Why is the APC Exam Your way to becoming a Physiotherapist in Australia?

Jul 10, 2023 4 min read
APC Exam becoming a Physiotherapist in Australia

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Who is the Australian Physiotherapy Council?
  • Introduction to the APC exam
  • An overview of the assessment pathways

With an impressive healthcare sector to boast, Australia tops the list of destinations preferred by healthcare professionals around the world. The physiotherapy profession in Australia is people-centred and paves the way to a rewarding career. Australia has a pool of job opportunities for overseas physiotherapy graduates and encourages them to join the physiotherapy workforce in Australia by becoming registered physiotherapists there. Along with the salary of your dreams and the standard of living you’ve always aspired to have, they also shower you with opportunities to grow and learn. Let us take a look at how this journey can be started.
 

Table of Contents

  • Who is the Australian Physiotherapy Council?
    • Functions of the Australian Physiotherapy Council
  • What is the APC exam?
    • The APC written exam
    • The APC practical exam
  • Which are the APC assessment pathways?
    • Standard assessment pathway
    • FLYR pathway
    • Equivalence of qualification pathway
    • Assessment for skilled migration visa
  • FAQs
     

Who is the Australian Physiotherapy Council?

If you have been considering building a career as a physiotherapist in Australia, you might have heard about the Australian Physiotherapy Council. The Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC) is a non-profit organisation in Australia that is appointed as the accrediting authority for physiotherapy under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) and is authorised by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia which is part of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).

The Australian Physiotherapy Council is entrusted with the core responsibilities of accrediting the beginner-level physiotherapy programs delivered by Australian universities and assessing internationally trained practitioners who aim to become registered physiotherapy practitioners in Australia.
 

Functions of the Australian Physiotherapy Council

The Australian Physiotherapy Council deals with various activities as they provide accreditation and assessment services. Here is the list of functions performed by them.

  • Accreditation of entry-level physiotherapy education programs offered by education providers in Australia
  • Assessment of qualifications and skills of internationally trained physiotherapists for registration and migration purposes
  • Delivery of advice, recommendations, and consulting services to the Physiotherapy Board of Australia and other relevant organisations, associated with accreditation and assessment
  • National and international liaison with other professional bodies, regulators and educators on matters related to standards of education and practice and global recognition of physiotherapy qualifications
  • Maintenance and regular review of the Accreditation Standards
     

What is the APC Exam?

When internationally trained practitioners seek registration to work in Australia, it is mandatory to undergo the assessment conducted by the Australian Medical Council. For this, the APC exam has to be attended and cleared. The APC exam comprises both written and practical elements prepared specially to assess the theoretical knowledge and clinical skills of the candidate. This exam is conducted with the aim of confirming that physiotherapists possess the necessary competence to provide safe and effective healthcare in the Australian environment. 
 

The APC Written Exam

The written component of the APC exam assesses the candidate’s understanding of various theoretical aspects of physiotherapy. This includes anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, exercise prescription, pathology, and clinical reasoning. It is essential to have a strong foundation and extensive revision in these areas to ace this exam.
 

The APC Practical Exam

The practical component evaluates the candidate’s clinical skills through structured clinical examinations (SCEs). These assessments simulate real-life patient scenarios in simulation labs, testing the candidate’s ability to conduct accurate assessments, formulate treatment plans, and apply appropriate interventions.
 

Which are the APC Assessment Pathways?

Multiple assessment pathways are available for overseas practitioners who are seeking registration to work as physiotherapists in Australia. The candidate may be eligible for these assessments if they fit the criteria. The assessment pathways of the Australian Physiotherapist Council are as follows.
 

Standard Assessment Pathway

The majority of the internationally trained physiotherapists who apply to be assessed by the Australian Physiotherapy Council undertake the standard assessment pathway. This pathway is as follows.

  • Eligibility assessment and cultural safety training
  • Interim certificate
  • Written assessment
  • Clinical assessment
  • Final certificate
     

Eligibility Criteria for the Standard Assessment Pathway

The following are the minimum requirements that the candidates should meet while applying for the APC standard assessment pathway.

  • The candidate must be an internationally trained physiotherapist with a minimum diploma-level qualification
  • The candidate must hold the educational/qualification requirements for registration without any restriction in your country of training
  • In the case of non-existence of a regulatory body, the candidate must be able to practise without restriction in your country of training
     

FLYR Pathway

The candidate applying for the FLYR assessment must be qualified from an approved country that can access the FYLR assessment. The pathway is as follows.

  • Registered in a FYLR country
  • Eligibility assessment and cultural safety program
  • Interim certificate
  • Written assessment
  • Final certificate
     

Eligibility Criteria for the FYLR Pathway

To qualify for the Australian Physiotherapy Council FLYR pathway, the applicant must meet the following criteria.

  • The candidate must have completed an entry-level physiotherapy qualification in a FLYR-approved country
  • The candidate must possess registration without restriction with the relevant regulatory body within the past 5 years
  • The candidate must be able to practise without any restrictions
  • The candidate must hold an entry-level qualification that is diploma-level or higher*

(*Singapore candidates must have completed a Bachelor-level degree)
 

Equivalence of Qualification Pathway

The Equivalence of Qualification pathway assesses if an international physiotherapy qualification can be deemed substantially equivalent to an accredited Australian entry-level program. This evaluation serves as a means to obtain General Registration with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, which is a prerequisite for practising as a physiotherapist in the country. The pathway is as follows.

  • Checklist of equivalent programs
  • Application and cultural safety training
  • Final certificate
     

Assessment for Skilled Migration Visa

The Skills Assessment, also known as Assessment for Skilled Migration Visas, is a thorough evaluation of the candidate’s qualifications and skills through a documentation-based process. Its purpose is to determine that the candidate’s qualifications and skills align with the requirements of specific visa applications in Australia. The types of skill assessments are as follows.

  • Skill Assessment for Permanent Residence//Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visas
  • Skill Assessment for Temporary Graduate Visas
     

Eligibility Criteria for the Assessment of Skilled Migration VISA

The following criteria must be met to be eligible for the skill assessment.

  • The candidate must meet Ahpra’s English Language Skills Registration Standard for physiotherapists.
  • The candidate must have a current and unconditional General Registration with Ahpra.

OR

  • The candidate must meet the qualification requirement for the General Registration with Ahpra by checking any one of these requirements:
    • Completed an Australian qualification that is included in Ahpra’s Approved Programs of Study
    • Obtained the Council’s Certificate of Substantial Equivalence after successfully completing Equivalence of Qualification
    • Obtained the Council’s Final Certificate after successfully completing the Standard Assessment Pathway or the FLYR Pathway
    • Hold a current and unconditional Annual Practising Certificate with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand

The APC examination is your gateway to becoming a physiotherapist in Australia. Clearing this exam is possible if you are willing to work hard and prepare yourself in the right manner. If you have questions about the exam or if you would like to join an APC exam preparation course, Academically has got your back. Drop a mail to reach out to us and we will gladly assist you.

Contact@academically.ai
 

FAQs

Q: Do I need to be in Australia for the APC assessment?

Ans: Most of the assessments can be completed outside Australia. But you need to be present in Australia for the clinical assessment if you have taken the standard assessment pathway.

Q: Who is Aphra?

Ans: Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Aphra) is the registration body for healthcare practitioners in Australia, including all physiotherapists.

Q: Where can I learn more about the APC examination?

Ans: Visit the official website of the Australian Physiotherapy Council.

Q: How much does a Physiotherapist make in Australia?

Ans: The average physiotherapist salary in Australia is $90,859 per year or $46.59 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $80,000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $112,618 per year.

Dr. Akram Ahmad
Dr. Akram Ahmad
about the author

Dr. Akram Ahmad is a clinical pharmacist and lecturer with over 10 years of teaching and research experience across various subjects of medicine in India, Malaysia and Australia. He is an educationist and a medpreneur with extensive knowledge of the global healthcare diaspora. Through his articles, videos and engaging sessions, he always aims to impart unexplored knowledge about the healthcare world to interested students and professionals.