English Language Skills Registration Standard Overview
This blog post provides a broad overview of the English language skills registration standard for health practitioners seeking registration in Australia. For full details see the English language skills page on the AHPRA website.
In order to be registered as a health practitioner in Australia, you must be able to demonstrate that your English language skills will enable you to safely practise your profession. The English language skills registration standard is one of the five core standards that practitioners are required to meet, under the National Law.
Importantly Australia recognises certain countries as English language first speaking countries for the purpose of registration. The recognised countries are:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- the Republic of Ireland and
- South Africa.
With the exception of South Africa and Australia, these countries are the same as the countries recognised by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for the purpose of exempting visa applicants from having to sit a test to demonstrate English language competency. National Boards do not currently plan on adding any new countries to the list of recognised countries.
You must be able to show that you have you have attended and satisfactorily completed at least six years of primary and secondary education taught and assessed in English. This education must have been attended and completed in one of the recognised countries, including at least two years of education between years seven and twelve. In addition, you must have successfully completed your relevant qualification in English in one of the recognised countries. It does not matter if you have had a break from study or if you did not complete all six years of high school, as long as you meet the other criteria specified in the standard.
The evidence required to demonstrate secondary education taught and assessed in English in one of the seven recognised countries listed in the standard may vary, depending on where it occurred. For detailed information about the evidence you need to provide, please see the English language skills page on the AHPRA website.
The evidence required to demonstrate tertiary and/or vocational education taught and assessed in English in one of the seven recognised countries listed in the standard may vary, depending on where it occurred. You will need to provide certified copies of your transcripts for all education you are relying on to meet the NMBA English language skills registration standard.
Meeting the standard:
All new applicants for registration must meet the English language skills registration standard, regardless of their language background or visa status. If you sat the IELTS Academic, OET1 , TOEFL IBT or PTE Academic tests as part of your application for a skilled migration visa in the past two years and you achieved the results specified in the standard, you can use those results and do not need to sit another test.
Pathways to demonstrate English language competence include:
- Primary Language Pathway
- English Language Test Pathway, or
- Extended Education Pathway
Establishing which pathway is appropriate:
- If you grew up and completed all of your education in Australia, the most appropriate pathway for you is the Primary Language Pathway.
- If you did not go to secondary school in a recognised country, but I have been studying for an extended period in a recognised country you can either:
- demonstrate you meet the standard through the English Language Test Pathway or
- demonstrate you meet the standard through the Extended Education Pathway if you have completed and can provide evidence for at least five years (full-time equivalent) continuous education in English in a recognised country.
Maintaining English language skills once registered:
The information you provide in your application for registration about your English language skills may be checked by AHPRA. It is up to you to ensure that you maintain your level of English language proficiency once you are registered, even if you frequently communicate with patients in a language other than English. The NMBA and AHPRA may reassess your English language skills if specific concerns arise, for example if a complaint is made about you.
Inability to submit evidence of education in an English-speaking country:
You should provide as much information as possible in the application form. AHPRA will consider whether the information you have provided is sufficient evidence of meeting the standard. If not, you may need to sit an English language test.
As stated at the beginning of this post, for full details see the English language skills page on the AHPRA website.
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