The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) is committed to ensuring that practitioners are made aware of relevant issues that inform professional practice.
The Board considers education and training reform an important next step in the development of the regulatory environment for the psychology profession in Australia. One of the main areas of reform is the Board’s proposal to reduce regulatory burden and complexity of psychology training by retiring the 4+2 internship program as a pathway to general registration in favour of the 5+1 internship program. This education and training reform initiative is a Board priority project in the Board’s regulatory work plan (2016-2020)
The Board often receives feedback that psychology training is unnecessarily complex, fragmented and lengthy. The 4+2 internship program has a long history of serving the profession and employers well. The 4+2 internship program has many positive features and has produced high quality psychologists. However, more questions are being asked about the value of the 4+2 internship program in the contemporary context, including the regulatory burden of this pathway, the complexity and red tape associated with compliance with the 4+2 requirements, the lack of suitable paid placements that allow for development of all competencies, the burden of this pathway on both employers and supervisors, and the mismatch of this pathway with international benchmarks.
The starting point for this education training and reform agenda was in late 2015 when the Board brought together leaders across government, education, workforce, regulation and the profession to consider challenges with the existing arrangements. There were a number of outcomes from the forum, including that the 4+2 internship program was recommended for retirement as a pathway to general registration.
The Collaborative Working Party (CWP) was developed out of this forum and has been meeting and working towards viable solutions to the challenges raised at the forum. The CWP members are: the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), the Australian Psychological Society (APS), the Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association (HODSPA) and the Board. See the first Communiqué from the CWP in December 2015 for more information.
The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) has published Public consultation paper 31: Reducing regulatory burden: Retiring the 4+2 pathway to general registration.
The Board will accept submissions between 29 March and 1 June 2018. The consultation paper will be available under Current consultations until 1 June 2018, and will be available in Past Consultations along with the public submissions from mid-June 2018.
Stakeholders have communicated to the Board that the 4+2 internship pathway is no longer fit for purpose as a pathway to registration due to the:
It is the Boards view that retiring the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration would result in many positive benefits for employers, supervisors, interns and consumers.
The Board understands that if stakeholders support the retirement of the 4+2 internship, registrants, educational providers, supervisors and employers would need time to prepare.
Current fourth year students, 4+2 interns, and their supervisors should know that a suitable transition period will be proposed in this consultation paper, to allow for completion of the internship in the maximum allowable period permitted in the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program (five years). This will ensure that current fourth year students and current interns will be able to complete their training for general registration and will not be affected by the proposed retirement of the 4+2 pathway.
The Board reiterates that psychologists holding general registration, who had previously gained general registration on the basis of completion of the 4+2 internship program, will not be affected by the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship.
These registrants will continue to be eligible for general registration under section 53(d) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.
If a psychologist was previously registered on the basis of holding a 4+2 qualification, then such a person can remain registered, even if, for example, they have had a period of non-practising registration or have let their registration lapse for a period of time. The aim is to retire the 4+2 internship as a pathway for future new registration only. Psychologists who are four-year trained (and even those who gained registration, for example, in the 1950s and 1960’s with three years of training) will not have their registration status affected by the Board’s proposal.
Further information about the Board’s proposal to retire the 4+2 internship pathway to general registration can be found at: