AHPRA Registration

Gaining AHPRA Registration after an extended break from practice 

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are responsible for the registration process for therapists wanting to return to practice after an extended break. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact AHPRA directly for information on the registration process, however the following information offers a guide to help get you started. 

The pathway for re-entry to practice may vary depending on the clinicians previous registration history, current registration status, and work history.  

Information on the pathway to gain registration after an extended break from practice can be found on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) webpage here. It is recommended that you review all of the information supplied by AHPRA to fully understand your requirements. The Recency of Practice Standard and the document titled “Recency of practice - Pathways diagram for re-entry to practice” is a good starting point to understand which application process you will need to follow.  

When a clinician applies for registration after an extended break from practice the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (OTBA) will consider their application for general registration on a case-by-case basis and may decide if they require: 

  • a period of supervised practice 
  • additional CPD to be completed, and/or
  • further education or assessment of competence

When reviewing each application the OTBA will take a number of factors into consideration when deciding whether or not to grant your application for registration or renewal of registration. These factors include, but are not limited to, things such as, your registration and practice history, and CPD your have completed, your intended field of practice. The OTBA will advise you as to what information they require to assist them in their assessment of your application.  

The timeframe for completion of the registration process may vary depending on the complexity of your situation and what the OTBA assess is required.  

You are encouraged to review all of the information supplied by AHPRA and fully understand your requirements.  If any discrepancies in the information above and the AHPRA guidance are noted you are advised to follow advice supplied by AHPRA. You can contact AHPRA directly for more information on the application process. 

Recency of Practice:
If you are looking to re-gain AHPRA registration after an extended break from practice you will need to consider if meet the recency of practice standard. The recency of practice standard outlines the minimum practice hours within your intended scope of practice to maintain safe and competent practice. To meet the recency of practice standard you must complete a minimum of:

  • 750 hours of practice in the previous five years 
  • 450 hours practice in the previous three years, or 
  • 150 hours of practice in the previous 12 months. 

If you do not meet the recency of practice standard you will need to provide information to the OTBA to assist them in assessing your application. They will assess your application on a case-by-case basis and decide if you are able to gain registration or not. You may be required to complete a period of supervised practice, CPD, and/or further education or assessment of competence.   

Supervised Practice: 
When a clinician applies for registration after an extended break, the Board may decide they require a period of supervised practice before gaining full registration. The supervision requirements may be different for each practitioner. They will be tailored to the purpose of the supervision, and the practitioner’s particular circumstances, settings, experience and learning needs. The level of supervision required will be determined by the Board on a case by case basis. Typically, it may commence at a higher level and progress to a lower level with an acceptable supervisor report. Supervision may be direct, indirect or remote according to the context under which the practice is being supervised.

You can find the AHPRA supervision guidelines, FAQ’s and resources here.  

The AHPRA supervision guidelines will outline the requirements and responsibilities of supervisors and supervisees, as well as provide definitions for the different levels of supervision that may be required 

OT Australia is unable to provide supervision or mentoring for this process or recommend particular individuals, AHPRA states that this is the responsibility of the applicant.  

Gaining AHPRA registration as an overseas qualified OT  

All overseas trained OTs must hold AHPRA registration in Australia to practice in Australia.  

An overseas training clinician should first submit their initial request for registration with AHPRA. Once they have submitted the request, their application will be passed to the Occupational Therapy Council (OTC) to progress. The Occupational Therapy Council are an independent organisation responsible for the assessment of internationally qualified Occupational Therapists. For detailed information on the application process you can view the AHPRA webpage here and the OTC webpage here. You are strongly encouraged to review all of the information on both the AHPRA and OTC webpages before commencing your application to be clear on the requirements and costs associated. 

The process typically includes two stages, a paper based audit and a period of supervised practice. If the applicant passes both stages, they are eligible for registration as an Occupational Therapist with AHPRA. During the first stage the applicant will be assessed against a set of criteria including proof of identity, qualifications, and English language proficiency. The requirements for the second phase of supervised practice are decided on a case by case basis. During the second phase of the process, the clinician may be able to see clients on a conditional registration for some or all of the supervisory period but must adhere to the strict supervision guidelines.  

For more information on the requirements for supervision, the Occupational Therapy Council Policy and Procedure for supervised practice outlines the nature of the expected supervisory relationship, the expectations of the supervisor and supervisee, expected duration of supervision, and more. The OT council will provide direction on the extent of supervision that is required based on the clinicians overall application. 

OT Australia is unable to provide supervision or mentoring for this process or recommend particular individuals, AHPRA states that this is the responsibility of the applicant. 

You are encouraged to review all of the information supplied by AHPRA and the OTC, and fully understand your requirements.  If any discrepancies in the information above and information supplied by AHPRA & the OTC are noted you are advised to follow the advice supplied by AHPRA & the OTC. You can contact AHPRA directly for more information on the application process. 

Employing an Overseas qualified OT 

If you are considering employing an OT who is overseas qualified and looking to work in Australia it is advised that you research and understand the AHPRA registration process for overseas qualified OTs. All overseas trained OTs must hold AHPRA registration in Australia to practice in Australia.  

For detailed information on the application process you can view the AHPRA webpage here and the OTC webpage here. The process typically includes two stages, a paper based audit and a period of supervised practice. If the applicant passes both stages, they are eligible for registration as an Occupational Therapist with AHPRA. During the first stage the applicant will be assessed against a set of criteria including proof of identity, qualifications, and English language proficiency. 

The requirements for the second phase of supervised practice are decided on a case by case basis. During the second phase of the process, the clinician may be able to see clients on a conditional registration for some or all of the supervisory period but must adhere to the strict supervision guidelines and meet the OTC reporting requirements. It is recommended that you review the Occupational Therapy Council Policy and Procedure for supervised practice for details on the expectations of both the supervisor and supervisee.  

You are encouraged to review all of the information supplied by AHPRA and the OTC, and fully understand your requirements.  If any discrepancies in the information above and information supplied by AHPRA & the OTC are noted you are advised to follow the advice supplied by AHPRA and the OTC. 

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