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Return To Practice Programme


To practice as a physiotherapist in Aotearoa | New Zealand you need to be registered with the Board and hold a current Annual Practicing Certificate (APC). We know that physiotherapists will take some time away from the workforce for a range of reasons, so the Return to Practice process is one mechanism the Board uses to be assured physiotherapists who have been away from the physiotherapy workforce for a significant period of time are eligible to hold an APC and competent to practice.

Note: If you have previously cancelled your registration with the Board you first need to need to restore your name on the Register before submitting a Return to Practice form. For more information about restoration of registration please click here

Who can apply?

  • Physiotherapists who hold registration in the General Scope with the Board who have not legally practised in the last 3 years.

If you are unsure if this applies to you, please email us at [email protected] using ‘Query on Return to Practice’ in the subject heading.

What does it cost?

Please refer to our Fees Schedule here. Please note that the application fee is non-refundable.

How long does it take?

Once all required documents have been received, Return to Practise applications are currently taking on average 4 weeks to process. Please note these timeframes are subject to change.

To avoid delays in processing your application ensure you include all the required information. Your application may be declined or returned for further work if it is not complete.

What is the process for this application?

Phase 1: Preparing and submitting your documents

This application process is entirely online, there is a link at the end of this page to use to start an application. Please note that you do not have to pay until you submit your application at the end of the form. 

Before you apply you will need have a physiotherapy position secured, have arranged your supervisors, and prepared your Professional Development Plan. The following items are required with your application:

  • *Reflection Template
  • *Curriculum Vitae Template
  • *Professional Development Plan Template
  • *Proposed role and supervisor information form
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Logbook (if applicable)
    • Note: Physiotherapists who hold non-practicing status are not required to undertake CPD activities during their time away from practice. However, if you have undertaken CPD during this time which may be relevant to the area of physiotherapy to which you are returning (clinical or non-clinical) please submit this.  This information can be provided in any format you wish e.g., Excel spreadsheet, Physiolog. If you haven’t undertaken an CPD you are still eligible to apply to return to practice

* Document must provided on the Board template – click the document name to download the template

Selecting your supervisors

You will need to provide information for a nominated and alternate supervisor to be approved by the Registrar. These supervisors should be:

  • a professional peer, and
  • a physiotherapist practising in the same area of practice, and
  • must hold a current APC and be in good standing with the Board, and
  • have a least five years of physiotherapy experience in Aotearoa | New Zealand

It is recommended that your supervisor and alternative supervisor be working in the same physical location as you plan to work at. This is due to requirements of your conditions, such as, in person peer reviews which may be required as part of your supervision programme.

Phase 2: Initial Review

After you submit your application, we will review it for completeness. If documents or evidence are missing or we have concerns about your eligibility, we will email you for further information before your application is sent on for processing.

Once sent on for processing, the Registrar reviews your application in accordance with the Board’s Return to Practice Policy. Possible outcomes are:

  1. The Registrar drafts a proposed Supervision Plan that is presented to you and your nominated supervisors for approval.
    1. If this is accepted, you are issued an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) with conditions.
    2. If you feel that amendments are required, you can discuss this with the Registrar to see if your Supervision Plan can be adjusted. If the updates are agreed upon by the Registrar, and you and your supervisors sign off on the updated document, you are issued an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) with conditions. 
  2. Your application is declined.
    1. This will ordinarily only be the case if the assessment concludes that the level of retraining required would be equivalent to or exceed repeating an Aotearoa | New Zealand undergraduate physiotherapy degree. Retraining will, in most cases, require the completion of a further pre-registration physiotherapy qualification.

You can use the chart below to get a better idea on what the potential outcome of your Return to Practise application could be.

Find the number of years you have been practising as a Physiotherapist on the left, and the number of years since you last practised on the top. The intersection of these two lines will give you a idea on how other applications with similar characteristics have gone. Please note, this is not a guarantee on the outcome of an application, but merely an indication on how it might progress to help you plan for the future.

If you are successful and issued an APC with conditions, your Supervision Plan will set out the necessary requirements for you and your supervisor. The programme is likely to include regular supervision meetings to discuss progress towards meeting the thresholds/competencies, regular peer reviews, discussions  around your CPD and how the Physiotherapy Standards Framework relates to your practice. There are examples in the resource section below of a 6 month and 12 month plan.

Application Resources

Physiotherapy Standards Framework/Thresholds

Physiotherapists Practicing in a Defined Field standard

Physiotherapy Board Webinars

Recertification Programme and Audit

Example of Six Month RTP Supervision Programme

Example of Twelve Month RTP Supervision Programme


Return to Practice Supervision Programme Resources

Board Ordered Supervision Standard (Effective from 1st April 2024)

Supervision reporting FAQs and checklist

Clinical Reasoning and Case Study Discussion form

Thresholds and Competencies Template (if RTP programme began prior to 1st January 2024)

Thresholds and Competencies Template (if RTP programme is started after 1st January 2024)



Click here to Apply


If you have any questions, please see our comprehensive help page or contact us via [email protected] or by calling us on +64 4 471 2610 during business hours (9am-5pm NZDT). We can provide advice on the preparation of your application; however, we are not able to advise you on whether or not it will succeed.