Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Ahpra FAQ
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Ahpra FAQ

About the National Scheme

Information about the National Scheme

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decided in 2008 to establish a single National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme) for registered health practitioners.

On 1 July 2010 (18 October for Western Australia), the following professions became nationally regulated by a corresponding National Board:

  • chiropractors
  • dental practitioners (including dentists, oral health therapists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists & dental therapists)
  • medical practitioners
  • nurses and midwives
  • optometrists
  • osteopaths
  • pharmacists
  • physiotherapists
  • podiatrists, and
  • psychologists

In July 2012, four additional professions joined the National Scheme:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
  • Chinese medicine practitioners (including acupuncturists, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners and Chinese herbal dispensers)
  • medical radiation practitioners (including diagnostic radiographers, radiation therapists and nuclear medicine technologists), and
  • occupational therapists

In December 2018, paramedicine became the newest profession to join the scheme.

Ahpra is the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Ahpra is the agency that supports the National Boards to implement the National Scheme.

There are Ahpra offices in each state and territory, with the head office in Melbourne. See About Ahpra for more information.

The National Law is the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.

The National Law is a state and territory based legislation; it is not a commonwealth law.

 A list of the relevant state and territory legislation is available on this site.

The National Scheme has a number of objectives, including to:

  • help keep the public safe by ensuring that only health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified to practise in a competent and ethical manner are registered
  • facilitate workforce mobility for health practitioners
  • facilitate provision of high quality education and training for practitioners
  • build the capacity of the health workforce to provide culturally safe health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • facilitate the assessment of overseas qualified practitioners
  • facilitate access to services provided by health practitioners, and
  • enable the continuous development of a flexible Australian health workforce.

The National Boards set the registration standards that practitioners must meet in order to register.

Once registered, practitioners must continue to meet the standards and renew their registration yearly with their National Board.


Who needs to register?

Anyone who calls themselves any of the ‘protected titles’ in the National Law, such as ‘chiropractor’, ‘medical practitioner’, ‘midwife’ or ‘psychologist’, must be registered with the corresponding National Board.

It is an offence to call yourself one of the protected titles, and it is also an offence to hold yourself out to be a registered practitioner when you are not, or use symbols or language that may lead a reasonable person to believe that you are registered.

The following titles are protected under the National Law and are the professions that appear on the Register of practitioners.

The National Law also:

  • protects the specialist titles for the recognised specialties approved by the Ministerial Council for medical practitioners, dental practitioners and podiatrists. If a practitioner is eligible to use a registered specialist title, this will also appear on the register.
  • has protections in place for practitioners who hold an endorsement to practise as an acupuncturist. These practitioners, along with registered Chinese medicine practitioners, are eligible to use the protected title ‘acupuncturist’. If a practitioner holds an endorsement that permits them to use a protected title, this will appear on the register.
  • restricts the use of the title ‘surgeon’ by medical practitioners to those who hold specialist registration in surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, or ophthalmology.
Profession   Protected title(s)
Aboriginal and
Torres Strait
Islander health
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
    Health Practitioner
  • Aboriginal Health Practitioner
  • Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner
Chinese medicine
  • Chinese medicine practitioner
  • Chinese herbal dispenser
  • Chinese herbal medicine practitioner
  • Oriental medicine practitioner
  • Acupuncturist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Dental therapist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental prosthetist
  • Oral health therapist
  • Medical practitioner
  • Surgeon
Medical radiation practice
  • Medical radiation practitioner
  • Diagnostic radiographer
  • Medical imaging technologist
  • Radiographer
  • Nuclear medicine scientist
  • Nuclear medicine technologist
  • Radiation therapist
  • Midwife
  • Midwife practitioner
  • Nurse
  • Registered nurse
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Enrolled nurse
Occupational therapy
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Optician
  • Osteopath
  • Paramedic 
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmaceutical chemist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Chiropodist
  • Psychologist
Page reviewed 21/01/2022