Recency of Practice – what does it mean?

Are you a qualified and trained occupational therapist but concerned about how recent your practice is?

Perhaps you are planning to return to work after a period of extended leave and want to know the requirements you must meet. Occupational therapists, along with other regulated health professionals, have to consider their regulatory responsibilities, which include declaring recent practice.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law) requires the Board to develop registration standards about certain matters including requirements in relation to the nature, extent, period and recency of any previous practice. Meeting your recency of practice obligations means you are able to practise competently and safely, while protecting patients and making sure they receive high quality care.

To meet the Board’s Recency of practice registration standard, you must practise for a minimum total of six months’ full-time equivalent (approximately 720 hours) within the previous five years. These hours can be accumulated through part-time work. The standard also requires that if you are returning to work after an absence of five or more years, you must complete 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) in the 12-month period before applying for re-registration.

Why is there a Recency of practice registration standard?

Maintaining recent practice is one way in which the Board can assure the public that an occupational therapist is safe and competent to practise.

When making decisions about an occupational therapist’s practice history, the Board is guided by the following principles:

  • There is a greater potential risk to the public the longer you have been away from practice.
  • Protection of the public is the Board’s primary consideration.
  • The Board uses the minimum regulatory force necessary in order to manage any identified risk to the public.
  • Risks are managed proportionately in order to protect the public.

What documents do I need to submit when re-registering?

If you are unsure whether you meet the Board’s standard, it is helpful to provide as much additional evidence as possible in your application for re-registration. This will help AHPRA to do an informed assessment of your recency of practice. Examples of evidence that can be submitted with your application include:

  • a certified true and correct copy of your CV
  • statements of services from current/previous employers
  • position descriptions for current/previous employment
  • evidence of post-graduate study, and
  • your CPD portfolio.

Still have a question? Helpful resources

You can read the standard, guidelines and FAQ that relate to the Board’s Recency of practice registration standard webpage.