Australian Psychology Accreditation Council

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered below, please contact APAC.

  1. What is accreditation?
  2. How does a program of study become Accredited?
  3. Why has APAC sent a site visit team to my education provider when my program of study is already accredited?
  4. How do I get my Australian qualifications accredited by APAC?
  5. How do I get my overseas qualifications accredited by APAC?
  6. Why haven’t I heard anything about my application for assessment of my overseas qualifications?
  7. What do I need to study to be eligible to register as a psychologist?
  8. Do I automatically become registered as a psychologist if I complete an accredited program?
  9. Do I automatically gain membership of the Australian Psychological Society if I complete an accredited program?
  10. Am I eligible for the School Counsellor Retraining Program in New South Wales?
  11. Does APAC have a education provider ranking system?
  12. What is the difference between “APAC accreditation” and “APS College course approval”?
  13. What is the difference between "APAC accreditation" and "Psychology Board of Australia approval"?
  14. What does “Conditional Accreditation” or "Accreditation with Conditions" mean?
  15. If an education provider has Accreditation with Conditions , how can I find out what the conditions are?
  16. What happens if the status of my course changes to “Accreditation Revoked” or, "Accreditation Refused" before I finish the program of study?
  17. Why isn't my degree listed on the APAC website or the List of Psychology Approved Programs on the Psychology Board of Australia’s website?
  18. How do I find programs of study that are accredited in off-campus (distance or external) mode?
  19. Why doesn't my  education provider appear on the APAC website?
  20. When is the next meeting of APAC?


Q: What is accreditation?
A: Accreditation refers to the process of independent external assessment to determine if a program of study (usually a course or degree) and the education provider offering the program, meet the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) Accreditation Standards for Psychology. Programs which do not achieve APAC accreditation are not eligible for Approval by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) as programs of study suitable for the purposes of registration as a psychologist in Australia. Education providers and the programs of study in psychology that they offer must meet high standards to successfully achieve APAC Accreditation and PsyBA Approval.

Q: How does a program of study become Accredited?
A: A higher education provider must lodge an application for accreditation with APAC in the year before it wishes the program of study (eg a course)  to be assessed by APAC against the Accreditation Standards, and Approved by the Psychology Board of Australia. After receiving and making an initial assessment of the application, APAC sends a team of assessors to the higher education provider to conduct a comprehensive review of the provider and the programs of study in psychology for which it seeks accreditation. This site visit tests the claims made by education provider in the application. An assessment report is prepared and a judgement made based upon the information provided by the education provider as well as the observations of the assessors included in the assessment report. The onus is on the education provider to demonstrate that it aand its programs meet the Accreditation Standards. This assessment process is usually repeated on a five year cycle, although education providers and their programs of study can be audited by APAC at any time. New programs introduced between assessments, changes to the provider or its programs since the last assessment, and evidence of breaches of Standards received by APAC can result in accreditation assessments being conducted within the five year cycle. APAC-accredited programs of study which are subsequently approved by the PsyBA for the purposes of registration as a psychologist are listed on the PsyBA website as “Psychology Approved Programs of Study”.

Q: Why has APAC sent a site visit team to my education provider when my program of study is already accredited?
A: There are a number of reasons why an APAC assessment team may be conducting a site visit at your education provider. The first is that your education provider is approaching the end of its current five year accreditation cycle and is therefore due for a full re-assessment. A second reason is that your education provider may have made significant changes to its accredited programs or to other aspects of its structure or functioning which require examination by APAC to ensure that APAC Standards are still being met. A third reason could be that your education provider has been randomly selected by APAC for an audit. Finally, APAC may be in possession of credible information that Standards are not being met by the education provider and as a result has commenced an audit of your provider and the relevant programs of study to check that Standards are being upheld.

Q: How do I get my Australian qualifications accredited by APAC?
A: APAC does not accredit the qualifications of individuals nor does it accept individual student applications. APAC accredits whole programs of study (usually courses) upon receipt of an application from the education provider(s) who offer them. To find out if your program of study is Accredited by APAC and also whether it is Approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) for the purposes of registration as a psychologist,consult the list of “Psychology Approved Programs of Study” on the PsyBA website.

Q: How do I get my overseas qualifications accredited by APAC?
A: APAC does not conduct accreditation of any individual’s overseas qualifications. If you have completed your qualifications outside Australia, the first step is to have your qualifications assessed for comparability against the Australian psychology education pathway (called an “assessment of  psychology qualifications”). This first step in the assessment process is conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). This is because the APS is the government-contracted national assessing authority in Australia for the assessment of overseas academic qualifications in psychology for the purpose of migration or granting student VISAS. Details of the APS assessment process can be obtained from the APS. The assessment of overseas comparability report provided to you at the end of the assessment process may be required by higher education providers when you apply to study an accredited psychology programs of study in psychology in Australia and by the Psychology Board of Australia if you are an overseas trained psychologist seeking to apply for registration to practice in Australia.
Overseas applicants for registration to practice as a psychologist in Australia who have completed step one described above should contact the Psychology Board of Australia about the process of applying for general registration.

Q: Why haven’t I heard anything about my application for assessment of my overseas qualifications?
A: These Assessments are not conducted by APAC. Assessments of Overseas Qualifications for the purpose of Skilled Migration as a psychologist under the General Skilled Migration Categories or for the purpose of applying for a Skilled Graduate (Temporary) Visa (Subclass 485) are conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Please direct all enquiries regarding these assessments to the APS. Assessments of Overseas Qualifications for the purpose of  Registration under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law are conducted by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA). Please direct all enquiries regarding these assessments to the PsyBA.

Q: What do I need to study to be eligible to register as a psychologist?
A: The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) is responsible for setting down registration Standards for psychologists in Australia, and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency manages the processing of application to the PsyBA for registration as a psychologist. Hence, APAC is unable to offer any advice regarding the PsyBA's registration requirements. Information about the qualifications needed to obtain registration is available on the PsyBA’s website.

Q: Do I automatically become registered as a psychologist if I complete an accredited program?
A: No. First, the program of study must be not only Accredited but also Approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (see the list of Accredited and Approved programs on the PsyBA website). Next, you must apply to the PsyBA for registration as a psychologist. APAC is a separate organisation from the PsyBA. More information is available on the PsyBA’s website.

Q: Do I automatically gain membership of the Australian Psychological Society if I complete an accredited program?
A: No. APAC is a separate organisation from the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and you must apply directly to the APS if you choose to seek membership of that professional association. 

Q: Am I eligible for the School Counsellor Retraining Program in New South Wales?
A: APAC has no involvement with this training program. Further information can be found online at the Department of Education and Training’s website at https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/

Q: Does APAC have a education provider ranking system?
A: APAC does not have a ranking system in place nor does it give any advice regarding which program of study or education provider is “best”. APAC is also unable to advise you regarding which education provider you should apply to, or about the application processes of education providers. If you require more information about education providers, APAC recommends directly contacting those providers offering programs listed on the PsyBA’s list of “Psychology Approved Programs of Study”  and comparing their programs of study offerings and other relevant services so that you can make an informed decision.

Q: What is the difference between “APAC accreditation” and “APS College course approval”?
A: Accreditation refers to the process of independent external assessment to determine if a program of study (usually a course) and the education provider offering the program, meet the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) Accreditation Standards for Psychology Courses. Programs which do not achieve APAC accreditation are not eligible for Approval by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) as programs of study suitable for the purposes of registration as a psychologist in Australia. Education providers and their programs of study must meet high standards to successfully achieve APAC Accreditation and PsyBA Approval.

APS College Course Approval refers to the process of assessment to determine if a postgraduate specialist course meets the Australian Psychological Society’s College Course Approval Guidelines. Although APS College course approval assessments are conducted at the same time as APAC accreditation assessments, the two processes are undertaken by different organisations against different standards for different purposes. APS College representatives undertake APS course approval assessments at the same time as the APAC accreditation assessment for reasons of efficiency only. Contact the APS regarding the Course Approval process.

Q: What is the difference between "APAC accreditation" and "Psychology Board of Australia approval"?
A: The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 requires that a course is both Accredited by APAC and subsequently Approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) before it can be accepted as a qualification suitable for the purpose of registration as a psychologist. Accreditation refers to the process of independent external assessment to determine if a program of study (usually a course) and the education provider offering that program, meet the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) Accreditation Standards. Approval refers to the process of assessment by the PsyBA of an APAC-accredited course to determine if it meets the requirements set down by the PsyBA for registration as a psychologist under the National Law.

Q: What does “Conditional Accreditation” or "Accreditation With Conditions" mean?
A: Where APAC accredits a provider and/or its programs of study, it can grant this accreditation with or without conditions (prior to the introduction of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law in 2010, the terms used were "Conditional Accreditation” and "Full Accreditation”). Where a program has been granted “Accreditation With Conditions”, this means that the accreditation of the  education provider and/or its programs has conditions attached, and those conditions must be met before “Accreditation Without Conditions” can be granted. In such circumstances the education provider will be given a defined period of time within which it must meet those conditions (usually a maximum of 12 months). At the expiration of this “conditional” period, the education provider (and/or its programs) will either be deemed to have demonstrated that the conditions have been met (and will then be awarded the status of Accreditation Without Conditions) or not (and its status is then changed to “Accreditation Revoked”). A student who successfully graduates from a program of study which holds accreditation (either with or without conditions) at the time of his/her graduation is considered to have completed an APAC-accredited program of study. Please note that where the conditional status of an education provider and its programs of study includes the notation  “Under Development”, this simply denotes the fact that the program of study and/or the provider offering it is new and is still in the process of establishment. It does not necessarily mean there are problems with the provider or its programs. In some cases APAC requires a provider to have successfully graduated students from a program of study before Accreditation Without Conditions can be granted. Hence, some new programs of study may hold the status of Accredited With Conditions until such time as they have successfully graduated a cohort of students.

Q: If an education provider has Accreditation With Conditions, how can I find out what the conditions are?

A: APAC publishes on its website reports that summarise the key accreditation assessment findings following each assessment it conducts (and so the main findings of its assesments are publicly available). To obtain full details of the accreditation conditions which APAC has specified you should contact the relevant education provider.

Q: What happens if the status of my program of study changes to “Accreditation Revoked” or "Accreditation Refused" before I finish the program?
A: Where a student completes a program of study which has an accreditation status of Accreditation Revoked (before the National Law sometimes referred to as “Accreditation Withdrawn”), Accreditation Refused (before the National Law “Accreditation Failed”), or where the program of study has no accreditation status, then APAC’s view is that the student will not have completed an accredited program, regardless of the fact that the program may have held a grade of accreditation in the past, including at the time the student enrolled in it. APAC is required under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to notify the Psychology Board of Australia regarding the revocation of Accreditation of any program of study, at which point Section 51 of the Law requires that the Psychology Board’s Approval of the program is also cancelled.

Q: Why isn't my degree listed on the APAC website or the List of Psychology Approved Programs on the Psychology Board of Australia’s website?
A: There are several reasons your program of study (course, degree) might not be listed as an accredited degree on the APAC website or listed as an accredited and approved program of study on the List of Psychology Approved Programs on the Psychology Board of Australia’s (PsyBA’s) website:
1) If you completed your degree several years ago, it might not be offered any more and hence has been removed from the APAC and PsyBA websites. Information about the accreditation status of degrees no longer in operation is held in the APAC archive. Contact  APAC for more information.
2) If the program of study/degree is new, it may not have completed the accreditation assessment process yet; degrees are not listed on the APAC website until they gain a grade of Accreditation, and are not listed on the PsyBA website until they gain both Accreditation by APAC and Approval by the PsyBA. Contact the education provider which offers the degree to see how much of the accreditation and approval assessment processes have been completed. Note that a degree which is accredited and listed on APAC’s site may not have yet been approved by the PsyBA and until the PsyBA completes its approval assessment, the degree will therefore not appear on the PsyBA’s List of Psychology Approved Programs until the approval assessment is successfully completed.
3) If the degree does not appear on the APAC website, and you are sure it is neither in archive nor a new yet-to-be accredited degree, it means the program is not accredited and you should contact the education provider which offers the degree for more information.

Q: How do I find programs of study that are accredited in off-campus (distance or external) mode?
A: Courses that are accredited in this mode of study have the numeral "¹" beside the course name on the APAC list of accredited courses. Courses with the numeral ¹ beside the name are normally also offered in on-campus or “mixed" mode. Please contact the education provider offering the course for further information.
 
Q: Why doesn't my education provider appear on the APAC website?
A: Education providers are listed on the APAC website under the States and Territories in which they are based. Where an APAC accredited program of study operates outside Australia but is offered by an Australian education provider, it will appear under the Australian State or Territory in which the  education provider is based. If an education provider does not appear anywhere on the website, it means the provider has no programs of study which are currently accredited by APAC.
 
Q: When is the next meeting of APAC?
A: The next meeting of the APAC Board is shown on the APAC website under the section marked “About APAC”. Any correspondence to be considered by the APAC Board must be submitted to APAC a minimum of four weeks ahead of the scheduled meeting.

 

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