Retirement of the 4+2 internship program

The Board has announced that the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration will be retired.

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. For more information:

Key transition and retirement dates

Key date
30 June 2022 The last day that the Board will accept applicants to begin a 4+2 internship program (the +2 internship). Applications to begin the two-year internship will not be accepted after this date.
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 .
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.

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.

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

Yes. The Board is aware that people will need time to prepare for any retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway. A future date of retirement has been decided. The Board has listened to stakeholders who requested a longer transition timeframe.

The key transition dates are:

  • 30 June 2022 - the last day to begin a 4+2 internship program.
  • 30 June 2027 - the last day to apply for general registration on the basis of completing a 4+2 internship program.
  • 1 January 2029 - the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration will be retired.

This transition period 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 started the internship.

Students who are currently undertaking a fourth-year program will have time to complete their studies and enrol in the internship before the deadline.

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

The Board is 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, the Board can 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 retirement of 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 last day to begin a 4+2 internship program is 30 June 2022.

The Board has selected a future date of retirement to allow for three additional intakes of fourth-year students before the internship program is closed.

If you have not successfully enrolled to begin the 4+2 internship pathway by 30 June 2022, you will not be included in the final cohort of interns undertaking 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 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.

The Board asks employers and supervisors to encourage their current 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 stepped transition period, and retirement on 1 January 2029 will allow employers and supervisors plenty of lead time to prepare for retirement of the 4+2 internship pathway.

The Board does not require additional training for supervisors to supervise 5+1 interns.

Moving from a two-year internship requirement (the 4+2) to a one-year internship requirement (the 5+1) 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.

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 when the 4+2 internship pathway is retired. Currently there are 19 education providers offering fifth-year training programs nationally.

There is particular opportunity for development of fifth year courses in New South Wales and Queensland - jurisdictions with the most number of 4+2 interns who would be looking to train via the 5+1 pathway- and in ACT, the Northern Territory and South Australia, 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 effect on cost of sessions or availability of psychologists because of the retirement of the 4+2 pathway to general registration.

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:

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, 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 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.

The Board does 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.

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.

The Board is 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, the Board 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.

The Board will consider extension to the five-year maximum on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the Board’s 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 the Board 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.

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.
 
 
 
Page reviewed 19/07/2019