The Australian College of Physiotherapists (inaugurated in 1971) was established for the training of clinical specialists and advancing excellence in the practice of physiotherapy. The College now represents the leaders in clinical practice, research, management and academia. Instrumental in developing the career pathway for the profession, the College has governance structures that place it at the apex of an integrated career pathway open to all physiotherapists.
The College is broadening its membership to include new types of Fellowship and relevant credentialing opportunities. Membership of the College will include Fellows in Clinical Specialisation, Research (Original Contribution) and Leadership. Member of the College/Titled Members, Registrars /trainees, and adjunct recognition for supporters and industry leaders. The new College encompasses development and integration of career pathways for new and emerging clinical disciplines.
College membership benefits:
Membership of the College serves as a professional mark of distinction.
College Fellowship includes the following disciplines:
Member of the College /Titled membership includes the following disciplines:
The College offers three tiers of membership: Fellow, Registrar and Titled/Member of the College.
Titled/Membership of the College will be open to APA members who have achieved the level of a ‘highly advanced’ practitioner in their selected discipline, as defined by the Competence Framework. This is the entry level to the College.
Registrars are members who are undertaking a formal program of study and examination to achieve Fellowship of the College by Clinical Specialisation.
The APA physiotherapist Title/Member of the Australian College of Physiotherapy is a formal recognition of the attainment of a highly developed level of competency in a particular area of practice. An APA member must successfully complete a rigorous process to prove they have the required level of clinical expertise and knowledge to achieve Titled/Associate Fellowship status.
Member of the Australian College of Physiotherapy (This member category is under construction)
Currently, Titling is the required level for entry to the College. With the development of the career pathway, members who demonstrate a highly developed level of competency and experience in their selected discipline may apply to be awarded as a member of the Australian College of Physiotherapists (ACP).
The title ACP member is a measure of career progress. It signifies a physiotherapist who is highly qualified in a particular area of practice and has successfully completed a rigorous selection process to prove their clinical experience and knowledge.
There are two pathways that lead to Titling/ACP Member. The one that suits you will depend on your area of practice and how many years of experience you have.
Regardless of the pathway you choose, you must accrue and provide evidence for at least 20 CPD hours annually in your chosen discipline. You must also hold current APA National Group membership of your chosen discipline.
Once you have successfully completed your Titling, you may use ‘APA (discipline) physiotherapist as part of your credentials.
This will be incorporated into the College as ‘Member, Australian College of Physiotherapists’ (MACP). Example: Jane Smith has fulfilled ACP Member requirements in the discipline of sports and exercise physiotherapy. Jane can now refer to herself as ‘APA Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist’, Member, Australian College of Physiotherapists’ (MACP).
Please refer to the Australian Physiotherapy Board guidelines for the use of titles.
To be eligible for Academic Titling you must successfully complete a postgraduate Australian master’s degree by coursework, or an equivalent international master’s degree by coursework from a recognised institution (through IFOMPT or IFSPT) in your chosen discipline.
You must also have accrued two years full time equivalent of relevant clinical experience and be a current member of your selected national group. Please note that PhD’s and master’s degrees by research are not accepted.
The Occupational Health group does not accept academic pathway applications.
For application forms please see below, and for enquiries please email email@example.com.
If you haven’t completed an approved master’s degree, you can still apply for Titling/ACP Member. To do so, you must have a minimum of five years’ experience with three years full time equivalent in your chosen discipline and completed the pre-requisite course(s) in your chosen discipline.
As part of the application, your professional experience and continuing professional development will be assessed. If you have achieved the required standard, you will then complete a written exam and a clinical exam. Exceptions: Instead of a written exam and a clinical exam, occupational health physiotherapists must submit a portfolio and successfully complete a viva exam.
Pre-requisite courses for clinical candidates
Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy Level 2
Gerontological Physiotherapy Level 2
Neurological Physiotherapy Level 2
Paediatric Physiotherapy Level 2
Occupational Health Physiotherapy Level 2
Sports and Exercise
Sports Physiotherapy Level 3
Women's, Men's and Pelvic Health
Continence and Women's Health Level 1
The Musculoskeletal group has temporarily suspended its experiential pathway.
This pathway is currently restricted to women’s, men’s and pelvic health physiotherapists. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Minimum requirements (for all pathways)
You must accrue at least 20 CPD hours each year to maintain your APA membership.
You must be a member of the relevant National Group in which you’re applying for Titling/ACP Member.
Stage 1. Initial application (for all pathways)
The initial application stage establishes whether you meet the minimum requirements for Titling/ACP Member. You must provide evidence of professional experience, education, commitment to the profession and ongoing professional development. The initial application is assessed by APA staff under the guidance of the appropriate Professional Practice Standards Committee (PPSC). Applications take 10 working days to process.
Stage 2. Written exam (for clinical pathway)
Candidates have eight weeks to complete an open book written examination. Candidates for Occupational Health have six months to submit a portfolio in lieu of a written exam. You must pass this stage before you can proceed to the next stage.
Stage 3. Clinical exam (for clinical pathway)
Candidates have 12 weeks to submit a clinical exam. Candidates prepare a video submission and participate in a post-examination discussion. The Sports and Exercise discipline conducts face-to-face exams in lieu of the video submission.
For more information on the program, please download the Information Pack.
For any further queries, contact the APA Member Hub on (03) 9092 0888 or email your query to: email@example.com.
Fellowship of the Australian College of Physiotherapists is a national award granted to members of the APA who have proven standards of expert clinical skills and knowledge or scholarship. After completion of the pathway to Titling/ACP Member, a member is eligible to apply for Fellowship. The various pathways to College Fellowship are outlined below.
Specialisation as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists is conferred upon physiotherapists who have attained the highest level of expertise in their particular field of physiotherapy. These physiotherapists have successfully completed a rigorous training and examination process.
Specialists are known as ‘Fellow Australian College of Physiotherapists’, the pre-eminent professional body representing specialist physiotherapists in Australasia. Fellows contribute to the professional education of their colleagues, actively engage in their own professional development, and are involved in research activities.
Currently, the pathway to becoming a specialist physiotherapist is a three-step process.
The training program has four elements:
The two-year training program is a self-directed adult learning program.
Working in a small cohort that is facilitated by an ACP Fellow, members develop their knowledge base, clinical reasoning skills and expertise through facilitated clinical /case training, marked mock exams and formal written tasks. The program concludes with two days of clinical examinations and a Viva Voce, giving candidates the opportunity to demonstrate specialist level clinical skills.
Eligibility for Fellowship by Clinical Specialisation
Associate membership is a mandatory pre-requisite for acceptance into a Specialisation pathway. In addition, you must have a minimum of three years of full-time equivalent clinical practice in your discipline, either after gaining ACP Membership via the Experiential Pathway or after completion of your master’s degree.
Available to any member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association who is undertaking original research or publishing a scholarly book.
Fellowship by Research is an academic pathway to Fellowship of the College. It involves an application process, then the submission of original work that is scientific work, professional, academic or all three. However, becoming a Fellow of the College by Research does not mean you are a clinical specialist.
Research Fellows must not refer to themselves as ‘specialists’ as this is a protected title.
Once your work has been assessed and your results approved, you are known as a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapists. Fellows are sought-after by peers, other health professionals and consumers for their expertise. As a Fellow, you may contribute to the professional education of your colleagues, actively engage in your own professional development, and be involved in research activities.
How it works
You can submit original research, a published scholarly book or monograph as part of your application to become a Fellow.
For a book or monograph, simply fill out the application form. You will be notified if you are accepted. The next step is to submit three copies of your book. Your work will be assessed by two examiners within six weeks.
For original research, the process is slightly different.
Step 1: Complete the application form including an outline of the proposed work.
Step 2: If your application is successful, you automatically become an Associate of the College.
Step 3: You work with your allocated supervisor to prepare your work for submission. This must happen within two years.
Step 4: Two examiners assess your work and provide their assessment within six weeks.
Whether you submit original research or a book/monograph, all submissions are assessed on whether they:
For all applications:
There are also separate eligibility criteria depending on the type of work you submit.
Book or monograph
Books published during the previous year may be submitted.
Fellowship by research timeline
Initial application takes up to eight weeks to process and, if accepted, candidates have up to two years to complete their body of work. Assessment takes up to two months to complete.
Fellowship as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists is conferred to physiotherapists who have met the criteria for Leadership/Management—being designed in 2019.
The application fee helps to cover the costs associated with processing and assessing applications, in addition to developing and maintaining the program.
|Initial application and document assessment||$135|
|Written exam fee||$1200|
|Re-marking of written exam (if required)||$500|
|Clinical exam and viva||$1700|
|Initial application and document assessment||$110|
|Specialisation Clinical Program ($4950 per annum x 2 years)||$9900|
|Clinical exam and viva||$3300|
|Exam repeat (if required)||$1100 per segment|
|Initial application and document assessment||$110|
|Each resubmission of work with major revisions||$2200|
*(Fees quotes are subject to change without notice).
Make sure you know what the law says about using a specialist title. At this time, specialist titles for physiotherapists are not yet recognised under national registration.
To avoid misleading the public, physiotherapists who have been awarded Fellowship by Specialisation are required to refer to their expertise in a way that establishes their credentials. The following format must be used: Jane Doe, Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 20**).
Australian College of Physiotherapists must be spelled out in full. Physiotherapists should only use the term ‘Specialist’ when they establish their credentials in the way outlined above. Specialist Fellows can also use the postnominal ‘FACP’ to establish their credentials: John Doe, FACP.
You are not to use the term ‘Specialist’ in any way to refer to your expertise, area of study or area of practice.
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