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2018 APS Congress

The 2018 APS Congress will be held in Sydney from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 September 2018

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Study pathways

There is more than one way to become a psychologist and although significant study is required, the rewards are
worth it.

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 to become eligible for general registration as a psychologist in Australia.

This six-year sequence can be broken down into three steps:

  • Step 1: Three-year accredited undergraduate psychology sequence
  • Step 2: Fourth-year accredited psychology studies
  • Step 3: Internship pathway or postgraduate study to general registration

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.

  • Step 4: Registrar program for area of practice endorsement

The diagram above illustrates the currently available pathways to registration.

Step 1: Three-year accredited undergraduate psychology sequence

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.

Step 2: Fourth year accredited psychology studies

The fourth year in the sequence is achieved by completing anAPAC-accreditedHonours degreeorPostgraduate Diplomain 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 (seeStep 3) to obtain general registration as a psychologist with the PsyBA.

Step 3: Internship pathway or postgraduate study to general registration

There are currently three pathways to general registration available to fourth year graduates.

Option one: 4 + 2 internship pathway

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.

Option two: 5 +1 internship pathway

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.

Option three: APAC-accredited postgraduate professional psychology degree

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 aboutprovisional 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):

  • clinical neuropsychology
  • clinical psychology
  • community psychology
  • counselling psychology
  • educational and developmental psychology
  • forensic psychology
  • health psychology
  • organisational psychology, and
  • sport and exercise psychology.

Details of accredited postgraduate courses can be found on the APAC website.

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.

Step 4: Registrar program for area of practice endorsement

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:

  • MPsych graduates: two years of supervised practice (full-time equivalent) plus 80 hours of professional development
  • MPsych/PhD graduates: one and a half years of supervised practice (full-time equivalent) plus 60 hours of professional development
  • DPsych graduates: one year (full-time equivalent) of supervised practice plus 40 hours of professional development.

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

​Further information

Detailed information regarding registration can be found under the General Registration Standard.

Find out more information about eligibility requirements for the APS Colleges.