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Australian College of Physiotherapists Information

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About the College

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, and adjunct recognition for supporters and industry leaders. The new College encompasses development and integration of career pathways for new and emerging clinical disciplines.




Pathways to College membership

Physiotherapists are required by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia to continually upgrade their professional knowledge and skills to ensure the contribution they make to healthcare is of the highest standard. The APA gives its members the tools to make up-skilling easy – with over 500 courses to choose from at a discounted price. 

College membership benefits:

  • formal recognition of your experience and qualifications
  • something that sets you apart in the eyes of consumers and your peers
  • sense of personal satisfaction that you are striving to be at the pinnacle of your profession
  • opportunities to lead and become more visible within the profession
  • enhanced employment opportunities
  • becoming part of the network of clinical physiotherapy leaders—not only in Australia but worldwide.

The Titled program includes the following disciplines:

  • Cardiorespiratory
  • Cancer, Palliative Care and Lymphoedema 
  • Gerontology
  • Management/Leadership (commencing in 2020-2021)
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurology
  • Occupational Health
  • Paediatric
  • Pain
  • Sports and Exercise
  • Women’s, Men’s, and Pelvic Health

The College offers three tiers of membership: Fellow, Registrar and Titled members can choose to join as Member of the College.

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.

The APA physiotherapist Title 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 status. 

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Progress your career

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.

Titling/Member of the Australian College of Physiotherapy

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.

Academic pathway to Titling/ACP Member

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 ng.title@australian.physio.

Experiential pathway to Titling/ACP Member

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
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.

Hybrid pathway to Titling /ACP Member

This pathway is currently restricted to women’s, men’s and pelvic health physiotherapists. Please email ng.title@australian.physio for more information.


Become a Fellow

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. 

Fellowship of the Australian College of Physiotherapy

Clinical Specialisation

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.

  1. Attain Titled status/ACP membership in one of the eligible disciplines
  2. Meet the experience and professional pre-requisites as detailed in the ‘Application Form’ (link through)
  3. Successfully complete the training program and exams, including written, practical and oral components.

The training program has four elements:

  1. development of specialist skills in your chosen discipline
  2. participation in professional education
  3. commitment to lifelong learning and professional development
  4. participation in research activities.

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.

To apply, complete the application and payment forms, and submit before 30 October 2020. Make sure you have the following supporting documents ready:

  • a detailed curriculum-vitae
  • contact details of three professional referees.

Find out more by viewing the recording of specialisation information session ( free access to APA members via CPD4Physios website).

Fellowship by Research (Original Contribution)

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.

Original research 

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:

  • are original work
  • show academic rigor
  • have made a significant contribution to the advancement of an area of knowledge relevant to the physiotherapy profession.


For all applications:

  • you must be a registered physiotherapist and a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • the work you submit cannot be submitted for any other award, such as a PhD or master’s thesis.

There are also separate eligibility criteria depending on the type of work you submit.

Original research 

  • collection of at least three peer reviewed papers must be submitted
  • the applicant must be the sole or first author of at least two
  • at least two papers must relate to original research undertaken by the applicant.

Book or monograph

  • the applicant must be the sole or main author
  • the work demonstrates academic or professional leadership in a field of physiotherapy practice
  • the work is evidence-based, not simply a synthesis of knowledge.

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.

Leadership/Management Fellowship

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.

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Fees and Forms


The application fee helps to cover the costs associated with processing and assessing applications, in addition to developing and maintaining the program. 

Australian College of Physiotherapists Annual Membership fee structure

Fellow $220
Associate Fellow $TBC
Registrar $TBC

Fee structure: Titling/ACP Membership*

Initial application and document assessment $135
Written exam fee $1200
Re-marking of written exam (if required) $500
Clinical exam and viva $1700

Fee structure: Clinical Specialisation*

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

Fee structure: Research Fellow

Initial application and document assessment $110
Assessment $2200
Each resubmission of work with major revisions $2200

*(Fees quotes are subject to change without notice). 


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Using College Titles

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.

If you are a Fellow

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.

If you’re not a Fellow by Clinical Specialisation

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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