Psychology Board of Australia - Supervision FAQ
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Supervision FAQ

General supervision FAQ

You need to be a Board-approved supervisor to provide supervision to psychologists completing one of the following programs:

  • 4+2 internship program 
  • 5+1 internship program 
  • placements during an accredited higher degree program 
  • working in addition to higher degree placements 
  • registrar program (additional approval is required for principal supervisors – see below) 
  • re-entry program after a period of not practising, and 
  • transitional program for overseas-qualified applicants.

Unless supervision is provided by a Board-approved supervisor, the Board will not recognise the supervision as meeting the supervised practice requirements of these programs.

Supervision occurring in other settings does not need to be provided by a Board-approved supervisor, for example, supervision as a line manager, supervision of a research dissertation, peer consultation, or supervision for CPD purposes.

Before applying to the Board for approval as a supervisor you must have:

  1. held general registration for at least three years (or equivalent overseas registration or licensure, as assessed by the Board), and 
  2. successfully completed all three parts of full training with a Board-approved training provider.

Once you have met these requirements, you can lodge an application to become a Board-approved supervisor using the ABAS-76 form, attaching a copy of your certificate of training completion.

Full training consists of three parts that need to be completed in sequence:

  • Part 1 – Knowledge assessment. This part requires at least seven hours of self-directed preparatory work relating to knowledge of best-practice supervision and knowledge of relevant Board codes, guidelines and policies. Completion of this part requires passing an online assessment.
  • Part 2 – Skills training workshop. This two-day workshop focuses on integrating knowledge and practical skills. It requires direct/live training to develop practical supervision skills that are relevant to all supervisee training pathways and to reflective supervision practice.
  • Part 3 – Competency-based assessment and evaluation. This part requires you to submit an electronic recording of a supervision session and a written reflection of the session. The training provider will systematically assess your demonstration of supervisor competencies and provide a pass or fail grade and feedback.

Once you have held general registration (or equivalent overseas registration) for at least 2.5 years. This is because you are required to hold registration for three years before becoming a Board-approved supervisor. Your approval as a supervisor will be for five years from the date you complete Part 3 of full training, so there is no need to start the training earlier.

Board-approved training providers and their contact details are listed on the Board’s Supervisor training webpage. You can find information on the location and scheduling of Part 2 and master class workshops by contacting Board-approved supervisor training providers directly. Providers typically list their upcoming workshops on their websites, which can be accessed through the links provided on the Supervisor training page.

If a workshop is not scheduled near you, the Board recommends you seek out other psychologists in your area who are interested in the training and then contact providers to ask if they can organise a workshop.

If have been granted ‘Board-approved supervisor’ status, you can supervise all supervised practice programs except for registrar programs as a principal supervisor. That is, Board-approved supervisors can perform any of these supervisory roles, provided they practice within their scope of competence:

  • 4+2 or 5+1 internship – principal and/or a secondary supervisor 
  • Higher degree placement supervisor (refer to the question 'What are the requirements to supervise higher degree students?' below) 
  • Supervisor of higher degree students working in addition to placements 
  • Registrar program – secondary supervisor (refer to the question 'How do I become a Registrar Program Principal Supervisor?' below) 
  • Re-entry program supervisor (for psychologists returning to practice) 
  • Transitional program supervisor (for overseas qualified psychologists)

You can apply for Board-approval as a ‘Registrar Program Principal Supervisor’ after holding endorsement in the relevant area of practice for at least two years (or equivalent overseas registration, licensure, or endorsement, as assessed by the Board).

If you meet the above requirement and you are already a Board-approved supervisor, you can apply to add the Registrar Program Principal Supervisor category through a written request to AHPRA using the online web enquiry.

If you meet the above requirement and you aren’t a Board-approved supervisor you need to complete a full supervisor training program (if you haven’t already) and apply to the Board using the ABAS-76 form, ensuring you select the ‘Registrar Program Principal Supervisor’ category on the form.

The Board does not set the requirements for higher degree placement supervisors because they are set by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) in their Accreditation Standards for Psychology Programs.

The accreditation standards, effective 1 January 2019, state that programs leading to eligibility to enter the registrar program require supervisors to hold the relevant area of practice endorsement. Education providers must demonstrate a sound rationale if alternative arrangements are in place. Programs leading only to general registration do not require supervisors to hold endorsement, i.e. the fifth year in the 5+1 pathway.

Where endorsement is required, the accreditation standards do not stipulate that the endorsement needs to be held for two years. For further information, refer to APAC’s website or contact APAC.

No. The Board exclusively uses the term ‘approved’ in relation to supervisors. The Board does not used the words ‘accredited’ or ‘endorsed’ in relation to supervisors because those terms have specific meanings under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

‘Accredited’ refers to programs of study (higher degrees) which are accredited by the delegated accreditation authority the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council.

‘Endorsement’ refers to endorsement of registration in one of nine approved areas of practice.

All psychologists have an obligation to ensure they are familiar with and practise in accordance with the Board’s registration standards, guidelines and APS code of ethics.

As a Board-approved supervisor you are required to be particularly familiar with the Board’s Guidelines for supervisors. You will also need to understand the supervision requirements set out in the Board’s guidelines or policies that apply to the particular program(s) you are supervising, for instance, the Guidelines for the 5+1 internship program, the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program, the Guidelines on area of practice endorsements.

You need to complete Board-approved refresher training at least once every five years to maintain your supervisor approval (for more information see 'What is refresher training?' below).

As soon as you complete refresher training you need to apply to the Board to maintain your approval as a supervisor using the MBAS-76 form, attaching a copy of your certificate of training completion. Your supervisor approval will be extended for a further five years from the date you completed refresher training.

The minimum requirement to maintain supervisor approval is to attend one Board-approved master class every five years. A master class is a competency-based training workshop requiring at least six hours of direct training. Master classes can focus on specific topics relevant to supervision, or to supervision in particular areas of practice.

Psychologists who have taken a break from supervision or from psychological practice more generally, or feel they need to refresh their knowledge and skills across the supervisor competencies, are encouraged to complete full training instead of a master class.

The following satisfies the Board’s refresher training requirements:

  • A master class 
  • More than one master class 
  • Part 2 of full training 
  • Parts 1 and 2 of full training 
  • Parts 2 and 3 of full training, or 
  • all three parts of full training.

Yes. You can choose to attend either full training workshops or master classes delivered by videoconference if provided by a Board-approved training provider. You can attend supervisor training online for any reason, including if it is difficult for you to travel to workshop locations or if you prefer to complete training from home.

Your Board-approved supervisor status will lapse and your name will be removed from the Board’s List of supervisors if you don’t provide evidence to the Board of refresher training completion every five years (using the MBAS-76 form).

Any supervision provided while you are not a Board-approved supervisor will not be recognised by the Board as suitable supervision in the training pathway being undertaken by the supervisee.

If you wish to reinstate your supervisor status, you must complete a Board-approved full training program before re-applying to the Board.

The Board considers that five years is a generous time period that allows enough opportunity to complete the minimum requirement of a six-hour master class, even for individuals taking time away from practice.

The Board will only consider requests for a short extension from individuals who are unable to complete refresher training before their deadline due to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. Planned leave (e.g. parental leave, long service leave, travel) taken during your five-year supervisor approval term is not considered a sufficient reason to request an extension.

Extension requests must be submitted in writing before your BAS status lapses. The easiest way to do this is to lodge your request using AHPRA’s web enquiry form. You may be asked to provide documentary evidence to support your application for extension.

Use the supervisor online portal to change whether you are ‘available’ or ‘not available’ to be contacted by potential supervisees.

You can also use the portal update your nominated email address for receiving messages via the online supervisor search. Consider if you also wish to update the email address for communication from the Board and AHPRA, as this is not linked to the email you nominate for supervisee contact.

Supervisor online services are available through the practitioner login. You will need your 10-digit ID number (different to your registration number) and password. If you don't know your ID number or password, contact the AHPRA customer service team.

If you give permission to appear as an ‘available’ supervisor you elect to be contacted at your nominated supervisor email address via AHPRA’s secure web messaging system, which hides your email address until you decide to respond to the supervisee. This permission is applied across both supervisor types, where applicable (i.e. Board-approved Supervisor and Registrar Program Principal Supervisor).

Go to Search for a supervisor and enter the person’s name (exact spelling) or registration number.

The person’s supervisor record will show whether that individual has additional approval as a Registrar Program Principal Supervisor, and if so, the area of practice that approval applies to. The date that the supervisor is due to apply to maintain supervisor approval is also shown on the record.

Higher degree providers and supervisees can confirm a supervisor’s endorsement status on the Register of practitioners.

Principal supervisors take principal responsibility for the supervisee and provide the majority of the supervision. Secondary supervisors fulfil a component of the supervision as agreed with the Board, the principal supervisor and the supervisee. A secondary supervisor is required to assist with internship programs but is not mandatory for registrar programs.

Refer to the relevant program guidelines for further information on the roles and requirements of principal and secondary supervisors, including the maximum percentage of supervision that can be provided by secondary supervisors (e.g. Guidelines for the 5+1 internship program, Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program, and Guidelines on area of practice endorsements).

The Board does not differentiate between principal and secondary supervisors for higher degrees, work in addition to placements, transitional programs, or re-entry programs.

Yes, both full training programs and master classes can be counted toward your annual CPD requirements. Board-approved supervisor training providers are required to provide participants with a certificate of completion which details how much CPD can be claimed for the program, including whether there was any peer consultation.

You can count full training or master classes toward CPD for requirements for area of practice endorsement if you determine that the training is relevant to an appropriate goal set out in your CPD learning plan.


FAQ for supervisees

If you are undertaking one of the following, your supervisor must be a Board-approved supervisor:

  • 4+2 internship program 
  • 5+1 internship program 
  • placements during an accredited higher degree program 
  • working in addition to higher degree placements 
  • registrar program leading to endorsement in an area of practice 
  • re-entry program after a period of not practising, and 
  • transitional program for overseas-qualified applicants.

If you are undertaking a registrar program, your principal supervisor must be approved as a Registrar Program Principal Supervisor in the relevant area of practice.

All Board-approved supervisors are listed on the Board’s List of supervisors. The list can be searched by location, practitioner name (exact spelling) or registration number. The list can also be used to find a Registrar Program Principal Supervisor for a specified area of practice.

On the Board’s List of supervisors enter your supervisor’s name (exact spelling) or registration number to check their supervisor details. No result may mean to your supervisor is not approved and you should discuss this with your supervisor.


FAQ for supervisor training providers

The Board typically holds an expression of interest (EOI) process to become a Board-approved supervisor training provider every five years. In an EOI process, the Board invites applications from suitably qualified and experienced organisations, groups and individuals to deliver supervisor training programs across Australia.

More information, including details about future EOI opportunities, is available on the Supervisor training webpage. If you would like to be notified by email of future opportunities to apply to become a Board-approved supervisor training provider, send your contact details to [email protected].

No. Being a Board-approved supervisor trainer does not exempt you from the requirement to maintain your Board-approved supervisor status. The Board considers your role as a trainer to be different from being a supervisor and improving your own capabilities as a supervisor.

You can complete refresher training with a different trainer in your own training organisation, or with any of the other approved training providers. You should aim to complete a program that will teach you something new or extend your skills as a supervisor and that contributes to your goals in your CPD learning plan.

Page reviewed 19/07/2019