Professions are either regulated through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) or are self-regulated. Individual professions may use different terminology to reflect this e.g. registered practitioners vs accredited professionals. The different types of regulation do not imply a difference in quality and safety.
Regardless of the scheme, each allied health profession has a system in place to ensure that practitioners are appropriately qualified, undertakes ongoing professional development, and adheres to professional standards.
The NRAS is maintained by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) and ensures that only suitably trained and qualified practitioners are registered. The allied health professions currently registered with AHPRA are:
Each profession has a National Board which is responsible for overseeing education standards, managing complaints against practitioners, verifying that practitioners have met the educational standards for practice and more.
For each of these allied health professions, the accreditation process is managed by the relevant professional peak body. The professional associations provide similar functions to AHPRA including certifying qualifications, setting and maintaining standards, and overseeing professional development. For allied health professionals in self-regulating professions, accreditation by the peak body is typically required by Medicare, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, private health insurers and other funders of health services.
The National Alliance of Self Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) is the national peak body supporting self-regulating health professions in Australia and setting uniform standards which closely model the AHPRA standards. NASRHP members i.e. the professional peak bodies, are responsible for providing certification to individual members of their profession.
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 professions regulated by AHPRA, assessment and accreditation of professionals with overseas qualifications is through the relevant National Board.
For self-regulating professions, accreditation of professionals with overseas qualifications is often through the professional peak body. Please contact the relevant professional association for more information.