Welcome to the Ask APS resource for prospective and current psychology students. If your question isn't listed, click here and complete the form to receive an answer from an APS representative.
Psychology is taught in a range of settings across Australia. Visit the APAC website for a listing of more than 420 accredited courses across 40 higher education providers in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Psychologists throughout Australia are required to complete a minimum of six years of education and training before being eligible for general registration to practice as a psychologist.
This can be achieved via a number of pathways, each of which requires as the first step a three-year undergraduate degree in psychology plus an accredited fourth (honours or equivalent) year, both of which must be accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA).
These qualifications can be followed by a number of options listed under step 3 in our training pathways diagram in Student HQ:
Click here to view the training pathways diagram in Student HQ for more informaton.
Studies in psychology open up a world of opportunity. As well as a thorough understanding of human behaviour, and the factors that shape it, undergraduate psychology students will graduate with a set of skills and attributes that are highly regarded by employers and will give them the edge in a range of careers. These graduate attributes can be applied in many settings, according to an individual's interests and strengths. Many graduates of psychology find employment or continue their studies in fields such as community services and counselling, business, education, health services and protective services.
Under APAC Rules & Accreditation Standards (Section 5.3.1), students/applicants who have successfully completed their fourth year have up to 10 years to apply for entry into a Master's degree unless they hold general registration as a psychologist. You can view the guidelines under the Standards and Guidelines section of the APAC website. Please note that these standards are currently submitted for review with potential notable changes to this 10 year rule.
Yes, there are APAC-accredited psychology courses that can be completed online and by distance education, which can be found on the APAC website. Courses are listed by state, and those that have the option of distance education are indicated by a '1' next to the course name.
The easiest and quickest way to find out if your course is APAC-accredited is to search the accredited course listings on the APAC website. If you are still unsure APAC requries that you first contact the APAC liason officer at your university to obtain some clarity. If you are still unable to ascertain the status of your degree then contact APAc directly.
Typically the minimum training requirement to become a registered psychologist in Australia is 6 years full-time equivalent. Click here to view the training pathways diagram in Student HQ.
What you will notice is that all students must first complete a three-year APAC accredited bachelor degree, followed by a further fourth year in an Honours (or equivalent) program before moving to the 5th and 6th year level training. If you have already completed an undergraduate degree you may be eligible to reduce step one from 3 years to 1-2 years by completing a Graduate Diploma in Psychology (3 years full-time equivalent). You can identify these courses on the APAC (Australian Psychology Accreditation Council) website.
Effectively your previous study will only reduce the time required to complete step one of the training pathway. Once you have completed step one you can move on to step two of the training sequence.
Students have a choice about the accredited and approved degree they can undertake to complete step one of the training pathway in psychology. Click here to view the training pathways diagram in Student HQ. It is important that you complete a course that is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, referred to as APAC, otherwise you may not progress to step two on the training pathway.
This means that you have many options for the degree you need to complete such as a Bachelor of Psychology, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and others, as long as they appear on the APAC website as being accredited.
Therefore the prerequisite subjects you need to complete during your senior years will depend upon your choice of degree. I recommend consulting your state tertiary course manual and speaking to your school careers advisor for more specific information about subject decisions.
The APS National Office has developed Student HQ to help students, and prospective students, understand the various study pathways and career options available in the psychology profession. This resource is based on the training pathways recognised in Australia. Student HQ has information about study and career paths, psychology areas of specialty, registration requirements, and psychologists stories. While the APS is unable to provide specific advice regarding psychology career options, or recommend particular universities or psychology courses, you may find the following information useful:
Qualified psychologists bring unique skills that are highly-valued across a wide range of workplace settings. Demand for psychologists continues to grow in private practices, consulting firms, market research companies, recruitment firms, academic and applied research settings, universities, schools, hospitals, police forces, law courts, prisons, defence forces - the list goes on.
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No. The title 'psychologist' is protected by National Law. Only those individuals who have obtained General registration with the Psychology Board of Australia can use the title 'psychologist'. You can read more about the National Law at www.psychologyboard.gov.au.
The Psychology Board of Australia recognises nine specialist fields of psychology, called areas of practice endorsement. Psychologists with General registration that have a recognised higher degree and advanced supervised practice (via Masters or Professional Doctorate pathway) in a particular area of practice can apply for an area of practice endorsement on their General registration. The nine areas of practice endorsement are:
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The APS can help students and graduates get their career started on the right foot by delivering insights from leaders in the profession, opening doors to enable valuable contacts to be made, and by providing access to practical resources to supplement academic education.
By joining the APS you can make use of the expertise of psychologists already established in the fields that interest you. You will also be demonstrating your commitment to the discipline and profession of psychology, a step that will be highly regarded when you apply for postgraduate placements, internships, supervised placements and employment.
APS membership also provides exclusive benefits that can support you throughout study, internships and as you begin building a successful career, including:
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The APS is the leading organisation for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 21,000 members, and is the largest of all non-medical health professionals organisations in Australia. The APS strongly advocates for the discipline and profession of psychology, supports high standards for the profession, promotes psychological knowledge to enhance community wellbeing, and is dedicated to providing benefits to support members’ professional lives. Click here to read more about the APS.
In Australia the psychology profession is regulated by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA). It was established in 2010 and is responsible for the registration of psychologists in Australia. The PsyBA operates under the umbrella of the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and is responsible for registering psychologists, developing standards, handling notifications etc. You can read more about the functions of the PsyBA on their website at www.psychologboard.gov.au.
The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) requires that all students enrolled in an APAC accredited postgraduate psychology course must register as a provisional psychologist. The PsyBA have published a helpful fact sheet Fact Sheet - Provisional registration for higher degree students - July 2012 that explains this requirement. This fact also provides links to apply for provisional registration both online or by completing a hardcopy application form. Click here to be redirected to the higher degree section of the PsyBA website for further information.
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