Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - FAQ
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About the National Scheme

Information about the National Scheme

What is the National Registration and Accreditation 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, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists & dental therapists)
  • medical practitioners
  • nurses and midwives
  • optometrists
  • osteopaths
  • pharmacists
  • physiotherapists
  • podiatrists, and 
  • psychologists

On 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

On December 2018, paramedics joined the National Scheme.

What is Ahpra?

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

What is the National Law?

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.

Follow the Legislation & Publications link on the Ahpra website to access the National Law.

What are the objectives of the National Scheme?

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
  • facilitate the assessment of overseas qualified practitioners
  • facilitate access to provided by health practitioners, and
  • enable the continuous development of a flexible Australian health workforce. 

How does the National Scheme work?

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 the National Board.

What are the advantages of having a national regulatory framework?

Having a national framework for regulating health practitioners.

Who needs to register?

Who needs to register as a health practitioner?

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.

What are the protected titles in the National Law?

The following titles are protected under the National Law.

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
Medical Radiation Practice
  • Medical radiation practitioner
  • Diagnostic radiographer
  • Medical imaging technologist
  • Radiographer
  • Nuclear medicine scientist
  • Nuclear medicine technologist Radiation therapist
Nursing and Midwifery
  • Nurse
  • Registered nurse
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Enrolled nurse
  • Midwife
  • Midwife practitioner
Occupational Therapy
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Optician
  • Osteopath
  • Paramedic
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmaceutical chemist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Chiropodist
  • Psychologist


Page reviewed 16/01/2024