Generally, allied health professions fall into one of two groups – those that are regulated through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) and those that are self-regulated.
National Registration and Accreditation Scheme regulated professions
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, works with national boards to regulate professionals under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.
National Registration and Accreditation Scheme regulation is outlined in the Health Practitioner Regulation Law Act (ACT) 2010. This regulation process ensures the public has access to a safe health workforce.
Renewal of registration is an annual requirement and requires the individual practitioner to meet their Boards’ standards for recency of practice, continuing professional development, English skills, criminal history and professional indemnity insurance.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency maintains a public list of the health practitioners who are registered, including those with conditions relating to their practice.
For more information on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the 15 national boards, or the public list of health professionals, see www.ahpra.gov.au.
The following allied health professions are required by law (National Health Practitioner Regulation Law Act (ACT)) to be included under the national registration and accreditation scheme:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners
- Chinese medicine practitioners
- Dental practitioners
- Medical radiation practitioners (e.g. radiation therapists and radiographers)
- Occupational therapists
Doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives are also regulated through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Self-regulated health professions
Most remaining allied health professions are self-regulated. This means that professionals are regulated by a peak body or professional association. The profession specific peak body may have membership criteria that require their practitioners to meet standards such as continuing professional development and ethical practice. Accreditation of approved programs of study and recognition of overseas trained health professionals is usually managed by the relevant professional body.
The National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) aims to support national consistency for self-regulating health professionals. Allied health professions with membership of NASRHP include:
- Exercise physiologists
- Genetic counsellors
- Music therapists
- Rehabilitation counsellors
- Social workers
- Speech pathologists