<< Return to InPsych August 2007

By Daiva Verbyla MAPS, Manager, Professional Development, National Office

In the last edition of InPsych an article was published outlining the new requirement of completion of Professional Development (PD) activities for continuing APS membership. From 1 July 2007, all APS members (College members, full Members, and Associate Members) are required to accrue 60 PD points over a two-year cycle.

The announcement about the PD requirement has generated a number of queries from members, some of which are addressed in this article. Further information about PD requirements and a set of Frequently Asked Questions are available on the APS website by following the ‘Professional Development' link under the ‘PD and Events' heading.

Activities that can be considered as Professional Development

Generally, appropriate PD activities are those that result in the improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill and the personal and professional qualities needed for the provision of professional services throughout a psychologist's working life.

PD requirements can be met in a wide variety of ways. Set out below are examples of mainstream PD activities, but other activities may also be appropriate, particularly for members working outside traditional practice areas. Appropriate PD activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Participating, by attending in person or by electronic means, in seminars or workshops organised by the APS or an external provider
  • Reading articles, journals, chapters or books, relevant to psychology
  • Undertaking postgraduate courses in psychology
  • Presenting, in person or by electronic means, seminars, courses or lectures at universities or conferences
  • Undertaking self-study courses in psychology, including self-study video or audio packages
  • Writing papers for conferences or journals. Time spent on researching material and writing technical papers can be recorded as PD hours, whether the final product is in the form of a textbook, article for a professional publication or the presentation of a paper at a seminar.

All PD activities require documented evidence in order to fulfil requirements. A ‘Record of Professional Relevance' document (available from the PD section of the APS website) should be completed to support the PD documentation. This document does not need to be submitted to the APS unless the member is subject to a random PD audit.

PD activities that have not been endorsed by the APS

Members are not limited to participation in APS PD programs in order to meet requirements. Many members attend overseas conferences and workshops, or attend domestic activities organised by external providers. Professional Development needs differ between members and across different careers in psychology, so individual judgement must be exercised in determining what activities can be recorded as PD in accordance with the APS Guidelines for Professional Development.

A number of online PD programs that may be appropriate for psychologists are offered by other organisations, as listed below:

PD point allocation

Currently the majority of PD activities are calculated on the simple formula of one hour of PD equals one PD point, with a maximum of seven points per day.

Recording PD activities

Currently, APS College members can record PD online via the APS website or on a hard copy log sheet to be sent to the National Office. Full Members and Associate Members will be able to record their PD online in the near future. When members meet their PD requirement they will be issued with a certificate, unless selected to participate in an audit. Any PD activities undertaken in June 2007 can be included in the two-year cycle beginning 1 July 2007 (or in the previous cycle for College members).

PD audit requirements

At the end of every PD cycle a random audit of members' PD will occur. Members selected for the audit will be required to submit supporting documentation of PD activities undertaken to the APS National Office, including the ‘Record of Professional Relevance'.

PD for members in rural and remote locations

The APS has a commitment to ensuring that members working in rural and remote locations have choices in their accrual of PD programs. The APS PD Unit is currently investigating different modes of delivery of PD that will allow these members ease of access and considerable choice.

APS PD Unit

The APS PD Unit is continuing to run PD events that members have asked for or that have been developed to support major government initiatives. The PD Unit is committed to this task and has held a series of workshops in capital cities across Australia, soon to be followed by workshops in rural and regional locations around Australia. Please refer to the PD Events Calendar on the APS website. The PD Administration at the National Office is available to assist members with any queries regarding PD requirements, or to record PD online or complete PD log sheets.