area of practice endorsement in Australia.

If you wish to apply for an area of practice endorsement in Australia that does not have an equivalent vocational scope of practice registration in New Zealand, you can apply for General registration under TTMR and apply for the endorsement separately. See Overseas applicants for more information about TTMR.

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.

  • Psychologists with general registration have unrestricted rights to use the title Psychologist or Registered Psychologist, and may undertake any work using that title.
  • Candidates undertaking doctoral degrees who have general registration, but do not have an endorsement, may only refer to themselves as a Psychologist or Registered Psychologist.
  • Provisionally registered psychologists undertaking an internship accredited higher degree pathway for the purpose of obtaining general registration must only use the title Provisional Psychologist.
  • A psychologist enrolled in a Board registrar program leading to an endorsement may use the title Registrar along with the area of practice e.g. Clinical Psychology Registrar.
  • Psychologists with an endorsement may use the title associated with that area of practice e.g. Clinical Psychologist.
  • If your registration expires but you are still within the one month late period you can continue to use the title ‘Psychologist’ and any title related to an endorsement on your registration.
  • If your registration lapses you may not continue to use the title Psychologist or any derivative of that title. There are penalties and other consequences for false use of titles.

Psychologists who held specialist registration with the Psychologists Registration Board of Western Australia in an area that is equivalent to an endorsed area of practice under the National Law, automatically transferred to the National Scheme with the equivalent area of practice endorsement on 18 October 2010.

Under the National Law the legal mechanism to describe your registration has changed. You now have general registration with an area of practice endorsement instead of specialist registration. Your scope of practice and ability to use a title associated with your area of practice, such as Clinical Psychologist, have not changed.

Only a psychologist with General registration and an approved area of practice endorsement may use a title that indicates that he or she holds an endorsement.

For example, a psychologist who has been endorsed to practise in the area of clinical psychology may refer to himself or herself as a ‘clinical psychologist’. A person who does not have an endorsement for ‘clinical psychology’ must not use the title ‘clinical psychologist’ or any other title that may mislead the public into a belief that the person holds such an endorsement when he or she does not. This applies to each of the nine areas of practice approved for endorsement.

Approved titles are:

  • Clinical Neuropsychologist
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Community Psychologist
  • Counselling Psychologist
  • Educational and Developmental Psychologist
  • Forensic Psychologist
  • Health Psychologist
  • Organisational Psychologist
  • Sport and Exercise Psychologist.

A generally registered psychologist may use descriptors in combination with the title “psychologist” as long as:

  1. the title does not knowingly or recklessly claim or induce a belief that the psychologist has an endorsement in an approved area of practice that the psychologist does not hold
  2. the title does not knowingly or recklessly claim that the psychologist is a specialist health practitioner, e.g. “specialist clinical psychologist”, “specialist psychologist”
  3. the title does not mislead the public, that is, makes claim to knowledge, skill or qualifications that the psychologist does not hold.

For example, Specialist School Psychologist would not be an acceptable title as section 118(1)(a) of the National Law states that “a person who is not a specialist health practitioner must not knowingly or recklessly take or use the title of “specialist health practitioner” whether with or without any other words”.

However, psychologists should generally avoid non-approved titles as there is a significant risk that they may over-represent their area of expertise, or practise outside their scope of competence, which would be in breach of the APS Code of Ethics which has been adopted by the Board for the profession.

It is important that the public is not misled into thinking a psychologist has additional qualifications and supervised practice associated with an endorsement, through the use of non-approved titles. Please also consult the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services.

No. Where an area of practice endorsement exists, practitioners will need to take care to avoid using a professional title that is in any way misleading and could cause others to believe they hold an endorsement when they do not.

For example, there is an area of practice endorsement for clinical psychology; therefore psychologists whose registration is not endorsed in this area of practice will be at risk of breach of the National Law if they use that specific title.

The Board recognises that in some states and territories public sector industrial awards enable the employment of a psychologist in a position that has a title approved under an industrial award – i.e. clinical psychologist - despite the psychologist not meeting the requirements of the Board’s Area of practice endorsements registration standard.

In such cases, the psychologist must not use the title in a way that may induce a belief that the psychologist holds an endorsement in that approved area of practice. It must be clear to the public that the title relates specifically to the position being held, and the psychologist must not use this title outside the context of their employment e.g. in private practice.

Psychologists are encouraged to apply for an area of practice endorsement to overcome this difficulty.

The title 'registrar' is not a protected title under the National Law, but titles associated with an endorsement are protected. The title may only be used by psychologists who have completed a Masters or Doctorate in an endorsed area, and are currently undertaking Board approved supervised practice (‘the registrar program') for the purpose of gaining an endorsement.

You must ensure you do not use the title in such a way that it may lead a person to believe that you already have an endorsement. Examples of acceptable titles are 'Registrar - Clinical Psychology' or 'Clinical Psychology Registrar'.

Provisional Psychologists undertaking an accredited higher degree or a Board approved 4+2 internship are entitled to use the title ‘Provisional Psychologist’ while engaged in approved supervised practice.

A Provisional Psychologist undertaking an accredited higher coursework degree pathway may only undertake additional practice outside university placements and use the title 'Provisional Psychologist' on Board approval. The application for approval to work outside university placements can be downloaded from the Forms page of the website. You should not use the title ‘Provisional Psychologist’ for work roles that are not psychological.

Under the National Law the word ‘provisional’ is not protected but when paired with the word ‘psychologist’ it would constitute a breach of the Act if used by any person who is not registered as a Provisional Psychologist.


Professional indemnity insurance

All practising psychologists must have a minimum level of $2 million for any one claim. It is the responsibility of the individual psychologist to determine whether the minimum level is sufficient for their practice and to ensure that they take out PII cover that is appropriate to the level of risk.

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.

No, provided that your practice as a psychologist is covered by your employer’s PII and this complies with the Board’s requirements. Psychologists are encouraged to seek their own advice about insurance, because while some employer insurance will cover claims by a client of a health service, it may or may not support a practitioner who needs to defend themself.

The Board only requires you to have professional indemnity insurance to cover you in Australia so you don’t need Australian PII if you don’t practise in Australia. However you should check the requirements of local registration or licensing authority in the country in which you are practising and ensure you comply with their professional indemnity insurance requirements.


Non-practising registration

Yes, the National Law includes non-practising registration. If you currently have or previously had general registration (or equivalent under previous state or territory legislation) and would like to have non-practising registration you should submit an application for non-practising registration to the AHPRA office in your state or territory.

Non-practising registration is designed for retirees, people taking time out of the workforce (e.g. to raise children, travel), psychologists who work but not in the capacity or direct application of psychology, and psychologists who are only practising overseas but want to maintain Australian registration. Before changing to non-practising registration you should be aware of the definition of practice which means-

any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a practitioner in their regulated health profession. Practice is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes using professional knowledge in a direct nonclinical relationship with patients or clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles and any other roles that impact on safe, effective delivery of health services in the health profession.

No, non-practising psychologists are exempt from CPD. If you are non-practising for part of the year you need to do CPD only for the part of the year you had general registration.

Yes, non-practising registration only means you are non-practising in Australia so your ability to practise overseas is not affected. You should ensure you have appropriate registration or licensure in the country in which you intend to practise.


Recency of practice

The Board’s Recency of practice registration standard provides details of the specific requirements of recency of practice and is available on the Registration Standards page.

The revised standard will not apply to renewal declarations made in 2016. Practitioners will be asked in their 2017 renewal application to declare whether they have met the revised standard in the last registration period (i.e. from 1 December 2016 – 30 November 2017).

Additional FAQ and other information about recency of practice are available on the recency of practice resources page.

Page reviewed 19/07/2019