Chiropractic Board of Australia
Chiropractic Board of Australia

Becoming a registered chiropractor

Download a PDF copy of Becoming a registered chiropractor fact sheet (258 KB,PDF).

All chiropractors need to be registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia (National Board) to practise in Australia. Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (National Law), you cannot call yourself a chiropractor (or hold yourself out to be a chiropractor) or undertake manipulation of the cervical spine if you are not registered.

If you are a student enrolled in a National Board-approved program of study you will be on the student register. If you are an overseas qualified chiropractor, more information about the process to register for the first time in Australia is available on the Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia Inc (CCEA) website.

The Chiropractic Board of Australia

The National Board is appointed under the National Law to carry out its functions and implement the objectives of the National Law for the chiropractic profession One of the primary objectives of the National Law is to project the public.

The National Board is responsible for:

  • setting the standards practitioners must meet to be registered
  • registering chiropractors
  • investigating and managing notifications (concerns or complaints) about the performance, conduct or health of chiropractors
  • developing standards, codes and guidelines, and
  • approving (or not approving) courses that have been accredited by the accreditation authority.

The National Board is a part of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) and is supported by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The National Scheme has patient safety at its heart.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

AHPRA administers the National Scheme and provides operational and administrative support to the National Board in their core role of protecting the public. Registrants should contact AHPRA for registration and renewal enquiries.

The Council of Chiropractic Education Australasia Inc (CCEA)

CCEA is the independent accreditation authority for the chiropractic profession appointed by the Ministerial Council. The Ministerial Council is comprised of all state and territory health Ministers and the Commonwealth Minister for Health.

One of the objectives of the National Law is to facilitate the provision of high quality education and training of health practitioners. The accreditation of courses is the primary way of achieving this, through a robust process. The National Law defines the respective roles of the Board and its appointed accreditation authority, the CCEA, in the accreditation of programs of study. Under the National Scheme, the course accreditation function is at arm’s length from the National Board.

The CCEA is responsible for:

  • developing and recommending accreditation standards for National Board approval
  • assessing programs of study and education providers to determine whether accreditation standards are being met, and
  • assessing overseas trained chiropractors.

When CCEA accredits a chiropractic program it provides a report to the Board for its consideration. Upon consideration of that report the Board may then approve that program. If the program is approved its graduates of the course have an approved qualification and are then eligible to apply for registration as a chiropractor.

The CCEA is a member of the Councils on Chiropractic Education International.

The Standards for First Professional Award Programs in Chiropractic are accreditation standards used to evaluate and review chiropractic programs and their educational effectiveness according to accreditation criteria and expected learning outcomes. These standards incorporate agreed international requirements as per the Councils of Chiropractic Education International.

The accreditation standards are underpinned by the need to ensure that graduates achieve competency as per the Competency Based Standards for Entry Level Chiropractors. These standards help to ensure that education providers and programs of study provide students with the knowledge, skills and professional attributes to competently practise chiropractic in Australia.

Under the National Law, a person who is not a registered chiropractor must not:

  • use the title chiropractor with or without any other words
  • take or use the title, name, initial, symbol, word or description that, having regard to the circumstances in which it is taken or used, indicates or could be reasonably understood to indicate, that the person is a chiropractor or is authorised or qualified to practise as a chiropractor
  • claim to be registered under the National Law or hold themselves out as being registered under the National Law
  • claim to be qualified to practise as a chiropractor, or
  • undertake manipulation of the cervical spine unless they are registered in an appropriate profession (currently chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy or medicine).

To become registered, applicants must meet the Board’s core registration standards. The standards are published on the National Board’s website under the Registration standards.

There are four types of registration:

  • General registration: for practitioners who have met the Board’s requirements for registration in Australia and can practise in Australia without supervision, and allows unrestricted practice as a chiropractor
  • Non-practising: for Chiropractors who are not practising in Australia
  • Student: mainly for students completing an approved qualification or clinical training (student registration occurs automatically), and
  • Limited registration: for Chiropractors who are not qualified for general registration but may be registered under specific circumstances, such as for overseas qualified Chiropractors to undertake teaching or research or to present at or attend a seminar.

Section 53 of the National Law outlines the requirements for qualifications for general registration. Generally, to be eligible to apply for general registration an applicant must have an approved qualification or have successfully completed the CCEA competency assessments.

Under the National Law, an approved qualification for a health profession means a qualification obtained by completing an approved program of study for the profession; and for endorsement of registration in a health profession, means a qualification obtained by completing an approved program of study relevant to the endorsement.

Under the National Law, an approved program for a health profession or for endorsement of registration in a health profession, means an accredited program of study that is approved under section 49(1) by the National Board established for the health profession; and included in the list published by the National Agency under section 49(5).

The best way to find out whether a program of study is approved, and provides a qualification for general registration, is to refer to the Approved Programs of Study list on the National Board’s website under Accreditation.

If your program is not listed on the National Board website there is a risk that you may not graduate with an approved qualification, meaning you will not be eligible for general registration under section 53(a) and will therefore not be able to practise.

You must be registered with the National Board to work as a chiropractor.

Claiming to be a registered chiropractor, or holding yourself out as being registered, is an offense under the National Law. The maximum penalty which a court may impose is $30,000 (in the case of an individual) or $60,000 (in the case of a body corporate).

Visit the Chiropractic Board of Australia website for information about the requirements for becoming a registered chiropractor.

Visit the AHPRA website for additional information, or lodge an online enquiry form.

The current list of accredited programs can be found on the Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia Inc (CCEA) website. Please also refer to CCEA’s website for more information about its accreditation functions and the assessment of overseas trained chiropractors.

For registration enquiries call 1300 419 495 (within Australia), +61 3 8708 9001 (overseas callers).

For media enquiries call (03) 8708 9200.

Page reviewed 10/02/2016