While the allied health professions share a requirement for advanced, university-level training, there are different processes and requirements around accreditation for practitioners practising their professions. There may also be variation in the terminology utilised depending on the individual allied health profession—in some cases the profession may refer to registered practitioners, in others it may refer to regulated or accredited professionals.
The major division in the accreditation of allied health professionals is between those professions that are accredited through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) and those professions that are self regulated. Regardless of the scheme, each allied health profession has a system in place to ensure that the practitioner you are seeing is appropriately qualified, engages in ongoing professional development, and adheres to professional standards. Below you will find further information about the different accreditation schemes.
Many of Australia’s allied health professionals are registered under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health practitioners, which was launched in 2010. The NRAS is maintained by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) and aims to ensure that only suitably trained and qualified practitioners are registered. This scheme is the primary source of certification for health professionals in Australia, providing registration for all medical and nursing professionals as well as some allied health professions. The allied health professions currently registered with AHPRA are:
Each profession has a Practice Board which is responsible for overseeing education standards, managing complaints against practitioners, verifying that practitioners have met the educational standards for practice and more. National registration through AHPRA is currently confined to those health professions which were already regulated or partially regulated prior to 1 July 2010 meaning that many allied health professions fall outside its purview.
A range of allied health professions are not covered by the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme and instead are acknowledged as self regulating health professions. Where allied health professions are self-regulated, each profession’s accreditation process is managed by the professional association for that profession. These professional associations provide similar functions to those provided under AHPRA including certifying qualifications, setting and maintaining standards and overseeing professional development. Accreditation by the peak body responsible for the self-regulating profession is typically required by Medicare, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, private health insurers and other funders of health services.
A number of self regulating health professions have united under the banner of the National Alliance of Self Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP). NASRHP is the national peak body representing self regulating health professions in Australia and works to represent the interests of the self regulating health professions.
NASRHP aims to provide consistent benchmark standards for regulation and accreditation of practitioners from self regulating professions, closely modelled on AHPRA standards. The eleven standards maintained by NASRHP are:
While each NASRHP member is responsible for providing individual certification to members of their profession, working collectively under the banner of NASRHP allows member organisations to provide national consistency in quality and support for self regulating health professionals as well as satisfying national and jurisdictional regulatory requirements, including the National Code of Conduct of health care workers.
A self regulating profession may not be a member of NASRHP. However, they will still have processes in place to ensure that their allied health members are appropriately qualified, meet professional standards and maintain ongoing professional development. For further information about any individual profession, please visit our professions page.