Question Categories:

  1. Continuing professional development (CPD)
  2. Employing an overseas practitioner
  3. Leaving New Zealand?
  4. Osteopath's title

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Continuing professional development (CPD)

Q. What are the CPD requirements?
A. Practitioners must complete at least 25 hours of CPD activities during the year 1 April - 31 March in order to renew their APC from the following 1 April.

Q. Do lecturers and those teaching CPD courses get CPD hours for their teaching activities?
A. Yes, to a maximum of 10 hours in any one year, for teaching:

  1. on the Unitec Master's of Osteopathy programme;
  2. approved CPD courses or
  3. osteopathic post-graduate courses

irrespective of:

  • whether the teaching is carried out in New Zealand or overseas, and
  • the number of different courses taught at different institutions.

Any possibly relevant teaching that falls outside of these three categories will be considered on a case by case basis. Proof of attendance hours must be provided to gain the credits.

Q. If I'm doing paper(s) at a university or other tertiary institution, does this count towards my CPD?
A. If you are doing tertiary studies you can to apply to the Osteopathic Council to have CPD hours awarded, provided that the studies are relevant to the Osteopathic Scope of Practice. All units in the following programmes are pre-approved as CPD: 

  • Postgraduate Health Sciences Courses at the University of Otago
  • Postgraduate Courses from the AUT Dept of Health & Environmental Sciences.

Q. If I attend the AGM of an osteopathic or medical association, how many CPD credits will this give me?
A. 2 hours.

Q. I recently graduated in New Zealand - do I have to do CPD?
A. Yes - in order to be issued with practising certificates all osteopaths must be able to demonstrate that they have maintained their competency by participating in CPD. It is important that recent graduates continue to expand their skill base.

The number of CPD hours required during the year in which you are registered by the Osteopathic Council, depends on the month in which you were registered and obtained an Annual Practising Certificate. If you were granted a practising certificate some time after registering, check with the Registrar:
If registered between 30 September and 31 January, a minimum of 12.5 hours are required for that calendar year in order to qualify for an APC for the following APC year.

If registered during Febuary or March,you are not required to complete that year's CPD in order to qualify for an APC for the following APC year commencing 1 April.
Otherwise full CPD is required for the current year if you were registered in the period 1 April to 31 August.

Q. I'm working part-time. Do I have to meet the same CPD requirements as full-time practitioners?
A. Yes. All practitioners must complete the same number of CPD hours before they can be issued with a renewed practising certificate. The rationale for CPD is that it helps practitioners to achieve a suitable level of competence. Practitioners must maintain the same level of competence regardless of whether they work full-time or part-time.

Q. Is there provision for practitioners to have the CPD requirements waived or deferred in special circumstances?
A. Although there is no guarantee you will be given special treatment, the Council will consider applications for exemption from the requirement to complete CPD.

Exemptions will be considered for physical or financial hardship or other unusual circumstances. A letter detailing your reasons for seeking an exemption should be sent to the Council at the earliest opportunity. Each case will be asessed on its own merits.

Q. I'm going overseas for an extended period. Will I be able to get an annual practising certificate when I get back?
A. Before issuing you with a new practising certificate the Council has to be satisfied that you are still competent to practice. You should therefore contact the Council well before the time you want to start working again in New Zealand, and provide details of CPD that you have done while you have been away.

Q. What if I'm away from New Zealand for a few months - will I still have to attain the full number of CPD hours?
A. If you are away for less than six months you will have to attain the full number of hours.

If you are away for more than six months in a practising year you can ask the Council to consider adjusting your CPD requirements. Each application will be assessed on its merits, with the Council taking into consideration factors such as whether you have completed courses or other forms of training while overseas.

Q. I'm migrating to New Zealand. What will my CPD requirements be?
A. This will depend on a number of factors such as the time of year you start working here, and whether you have recently completed CPD in your country of origin. You should contact the Registrar for further information. However, the following is a guide:

Commencing practice in New Zealand between 1 April and 30 September:
You will be required to do the full CPD hours for that year in order to qualify for an APC for the following APC year commencing 1 April.

Commencing practice in New Zealand between 31 October and 31 January:
A minimum of 12.5 CPD hours will be required for that year in order to qualify for an APC for the following APC year commencing 1 April.

Commencing practice in New Zealand during February or March:
You are not required to complete CPD for that year.

Q. I have been absent from practice in New Zealand for an extended period and do not hold a current APC. I now wish to re-enter practice. What will my CPD requirements be?
A. This will depend on a number of factors such as how long you have been out of practice, the time of year you start working here, and whether you have recently completed any CPD. You should contact the Registrar for further information.

Once you re-enter practice, you will need to keep up CPD activities for the balance of the year in order to qualify for an APC for the following APC year commencing 1 April.

If you have been absent from practice in New Zealand for three years or more, you may be required to complete the competent authority pathway.

Employing an overseas practitioner

Q. I want to employ a practitioner from overseas. Will s/he have to pass an assessment?
A. All overseas applicants (except those registered in Australian states and territories) must have their qualifications assessed by OCNZ. Details of the assessment can be found on this website.

Q. Can overseas applicants get temporary registration whilst their qualifications are being assessed?
A. No - there is no provision for temporary registration.

Q. I've been told it's not possible for practitioners to get a work visa for New Zealand prior to leaving their home country. Is this correct?
A. New Zealand Immigration Service has advised us that work visas/permits will not be issued until it has proof of registration. There is, however, a special category of visitor policy for people coming to New Zealand to obtain occupational registration (see NZIS policy manual reference V3.45). Once registration is obtained the practitioner can apply for a temporary work permit or permanent residence without having to leave New Zealand.

(Note: because NZIS policy changes, it pays to ask NZIS for an update before making any plans, including the policy on which qualifications are acceptable and whether a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) assessment of the qualification is required!)

Q. Does the Council keep a list of practitioners who are looking for work?

A. No. This is not one of the Council's statutory functions.

Leaving New Zealand?

Q. If I leave New Zealand, can I stay on the register?

A. Yes, you will remain on the register until you request to be removed unless removed following HPDT penalty.

Q. If the Council proposes to take me off the register, can I object?

A. Yes - provided your removal is not as a result of disciplinary or competence issues.

Q. What if I want to come back to New Zealand to work?

A. You should apply for a new practising certificate at least a month before you want to start work. Before issuing you with a new practising certificate the Council has to be sure you're competent to practise so will want to know whether or not you have been working overseas and have participated in continuing professional development training. If you have participated in continuing professional development training, you will need to provide evidence of having participated in each course for which you are claiming credit.


Osteopath's title

Q. Now that I'm registered with the Osteopathic Council, what description do I put on my business card, etc.
A. The Council recommends that you use the description ‘osteopath' or ‘registered osteopath'.

In terms of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, no-one can describe himself/herself as an osteopath unless s/he is registered. So the use of the word ‘registered' is in a sense superfluous; however, its use may give a stronger message to members of the public.

Note: It is incorrect to describe yourself as a "member of the Osteopathic Council". Only those who have been appointed to the Council by the Minister of Health in a governance role might be described as members of the Osteopathic Council.


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