AHPRA Registration English Requirements for Nurses

AHPRA Registration English Requirements for Nurses

If you are a health practitioner you will need to be registered  with the Australian Health Practitioner Health Agency (APHRA)  to practice your profession.

Depending on your specific profession/nominated occupation, the requirements for registration may differ. It is important to thoroughly read through the registration standards for your profession. The basic requirements include a criminal history check, meeting the English language skills registration standard  and relevant qualifications.

 

English language skills registration standard

Meeting the English language skills registration standard is typically through the submission of English test results that meet AHPRA’s required scores. If you cannot achieve the required scores in your English test, you may repeat the tests to achieve the necessary scores. You are also able to combine two test scores to achieve the required scores under strict circumstances. There are four modules in all English tests – listening, reading, writing and speaking. These modules are scored individually and give an overall test score. The English standard to satisfy is as follows:

Test results must be obtained within two years of the application for registration with AHPRA. Where test results fall outside these two years, the conditions under which your results may still be accepted depends on your profession. Where two test results are being used, time passed is calculated from the first test date.

As a nurse with test results that are older than two years, you will still be able to use these results given that you have been in continuous employment (no less than 26 weeks a year) as a registered nurse in one of the recognised countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

This employment must have commenced within 12 months of the date of the test and must not have ended more than 12 months before your lodge your application for registration.

Alternatively, you must have been continuously enrolled in a Board-approved program of study,

“Board-approved program of study means an accredited program of study approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia under section 49(1) of the National Law and published in the Board’s list of approved programs of study on the Board’s website”

that commenced within 12 months of the test date and must lodge their registration application within 12 months of completing the course. There must be no breaks taken from study outside the scheduled school holidays.

You are not required to produce English test results as a means to prove that you are sufficiently skilled in your use of the English standard. If you have studied in English, you may be exempt, but it will depend on if you have done so in a recognised country and/or how long you have done so. The circumstances under which you may not need to use an English test as evidence once again depends on your profession.

As a nurse you may prove your English standards through a few other pathways.

 

Primary language pathway

The applicant can prove that English is their primary language through evidencing that they have completed six years of primary and secondary education taught and assessed in English in a recognised  country (refer to above). At least two of six years must be have between Years 7 and 12. In addition to this, your relevant nursing qualifications were obtained in an institution that also taught and assessed in English in a recognised country. If you are a registered nurse, you must have completed two years full-time equivalent pre-registration program of study, approved by the recognised nursing regulatory body in a recognised country. If you are an enrolled nurse, you have have completed a year of full-time equivalent pre-registration program of study, approved by the recognised nursing regulatory body in a recognised country.

 

Extended education pathway for registered nurses

If you are able to evidence that you have completed five years full-time (or equivalent) education taught and assessed in English in  a recognised country. These five years must have been completed in:

  • Tertiary and Secondary education , OR
  • Tertiary and Vocational education , OR
  • Tertiary, Secondary and Vocational education , OR
  • Tertiary education

Years of study taught in and assessed in English in Primary years are not accepted. Included in these five years of study in English, the applicant must also have completed two years full-time equivalent pre-registration program of study, approved by the recognised nursing regulatory body in a recognised country. These five years do not have to be consecutive but must be completed within a seven year window.Extended education pathway for enrolled nursesIf you are able to evidence that you have completed five years full-time (or equivalent) education taught and assessed in English in  a recognised country. These five years must have been completed in:

  • Tertiary and Secondary education , OR
  • Tertiary and Vocational education , OR
  • Tertiary, Secondary and Vocational education , OR
  • Tertiary education

Years of study taught in and assessed in English in Primary years are not accepted. Included in these five years of study in English, the applicant must also have completed one year of full time (or equivalent) pre-registration program of study, approved by the recognised nursing regulatory body in a recognised country. These five years do not have to be consecutive but must be completed within a seven year window.

 

Full-time equivalent

“A course load that a student would need to take in order to complete a course in the minimum time (not including accelerated or fast-track courses). For example, a full-time load for a four year undergraduate degree would be the normal course load for a student who would expect to complete that degree in four years, OR a combination of part-time courses, which together make up a full-time course load. For example, two part-time courses each consisting of a 50% course load.”

Conditions

  • Tertiary education must be primarily face to face. Students must use speaking, writing, listening and reading skills.
  • Whether study is considered full time or not is dependent on the definition of the education provider. When this is not available, the Australian Qualifications Framework Council defines the accepted length of a full-time year to be 1200 hours.
  • Where concurrent education (two or more courses taken in the same period), it can only be counted as one full-time year. For example should two courses be taken at a 50% course load for a year, the student would have been considered to have taken one full-time year. Should two courses be taken, one at 50% load and the other at 75% for a year, the student would still only have been considered to have taken one full-time year.
  • Failed subjects and Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) cannot count toward a full-time course load.
  • If under 75% of a full-time course load has been completed, regardless of the length of study, this cannot be counted towards years of full-time study. The last period of study must be completed within the preceding five years.

Please visit AHPRA’s site  for official and up to date guides on English language skills registration standards  for accurate information on your profession. You will notice that there are a lot of similar documents listed. The information on these documents corroborate each other, however we recommend that you read through anything pertaining to your profession either way.

Note: At the very end of the English requirements page under “Information specific to nurses and midwives” there sits a document titled “English language skills registration standard policy”. It looks like a repetition of the previous documents but the document date is the latest, at 26 May 2016 (the rest are dated in 2015). This document is NOT a replacement to all previously listed information but is an expansion on the definitions and circumstances surrounding the pathways to demonstrate meeting the English language skills registration standard. In other words, more rules. Please be aware that the information provided in this article is accurate only at the time of this publication and may change.

Certain other professions allow for NZREX or PLAB English tests but it wouldn’t make sense to opt for these tests as you have to fulfil the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s English requirements independently and these tests are not approved by the DIBP for visa purposes.

Learn more about taking English tests here.

Your initial application for registration must be in hardcopy. It can be submitted through post or in person. Being registered is not the equivalent of a skills assessment and it is independent from the assessing body (e.g. ANMAC) and the DIBP.