Osteopathy Board of Australia - Overseas Qualified Osteopaths
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Overseas Qualified Osteopaths

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 Government Department of Home Affairs 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.

New Zealand applicants

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 Australian Osteopathic Accreditation Council website.

Other overseas applicants

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 Australian Osteopathic Accreditation Council (AOAC). AOAC conduct initial desktop assessments and advise candidates whether they proceed 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.

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.


Step Standard pathway Competent authority pathway
A) Desktop assessment Yes Yes
B) Written exam Yes  No
C) Online practical assessment Yes No
D) Practical clinical exam under limited registration for the period of the exam Yes
(Use the Application for limited registration for supervised practice as an osteopath (short term to sit an examination) - ALST-56 form)
E) Open book exam  (OBE)  assessment on Information on the practice of Osteopathy in Australia - A guide for graduates trained overseas Yes Yes
F) Supervised practice under provisional registration for a minimum of six months No Yes
(Use the Application for provisional registration - APRO-56 form)
G) Apply for general registration to practice as an osteopath in Australia Yes
(Use the Application for general registration as an osteopath - AGEN-56 form)
(Use the Application for general registration for osteopaths currently holding provisional registration - APGR-56 form)
  • Steps A through to E are conducted by AOAC. More information is found on their website.
  • The three types of registration at D, F and G require applications to the Osteopathy Board of Australia. The application process is administered by Ahpra and involves completing the relevant application forms. For supervised practice at F, there are additional Osteopathy Board guidelines and forms for supervision (see below).

Standard pathway

To apply for registration for this pathway, you must follow these steps:

  • be assessed by AOAC as being eligible for the standard pathway (this is done through a desktop assessment) 
  • apply to AOAC to sit a one day clinical exam, which is held at a university clinic in Melbourne 
  • apply to the Osteopathy Board for limited registration for supervised practice. This step is required to be able to sit this AOAC clinical exam and is required for insurance purposes. Apply by:

If limited registration is granted, your name will appear on the public register of practitioners. Limited registration is granted for the period of face-to-face 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.

Competent authority pathway

Eligibility for the competent authority pathway is determined by AOAC in a desktop assessment.

To apply for registration for this pathway, you must:

  • successfully complete the AOAC assessments (see steps A and E of the competent authority pathway in the table above) to receive written confirmation from AOAC that you have the qualification and skills suitable to for the occupation of osteopathy in Australia and are entitled to apply to the Osteopathy Board for provisional registration 
  • apply to the Osteopathy Board for provisional registration using the Application for provisional registration - APRO-56 form and paying the provisional registration and application fee 
  • attach following forms for supervised practice to the initial application for provisional registration that are signed by two Australian-based osteopath supervisors:
  • be granted provisional registration by the Osteopathy Board (when this occurs, your name will appear on the Register of practitioners), and 
  • successfully complete six months’ supervised practice while holding provisional registration.

Supervised practice

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.

Who is AHPRA?

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) supports the 15 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.

Page reviewed 5/12/2023