Application Pathways

There are three pathways to becoming a PACFA member.

The most common pathway is the Accredited Training pathway. Applicants who have completed a PACFA accredited training, or a TEQSA or ASQA accredited training at an AQF level between 7-9 (a Bachelor, Graduate Diploma, or Masters), can apply via the Accredited Training Pathway.

For applicants who have done a course that is not PACFA or TEQSA accredited, the Equivalent Training pathway or the Recognition of Prior Learning pathway may apply.

Accredited Training pathway

The PACFA membership requirements are based on the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) standards and levels of learning. Education and training in counselling and psychotherapy must be undertaken via an AQF 7-9 approved qualification (a Bachelor, Graduate Diploma, or Masters). The PACFA Training Standards and minimum volume of learning requirements listed below apply to any program, whether undergraduate or postgraduate.

PACFA membership requirements, as stipulated by the PACFA Training Standards:

  • The course must be at an AQF Level 7 (Bachelor degree) or above;
  • You must study over 2 or more years (part or full-time study is accepted);
  • Within the course, there must be a minimum of 400 hours of instruction in counselling/psychotherapy specific subjects (ie. lectures, tutorials, workshops);
                  - of these 400 hours, 140 hours must be face-to-face and in person
  • Additionally, within the course there must be a placement with a minimum of 40 hours of client contact, and 10 hours of supervision attached to this client contact.  

If you completed a PACFA accredited course, we already have information about your course and how it meets our training standards. You only need to submit your certificate and transcript with your application. 

If you completed a TEQSA or ASQA accredited course that is not also accredited by PACFA, with your application we will require further information about your course to ensure that it meets our high standards. Documents such as student guidebooks and unit outlines can support your application. An additional $100 application fee applies for assessment of these documents.

Read the Accredited Training pathway application checklist.

Join via the Accredited Training pathway now.

Equivalent Training pathway

The requirements for the Equivalent Training pathway are the same as the PACFA membership requirements listed above, except that the training program is not accredited by TEQSA, ASQA, or PACFA, and does not have an AQF level.

Applicants under this pathway must demonstrate that the course they have completed meets the PACFA Training Standards. As the course is not accredited by PACFA, with your application we will require further information about your course to ensure that it meets our high standards. Documents such as student guidebooks and unit outlines can support your application. An additional $100 application fee applies for assessment of these documents.

Applicants who may apply under this pathway include but are not limited to:

  • Graduates of psychotherapy training programs, whose training is assessed by PACFA as equivalent to the PACFA Training Standards; and/or
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practitioners, whose training is assessed by our College of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices (CATSIHP) as having training or formation as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practitioner that is equivalent to PACFA Training Standards; and/or
  • Graduates of counselling training programs, whose training is assessed by PACFA as being equivalent to the PACFA Training Standards

Read the Equivalent Training pathway application checklist.

Join via the Equivalent Training pathway now.

Recognition of Prior Learning pathway (RPL)

Where an applicant’s professional training does not fit the requirements of either the accredited or the equivalency pathway, but the applicant has significant personal and professional experience in the field, an applicant may apply via the RPL pathway. It is recommended that applicants considering this pathway contact us at [email protected] so that we can advise if your application may be successful. To expedite this process please briefly list in your email you relevant qualifications and experience. 

RPL applicants must demonstrate how the totality of their training and experience is equivalent to the requirements of the PACFA Training Standards. With an RPL application, unlike the other two pathways, evidence that you have met the PACFA Training Standards can be provided from across more than one course. Applicants are required to provide substantial evidence to demonstrate how they have met the PACFA Training Standards.

All overseas trained applicants are required to apply via the Recognition of Prior Learning pathway, and must have their course assessed by VETASSESS as meeting AQF requirements.

We have prepared guidelines for RPL applicants. Please read these carefully before applying.

An additional application fee of $100 applies to RPL applications.

Read the Recognition of Prior Learning pathway application checklist

Join via the RPL pathway now.

Glossary

AQF: Australian Qualifications Framework - government body that determines whether a course is a certificate, diploma, or degree

TEQSA: Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency - government body that accredits universities and other tertiary institutions

ASQA: Australian Skills Quality Authority - government body that accredits vocational education and training, such as TAFEs

FAQs

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I have a Diploma, am I eligible for membership?

Unfortunately, Diplomas are not accepted by PACFA for practising membership, however you are welcome to join as an Affiliate.

I studied my course online, am I eligible for membership?

As we require a minimum of 140 hours of your course to be studied in person and face-to-face, courses that are wholly online do not meet the eligibility criteria. 

I studied a Bachelors/Graduate Diploma/Masters that isn't PACFA Accredited, but I'm fairly sure it meets the eligibility criteria. Which pathway should I take?

You don't have to study a PACFA accredited course to gain membership via the Accredited Training pathway. If the course you studied was a Bachelors, Graduate Diploma, or Masters, you can apply via the Accredited Training pathway, as your course is accredited by the Australian government. However, with your application we will require further details from you about your course to show that it meets our high standards. 

What kind of courses are eligible for the Equivalent Training Pathway?

These are courses that still meet the PACFA Training Standards membership requirements (listed on the eligibility page), but have not been accredited by the Australian government. These courses usually have a title such as 'Professional Training', 'Advanced Training', 'Clinical Training', 'Specialist Training' or similar. 

I've studied more than one course, and I think that all together they might meet the requirements - which pathway should I take?

The RPL pathway is the only pathway that can take into account the volume of learning across more than one course.

What kind of documents do I need to submit to an Equivalency Pathway application?

Usually, applicants submit their transcript and graduation certificate along with a course handbook, unit outlines, or a letter from their institution detailing the number of hours of learning and placement.

What kind of documents do I need to submit to an RPL application?

You will need to submit the transcript and graduation certificate for each course you have completed. For each course we will also require things such as course handbooks, unit outlines, or a letter from your institution/s detailing the number of hours of learning and placement. Depending on your individual application, we may also ask you to fill in our supervision and client contact verification form to show ongoing supervision, and provide us with certificates of attendance at professional development courses related to your counselling/psychotherapy practice. The Membership Team member assessing your application will let you know if you need to submit more documents with your application.

My course didn't have a placement, am I still eligible for membership?

If your course didn't have a placement, we can accept 100 hours of client contact and 25 hours of supervision on this client contact in lieu of placement. These hours must be completed after you graduated from your counselling/psychotherapy course and within an organisation (not private practice).