To work as an osteopath in Australia, you need to apply for and be registered with the Osteopathy Board of Australia. You may also need to apply for a visa issued by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (Australian Immigration Department).
These two application processes are entirely separate and success in one does not automatically guarantee success in the other.
More information on visa applications, including skills assessments and assessing authorities is available on the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
As of 4 February 2015, a new process applies for checking criminal history outside of Australia. This new approach requires certain applicants and registered practitioners to apply for an international criminal history check from an approved vendor. For more information, please refer to the international criminal history page on the AHPRA website.
If you are a New Zealand osteopath who holds current registration and an Annual practising certificate, you can apply for registration as an osteopath in Australia under the Commonwealth Trans-Tasman mutual recognition act 1997 (TTMR).
To apply, use the Application for trans-Tasman mutual recognition as an osteopath - ATMR-56 form and include a certified copy of your Annual practising certificate. You will also need to pay the application and registration fees.
A helpful resource for New Zealand practitioners to read is the Information on the practice of Osteopathy in Australia - A guide for graduates trained overseas. This is found on the Australasian Osteopathic Accreditation Council website.
If you are an osteopath who qualified outside of Australia, there are two pathways for applying for registration in Australia. You can find out more about these in the Framework: Pathways for registration of overseas-trained osteopaths.
Before applying for registration, all overseas trained osteopaths (apart from those registered in New Zealand, see section above) must be assessed for practice in Australia by the Board’s accreditation authority, the Australasian Osteopathic Accreditation Council (AOAC). AOAC conduct initial desktop assessments and advise candidates whether they are eligible to be assessed by the Osteopathy Board of Australia via the competent authority pathway and/or standard pathway.
Applicants who are deemed ineligible for the competent authority pathway may be eligible to complete the standard assessment pathway. Applicants who are assessed as being eligible for the competent authority pathway have a choice of either pathway.
Depending on the outcome of the assessment and which pathway you are eligible for, you may be eligible to apply for different categories of registration.
The two pathways are summarised in the table below.
To apply for registration for this pathway, you must follow these steps:
If limited registration is granted, your name will appear on the public register of practitioners. Limited registration is granted for the period of the clinical exam only.
If you successfully complete the AOAC assessments in the standard pathway (see steps A through to E in the table above), you are considered qualified for general registration (under section section 53 (c) of the National Law). AOAC issues a letter of confirmation that a candidate has completed the standard assessment pathway to all successful practitioners.
You can then apply to the Osteopathy Board for general registration as an osteopath. A full application fee and registration fee are payable.
Eligibility for the competent authority pathway is determined by AOAC in a desktop assessment.
To apply for registration for this pathway, you must:
The Osteopathy Board of Australia approves the six months of supervision arrangements under provisional registration and the decision is administered by AHPRA. A fact sheet: Supervision in the competent authority pathway explains the steps required to apply for supervision and provisional registration.
If provisional registration is granted, the osteopath’s name will appear on the public register of practitioners, and the osteopath can commence practice under supervision. Some information about the supervision arrangements will also appear on the register as a notation.
The supervisee must provide a report signed by the supervisor to the Osteopathy Board at both the three month and six month stages of supervision using the following form:
Although the period of supervised practice is six months, the standard period of provisional registration is 12 months to allow for provisional registration to continue pending the Board’s decision to grant general registration; or any unforeseen gaps in or extensions to supervised practice under provisional registration.
At the six month stage, an osteopath with a satisfactory six month report lodges this report at AHPRA and may also lodge their application for general registration at the same time. A lower application fee is payable for transferring general from provisional registration, and full registration fee for general registration is payable.
The provisional registration and practice under supervision will remain in effect until general registration is finalised and confirmed via email, and the osteopath’s name appears on the public register of practitioners with general registration.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) supports the 14 National Boards in their role of protecting the public and setting standards and policies that all registered health practitioners must meet.
AHPRA and the National Boards work together to register and renew health practitioners and, where required, investigate complaints or concerns regarding health practitioners.
AHPRA's operations are governed by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law which came into effect on 1 July 2010. This law applies in each Australian state and territory, and is sometimes referred to on our sites as ‘the National Law’.
All health practitioners registered to practise are included on the national register of practitioners which is managed by AHPRA.
Find out more about AHPRA.