Registration Information

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Introduction

The New Zealand Psychologists Board administers the registration of psychologists under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003. The Board recommends that those seeking registration in New Zealand  familiarise themselves with this legislation. A copy of the Act can be downloaded here.

For further information, click on a heading for quick access:

Information for all Applicants

Processing Applications

Scopes of Practice

Character and Reputation of Applicants (Fitness for Registration)

Communication Skills

Practising Certificate

Certificate of Registration (Optional)

Standards of Practice

Application Fees

Information for Applicants who Qualified Overseas

Prescribed and Non-Prescribed Countries

Self-Assessment of Eligibility for Registration

Cultural Competence

Registering as an Intern Psychologist

The ‘Supervision to Registration’ scheme (Trainee Psychologists)

 

Information for all Applicants

Processing Applications

A checklist of documents required with your Application for Registration is on the application form (see resource list to the right). All required documentation and the correct fee must be received before the application can be processed. The Board is unable to process incomplete applications and cannot accept uncertified copies of any official documents. Please note that application fees are non-refundable.

The Board will endeavour to acknowledge (by email, if provided) receipt of your application form and documentation within 5 working days of receipt in the Board’s office. You need to allow 3 - 4 weeks for the assessment of your complete application from the date of acknowledgment of receipt. Complete applications are processed on a regular basis. In fairness to all practitioners, no application will be ‘fast-tracked’ ahead of any other. 

Scopes of Practice

Information about the Scopes of Practice prescribed by the New Zealand Psychologists Board can be viewed here.

Character and Reputation of Applicants (Fitness for Registration)

Character References

The HPCA Act requires that a practitioner be a fit and proper person to be registered. References will be required to ensure this is the case. At least one reference must be written by a psychologist registered by the New Zealand Psychologists Board. (For overseas applicants who do not know a New Zealand-registered Psychologist, a reference from a senior psychologist who is registered, chartered, or licensed with a government-mandated registration authority overseas will be an acceptable alternative. A copy of that referee's registration certificate or licence must be included with the reference letter).

All character references must be originals written specifically in support of the registration application, and must be signed and dated no earlier than 3 months before the date on which the application is received by the Board.

Record of Criminal Conviction(s) – New Zealand Applicants

The Board requires that every New Zealand applicant authorises the Board to obtain a Record of Criminal Convictions from the New Zealand Police. This lists only convictions and sentencing from court appearances and will conceal any criminal convictions if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria stipulated in section 7 of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004.

Applicants should complete the Authorisation to Disclose Information form (which gives the Board authorisation to request disclosure from the NZ Police Vetting Service) and include it with their application documentation.

Record of Criminal Conviction(s) - Overseas Applicants

The Board requires that you provide a record of criminal convictions (e.g., Police Clearance Certificate (South Africa), FBI Criminal Conviction Information/Fingerprint Information (USA), NIS Criminal Record Information Certificate (UK)) or equivalent documentation to inform the Board about any convictions you may have had in your former country or countries of residence. The record must not be more than six months old.

NOTE:   A conviction does not necessarily preclude the granting of registration. Any convictions will be considered by the Board on a case-by-case basis. If you have a conviction, you should also submit an explanatory letter about the conviction to the Board.

Communication Skills

If English is not your first language and your qualifications were not completed in the English language, please provide a certified copy, or the original, of your results on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Module. Please note that this is the only English test currently approved by the Board. The minimum pass mark required is 7.5 overall, with no less than 7.0 on each section.

Practising Certificate

To be able to practise in New Zealand psychologists are required (by law) to hold a current practising certificate. If you intend to practise in New Zealand you can apply for a practising certificate after the Board has approved your registration. Your practising certificate must then be renewed at the start of each financial year (1 April). Please note that "returning to practice" processes may apply if you have not lawfully practised within the past three years.

Certificate of Registration (Optional)

A formal Certificate of Registration showing your name, scope of practise, and date of registration can be ordered from the Board. These optional Certificates are produced on A4 light card, are personally signed by the Board's Registrar, and are ready for framing. You can order one by downloading the Certificate of Registration Payment form and submitting it with your payment.

Standards of Practice

The standards of practice expected of all psychologists practising in New Zealand are outlined in the Board's"Core Competencies for the Practice of Psychology in New Zealandand the “Code of Ethics for Psychologists Working in Aotearoa New Zealand 2002”. Core competencies include cultural competencies.  New Zealand-registered psychologists are expected to be culturally competent with all cultures but particularly to safeguard the wellbeing of Māori. The practice of psychology in New Zealand reflects paradigms and worldviews of both partners to te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi. (For further information see also the Best Practice Documents and Guidelines page.)

Application Fees

Please refer to the “Fees” page for current information.

 

Information for Overseas-Qualified Applicants

Please also read "Information for all applicants" section above.

Applications from overseas-trained practitioners are assessed on an individual basis for fitness for registration, equivalence of the applicant's qualifications to New Zealand qualifications, and competence to practise (refer HPCA Act section 15). (See also “Self-Assessment of Eligibility for Registration” information below.) Please note that assessments completed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) may not be relied upon by the Board, as they assess only equivalency of level (e.g., Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral) and not equivalency of content (i.e., psychology content).

In order to assist in the accurate assessment of qualifications, overseas applicants should supply to the Board as much information as possible about the course content of their degrees/diplomas. Information relating to any internships or practical training undertaken as part of a university degree/diploma is particularly relevant. Information about current registration with a recognised authority (e.g., State or National registration authority) is also relevant and very helpful.

The Board reminds applicants that they must provide conclusive, clear, and reliable evidence that they have successfully completed a structured, supervised, and formally evaluated professional practice programme of at least 1500 hours that has been approved by the New Zealand Psychologists Board or by an equivalent competent registering authority for psychologists.

[Note: In assessing the number of hours of internship an applicant has completed, the starting point is when the student has actually commenced practising (under appropriate supervision but semi-independently) as a psychologist and the finishing point is when his or her placement contract ends. Internships normally occur toward the end of a student’s academic training, and can be differentiated from “practica” both by the degree of independence afforded the student and by the timing of the placement in relation to the core academic training.]

Prescribed and Non-Prescribed Countries

Cost analysis has shown that applications from countries where training and regulation are similar to New Zealand’s take (on average) significantly less time to process than do those from other countries. The Board has therefore determined (in accordance with the requirements that our fees are “cost-recovery only” and that no cross-subsidisation occurs) that the application fees should reflect this disparity. Currently the “prescribed” countries (those with training and regulation that are similar to that in New Zealand) include Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The Board will be working to expand this list over time.

Self-Assessment of Eligibility for Registration

[PLEASE NOTE: From 1 April 2016 the Board will no longer offer Non-Binding Assessments.] 

Practitioners who completed their psychology training overseas and who are considering applying for registration in New Zealand are strongly encouraged to complete the Board’s online “Self-Assessment of Eligibility for Registration” tool. It will give you some idea of how the Board may assess your fitness for registration, the equivalence of your qualifications in relation to the minimum standard of qualifications required for registration in New Zealand, and your current competence to practise.

The self-assessment tool is non-binding and should not be taken as a formal opinion. If, as you work through the tool, you are advised that there may be an obstacle to your registration, you can contact the Board for clarification.

You can complete the online “Self-Assessment of Eligibility for Registration” tool here. Any questions still remaining about the Board’s requirements can then be directed to Anne Culver, Director of Registration.

Cultural Competence

Overseas-trained applicants are encouraged to begin their orientation to New Zealand even before relocating. The Immigration New Zealand website offers many useful resources, and the Board's information on Cultural Competence should be reviewed. A free, online Foundation Course in Cultural Competency is also available. This (optional) course may support you to build your understanding of cultural competency and (for those of you working in health settings) health literacy in New Zealand (with a focus on improving Māori health outcomes).

 

Registering as an Intern Psychologist

University (PGDip, MClinPsych, and DClinPsych) students undertaking internships as part of their degree or postgraduate diploma are required to be registered with the Board. These students are registered in the "Intern Psychologist" scope of practice with conditions related to supervision.

All applicants must complete the standard application for registration form taking care to tick the "Intern Psychologist" box in the scope of practice section. A letter from the Head of Department, Course Director, or Head of School should be provided stating that the applicant has been enrolled in the course and noting an approximate date of course completion.

Registration requirements for Intern Psychologists are noted on the application form and include providing a record of criminal convictions and three character references (one of which must be from a psychologist registered in NZ). Students entering training programmes that have not yet been accredited by the Board will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and will need to submit details of their internship placement and supervision arrangements along with their application form.

This registration process establishes an Intern on the Register of Psychologists for the duration of his or her post-graduate study, but only permits practice within the confines of that study. On successful completion of both their academic and practical (internship) qualifications the Intern can apply for full registration.

Note to Employers - Employers should check that Intern Psychologist employees appear on the Board's Register before allowing them to practise.

 

Supervision to Registration scheme (Trainee Psychologists)

This registration is for candidates who have completed formal academic qualifications that have provided them with the foundation competencies required for safe practice in the approved supervised setting, and who are entering a Board-accredited supervised practice scheme to achieve full registration. 

This option, known as the ‘Supervision to Registration’ scheme, is currently only available to employees of the Department of Corrections and the New Zealand Defence Force. Trainee Psychologists must hold a current practising certificate, which will include supervision conditions.