New RPL Guidelines published for PACFA membership and registration

Following changes to PACFA’s standards with the introduction of the PACFA Training Standards (2018), PACFA has developed new Guidelines for Recognition of Prior Learning.

Download the Guidelines for Recognition of Prior Learning.

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Pathway allows for RPL principles to be applied in limited circumstances, taking into account the requirements of the PACFA Training Standards (2018).

When an Applicant’s training does not meet the requirements of the PACFA Training Standards (2018), the Applicant may be admitted to PACFA membership or registration, or upgrade to Clinical membership or registration, via the RPL Pathway.

RPL is only available in the following limited circumstances:

  1. Where the training was not accredited by PACFA;
  2. Where the training was undertaken in a country other than Australia;
  3. Where substantial client contact hours were completed during training (more than 500 hours) and some credit is sought towards the supervised client contact hours required for Clinical membership or registration.

As a minimum, all applicants for membership via RPL must have completed training in counselling or psychotherapy that meets the AQF standards and levels of learning. All qualifications must be approved by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) or the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) at either the undergraduate or postgraduate levels (AQF level 7 to 9).

The only exception to this requirement is relation to overseas training for which an assessment is required to verify that the training is recognised in Australia in accordance with the AQF. For details see section 2 on “Training that was undertaken in a country other than Australia”.

Training must be a single training program in counselling or psychotherapy. PACFA does not allow training that is made up of more than one course, where the courses are not related and not run by the same institution.  Consideration will not be given to practical experience in lieu of formal training.

In addition to the information provided when applying to PACFA online, the following additional information is required (as relevant) to support an RPL application:

  • A copy of the course handbook or other document that describes each unit of study
  • Further information from the institution that describes each unit of study for which academic credit has been allowed
  • Supporting letters from employers and/or supervisors
  • Copies of memberships or accreditations with other Professional Associations for counselling or psychotherapy (not for other professions).

There is an additional fee to apply via RPL. In some circumstances, the assessment of overseas training may need to be undertaken by VETASSESS, which is the national qualification assessment authority that assesses whether overseas qualifications meet the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).  VETASSESS assessment also attracts an additional fee.