The requirements for registration as a psychologist are determined by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, which came into effect in July 2010. A single set of requirements now apply, across all States and Territories, and it is important that students ensure they are familiar with these if they plan to practise as a registered psychologist.
A minimum six-year sequence of education and training in psychology is required for an individual to become eligible for general registration as a psychologist in Australia.
This six-year sequence can be broken down into three steps:
An additional fourth step is required for registered psychologists who wish to qualify for an area of practice endorsement with the PsyBA. This step is only available to those who complete the postgraduate pathway.
The following diagram illustrates the currently available pathways to registration (click to view larger version).
The initial three-year undergraduate sequence can be achieved by completing an APAC-accredited Bachelor degree with a major in psychology. Alternatively, an APAC-accredited Graduate Diploma which consists of psychology subjects is available for candidates who have previously completed a Bachelor degree in a different discipline.
The APAC website has a searchable list of accredited courses.
The fourth year in the sequence is achieved by completing an APAC-accredited Honours degree or Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology. To be eligible for entry into one of these courses, candidates must have completed an APAC-accredited three-year undergraduate sequence.
Successful completion of the fourth year study sequence is required before a candidate can pursue further pathways (see Step 3) to obtain general registration as a psychologist with the PsyBA.
There are currently three pathways to general registration available to fourth year graduates.
The 4+2 pathway involves gaining employment in a psychological role and provisional registration with the PsyBA, before completing a PsyBA-regulated two-year internship of supervised practice.
Upon successful completion of the two-year internship, graduates can then apply for general registration as a psychologist with the PsyBA.
The 5+1 pathway consists of completing a one-year APAC-accredited Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology, gaining provisional registration with the PsyBA, then undertaking a PsyBA-regulated one-year internship of supervised practice.
Upon successful completion of the 5+1 pathway, graduates can then apply for general registration as a psychologist with the PsyBA.
Fourth year graduates who are accepted into an APAC-accredited fifth or sixth year program are eligible to apply for provisional registration with the PsyBA. A postgraduate student must hold provisional registration in order to undertake the supervised practice component of the course - otherwise known as a placement. Read more about provisional registration at the PsyBA website.
This pathway requires that a candidate undertake a minimum two-year, APAC-accredited postgraduate degree (fifth and sixth year of study). Upon completion, candidates are eligible to apply for general registration as a psychologist with the PsyBA.
Current types of APAC-accredited professional postgraduate degrees are Masters, Doctorate and Masters/PhD, involving coursework, placements and a thesis. Degrees are offered in nine areas of psychological practice (PsyBA-approved areas of practice endorsement):
Details of accredited postgraduate courses can be found on the APAC website: http://www.psychologycouncil.org.au.
Those who complete this option can then choose to work towards gaining eligiblilty for an area of practice endorsement with the PsyBA in their relevant area of practice (see Step 4).
Note: Entry into postgraduate courses is currently highly competitive. Please contact the university that you intend to apply to for more information about their course entry requirements.
After completing an APAC-accredited Masters or Doctorate, a registered psychologist must then undertake a PsyBA registrar program in order to be eligible for endorsement in one of the nine PsyBA-approved areas of practice.
A registrar program consists of:
Entry into the registrar program and supervised practice to obtain PsyBA area of practice endorsement can only be undertaken once the candidate has completed an MPsych degree, or for MPsych/PhD and DPsych students, once they have completed all coursework and placement requirements, and made sufficient progress on their thesis.
The requirements for area of practice endorsement are set out in the PsyBA's area of practice endorsements registration standard.
Detailed information regarding registration can be found under the General Registration Standard at www.psychologyboard.gov.au/Registration/General.aspx.
For more information about eligibility requirements for the APS Colleges please click the following link www.groups.psychology.org.au/colleges.
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