Applying for Physiotherapy Registration in Australia

This. Takes. A. Long. Time.

Start this process well in advance of your intended arrival date in Australia! I’m talking 18-24 months in advance. I know of people who have submitted their application and arrived in Australia on their working visa, only to wait over a year for their physiotherapy registration to be approved –  that’s a long time to wait without any income!

The process for becoming registered to work as a physiotherapist in Australia is an arduous one, but rightly so – I truly believe it’s a vital gatekeeper to protecting our professional reputation and our patients.

But if I jump down off my soapbox now, I’ll try and give you a hand with wading through the lengthy procedure that is registration as a physiotherapist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), in consultation with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia (PBA) and the Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC).


Step 1: Work out which APC pathway you need to go through

Everything you need to know about this process is on the very user-friendly Australian Physiotherapy Council website.

In order of ease and cost your options are:

  • Skipping it all together if you hold registration with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand via the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Act
  • Equivalence of Qualification – Existing Program ($1527 AUD)
  • Equivalence of Qualification – New Program ($2240 AUD)
  • Standard Assessment Pathway – FLYR Stream ($3050)
  • Standard Assessment Pathway – Full ($7250)


Unless you’re already registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand (in which case, you should skip ahead to Step 2) the fastest way to getting registered as a physio in Australia is the Equivalence of Qualification Pathway. The APC has compiled a list of University degrees it has already assessed and deemed equivalent to the standards required of those who qualify in Australia. This is known as the Equivalence of Qualification – Existing Program Pathway. If your exact University, qualification/degree and cohort are on this list you can apply via this pathway ($1527 AUD). Check it out here.

If your University, qualification/degree and cohort are not on this list you have 2 options:

  • Apply for Equivalence of Qualification – New Program (read more here)


  • The Standard Assessment Pathway

The Standard Assessment Pathway requires an Assessment of Your Eligibility ($1120 AUD, 2 weeks), a Written Multiple Choice Examination ($1930 AUD, held quarterly in various cities internationally with results released 6 weeks post) and a Clinical Examination ($4200 AUD, 3 assessments of MSK, neuro and cardiorespiratory skills, held in Melbourne at an allocated time given 6-8 weeks in advance of test date, results provided 2 weeks post).

Australian Physiotherapy Council Website (2020)

At the end of whichever process you go through, you’ll receive a certificate from the APC making you eligible to apply for registration with the PBA via AHPRA.


Step 2. Apply for Physiotherapy Registration with AHPRA

The next step is to apply to AHPRA, who are the body responsible for regulating Australia’s health practitioners – physios, dentists, nurses, podiatrists… You need to be registered with AHPRA to legally practice your profession in Australia.

This is an online process. To be eligible to complete it you must either have completed an Australian Qualification, hold an APC Certificate (after going through Step 1 as outlined above), or hold registration with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand as per the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Act.

It is possible to apply for General or Limited Registration. There is no mention of timeframes on the website (and my attempts to deep dive into my emails from nearly 10 years ago after I graduated were not successful!), but from memory in only took a few weeks to come through.

Expect to provide the following information and supporting documents (don’t worry, AHPRA provide a checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything):

  • Personal details
    • Passport
    • Proof of change of name
    • 2-3 other identity documents (from a list of categories that is most easily understood by referring to the form)
  • Contact details
  • Qualification details
    • Certified copy of academic certificates and transcripts from qualifying or post-graduate degrees
  • Registration history
    • Certificate of Good Standing or Registration Status from your registration body
  • Work history
    • Your Curriculum Vitae (CV): there are a few specific instructions for this so ensure you read the requirements e.g. a signature and date
  • Suitability Statements
    • Criminal history checks from any countries outside Australia you have lived in for 6 months or more since the age of 18
    • English language competency either via educational experience or English language testing
    • Commitment to having professional indemnity insurance (which you can obtain either via membership with the Australian Physiotherapy Association or individually)
    • Commitment to Continuing Professional Development (you must complete 20 hours per year to maintain your registration)
    • Minimum practice obligations etc. etc.


Once you’ve got through all of this all you need to do is take a deep breath, pay your Application Fee (currently $126 AUD) and Registration Fee (currently $148 AUD) and send it all off to AHPRA.

I’ve got everything crossed it’s a positive outcome for you!


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