For education providers
Types of assessments
Outside of the cycle re-accreditation process there are six other instances when APAC will need to assess aspects of a program:
- out of cycle initial accreditation assessments
- request for accreditation of an additional program title
- request for accreditation of an existing program at an additional campus
- change of program title
It’s important to note that some programs require a final determination outcome from the APAC Board as well as approval from the Psychology Board of Australia prior to the commencement of the program. Please contact APAC as soon as possible if you are planning a new program, any changes to current programs or if you are unsure of what is required.
APAC will work together with you through this process and will determine whether a full assessment is required or not.
Out of cycle initial accreditation review
Out of cycle initial accreditation assessments may occur at any point within the five-year cycle period.
APAC’s assessment will include some, but not all, of the steps outlined on the accreditation overview and process page. APAC will work with higher education providers (HEP) throughout the initial accreditation process.
As the out of cycle initial accreditation review process can take up to 12 months from the time of submission to complete, please contact APAC at the earliest convenience to submit the notice of intent form. For more information regarding this process, please contact the APAC office.
Additional program title
An application for accreditation of an additional program title form needs to be completed when:
- the HEP has an additional title with identical (in every aspect) content/coursework, staffing and mode of delivery as that in an existing accredited program.
- combining an APAC accredited program title with another program to make a double degree, for example Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)/Bachelor of Commerce.
Please note, a program with a change to the program code but with the same title, content and curriculum may not need to be discontinued. Please contact the APAC office for advice.
Existing program at an additional campus
An application for accreditation of an existing accredited program at an additional campus form needs to be completed when the HEP is seeking to offer an existing program of study at a new campus.
Upon submission of the form, you should also provide details of how the identical program of study at the new campus will continue to meet the Accreditation Standards.
APAC will review the information provided upon receipt of the form. If the request is regarded as a substantial change, it may require completion of a submission for accreditation. APAC will work with you should a submission for accreditation be necessary.
Schedule of fees
Fees for accreditation are set annually by APAC and apply to all accreditation assessments. The cost of assessment is determined by several factors, including:
- type of accreditation, e.g., cycle re-accreditation, initial or changes to an existing program
- complexity of accreditation, e.g., program offered from two or more sites or offshore
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the transition arrangements for the 2010 Standards to the 2019 Standards?The transition to the 2019 Accreditation Standards occurred officially at midnight on 31 December 2018, and the 2019 Standards came into effect 1 January 2019. The 2010 Accreditation Standards became historical as of this date. Any existing conditions on accreditation in place at the end of 2018 were transferred into the language of the 2019 Standards. The Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) college approval process ceased at the end of 2018, and APAC will no longer be joined by college assessors on site visits. APS college conditions in place at the end of 2018 were transferred into the language of the 2019 Accreditation Standards. Programs previously accredited under the 2010 Standards will maintain its accreditation status into 2019 and beyond, assuming no changes resulting from any required follow-up site visits, audits, etc. Higher education providers will not have to apply for accreditation under the 2019 Accreditation Standards until their scheduled cycle accreditation assessment or until they submit an application for a new program in an out of cycle assessment.
What is the difference between APAC accreditation and Psychology Board of Australia approval?The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (National Law) requires a program to be both accredited by APAC and approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) to be considered as a qualification suitable for the purpose of registration as a psychologist in Australia. Accreditation refers to the review process of psychology programs for quality assurance and quality improvement against the Accreditation Standards. Approval refers to the process of assessment by the PsyBA of an APAC accredited program to determine if it meets the PsyBA’s requirements for the purpose of registration as a psychologist in Australia under the National Law.
What constitutes a sound rationale for any variation as is referred to in the evidence guide at various points?The move to outcome focussed Accreditation Standards allows providers to focus on evidence that demonstrates that outcomes are achieved rather than relying solely on inputs that assume that outcomes can be achieved. This means that the lists of evidence provided are a guide to how the Standards and graduate competencies can be met and innovation is encouraged. Where variation is applied, education providers will need to consider each situation carefully with a view to ensuring the Standards and graduate competencies are met and, when next subject to assessment, demonstrate that any decisions taken fit within that context. Until APAC conducts a full assessment (whether that be, for example, as part of a cycle accreditation assessment, an out of cycle assessment for a new program, a monitoring site visit etc.), APAC is unable to advise or offer a determination on which rationales for variation may be appropriate as there will be a range of factors to consider as part of the wider picture. An assessment takes into account documentation submitted, information obtained from meetings with staff, students and supervisors, etc. In the first instance, therefore, the onus will be on providers to ensure that all aspects of accredited programs meet the requirements of the Accreditation Standards and graduate competencies.
What does accreditation with conditions mean?Where APAC accredits a program of study, it can grant this accreditation with or without conditions (prior to the introduction of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (the National Law), the terms used were conditional accreditation and full accreditation). Where a program has been granted accreditation with conditions, this means that a shortfall against a standard has been identified and a condition is imposed against the standard to remedy that shortfall. In such circumstances, the education provider will be given a specified period of time within which it must meet those conditions – all conditions must be met before accreditation without conditions can be granted. A student who successfully graduates from a program of study which holds accreditation (either with or without conditions) at the time of their graduation is considered to have completed an APAC accredited program of study.
In the current circumstances, is APAC still undertaking accreditation work?Much of APAC’s accreditation work and assessments are undertaken remotely and that aspect of our work won’t change. The main impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is on our capacity to undertake site visits, which have been transitioned to a virtual platform at this time. We are working with education providers to explore ways in which elements of the site visit assessment can be undertaken remotely so that we can progress as much accreditation business as possible.
We launch our podcast series by talking about why APAC accreditation assessments matter and how education providers can get ready to make an assessment a painless process. To do that, we’re joined by Nghi Robinson, who is APAC’s Accreditation Manager.