Kia ora! We are so pleased that you’re interested in applying for registration as a Physiotherapist here in beautiful Aotearoa | New Zealand.
Please note that the Board has an annual shut-down period for the holiday break over Christmas and New Years, exact dates and times are posted on our website each year. We are unable to process applications for registration during this time.
The Public Register of Physiotherapists:
If you are registered and issued with an APC, some of your details will be added to the New Zealand Register of Physiotherapists. The register is available for the public to view on the Board’s website https://www.physioboard.org.nz/search- register and lists all physiotherapists who are registered in New Zealand that hold a current APC.
Health Practitioner Index (HPI) Number
After registration, you will be issued a Health Practitioner Index (HPI) number by the Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health. HPI numbers uniquely identify every health professional currently practising in New Zealand.
The Legal Bits
To legally practise as a physiotherapist in New Zealand, you are required to hold registration with the Physiotherapy Board and hold an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) for the practising year you intend to work in.
This is the case for any role, voluntary or paid, where your physiotherapy skills or knowledge are used. Please note that applying for registration does not guarantee registration, be cautious when applying for or accepting job offers in New Zealand until your registration status with the Board is confirmed.
Scopes of Practise
Physiotherapists can obtain registration under the following scopes of practice:
- General Scope of Practice: Physiotherapist
- Advanced Practice Physiotherapist Scope of Practice: Physiotherapist
- Specialist Scope of Practice: Physiotherapist
For information about the difference between these scopes, please see the Gazette notices here.
Eligibility Requirements for ALL applicants:
English Language Proficiency Requirements
The Board may, at any time in its absolute discretion, require an applicant to provide further evidence of their English language ability. English language requirements may differ between registration pathways, please refer to specific pathway pages for more information.
International General and Express applicants must provide one of the following as evidence that they are able to comprehend and communicate effectively in English in a physiotherapy setting:
Option A – Confirmation that English is your first language.
There are many types of suitable evidence for this option, you are welcome to submit whatever you feel supports your claim here. As an example, we have previously accepted passports as proof of citizenship in countries where English is the main language of communication as evidence.
We will follow up with you if what you have provided does not suit for any reason.
Warning: You may only rely on this criterion if English is the first language that you spoke. Applications which falsely claim English as a first language will be identified by the Board and as a result are highly likely to be declined.
Option B – Evidence of a physiotherapy qualification from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada or South Africa.
Option C – A certified copy or shared access to test results that are less than 2 years old on the date you apply from the following accepted exams that meet the listed score thresholds:
- IELTS Academic:
- minimum score of 7 for reading, listening, and speaking; and
- a minimum score of 6.5 for writing.
- Note: IELTS scores may be obtained across two sittings (including One Subject Resit) in six months, provided that neither test result includes any score lower than 6.5 in any area.
- Occupational English Test
- minimum score of 350 for reading, listening, and speaking; and
- minimum score of 300 for writing.
- Note: OET scores may be obtained across two sittings in six months, provided that all areas are examined in both sittings and neither test result includes a score lower than 300 in any area.
- PTE Academic:
- minimum overall score of 65 and a minimum score of 65 in each of the four communicative skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking).
- Note: PTE scores may be obtained across two sittings in six months provided that:
- minimum overall score of 65 is achieved in each sitting, and
- the applicant achieves a minimum score of 65 in each of the communicative skills across the two sittings, and
- no score in any of the communicative skills is below 58.
- TOEFL iBT:
- A minimum total score of 94, and the following minimum score in each section of the test:
- 24 for listening
- 24 for reading
- 27 for writing, and
- 23 for speaking.
- Note: TOEFL iBT scores may be obtained across two sittings in a six-month period if:
- a minimum total score of 94 is achieved in each sitting; and
- the applicant achieves a minimum score of 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing and 23 for speaking across the two sittings; and
- no score in any of the sections is below:
- 20 for listening
- 19 for reading
- 24 for writing, and
- 20 for speaking
- A minimum total score of 94, and the following minimum score in each section of the test:
Option D – Other evidence acceptable to the Registrar that the applicant comes from an English-speaking background or can demonstrate that they can use English at the level required for practice in New Zealand. Please see our help site here for additional information.
- Note: if you already meet criteria for one of the other options, please do not apply for Option D – for example, if you have exam results that meet our thresholds as listed above, that is all you need to supply as evidence of your English proficiency.
Please also note that if we suspect that your communication with us or application content appears to be generated by Chat GPT or a similar AI system may give the Board reason to believe that you are not able to communicate in English at the required standard. Any application containing AI-generated material will be immediately referred to the Registrar and is highly likely to be declined.
Fitness to Practise Requirements
Below is a series of questions you will be required to answer in your application to help us determine if you are fit to practise as a physiotherapist.
- Adverse Findings | Have you been the subject of any adverse findings by an employer, organisation you have contracted to or volunteered with, professional body, disciplinary tribunal, the Health and Disability Commissioner or similar authority in New Zealand or elsewhere?
- Previous Complaint or Pending Investigation | Are you aware of any complaint made against you, or any investigation pending, or proceeding against you by an employer, organisation you have contracted to or volunteered with, professional body, disciplinary tribunal, the Health and Disability Commissioner or similar authority in New Zealand or elsewhere?
- Mental or Physical Condition or Impairment | Do you have or have you had any mental or physical condition or impairment that may currently affect your fitness to practise physiotherapy?
- Previous Convictions | Have you been convicted of any offense punishable by imprisonment for a term of 3 months or longer? For applicants convicted by a court in New Zealand, please note your rights under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 before providing details of any criminal record(s).
- ACC Investigations | Are you aware of any investigation pending or proceeding against you by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)?
- Investigations or Pending Charges | Are you aware of any investigation or charge pending or proceeding against you in New Zealand or elsewhere by the Police or other law enforcement agency?
- Risk of Harm to the Public | Are you aware of any circumstances that may result in your practice endangering the health and safety of the public?
Saying YES to any of these questions does not mean that you are immediately ineligible for registration, it does mean that we will request additional information from you to determine how, if at all, your ability to practise is impacted.
If in doubt, select YES. We may ask you for a document outlining the issue, the circumstances in which it arose, and your assessment of whether it affects your ability to practice physiotherapy. Information on documents we may request can be found here.
Primary Physiotherapy Qualification Requirements
You will need to provide evidence that your primary physiotherapy degree is a tertiary qualification, like a degree or diploma, that would enable you to obtain registration as a physiotherapist in the country in which the qualification was issued. The evidence required differs for each registration application, see specific application pages for more information on requirements.
Additional information on qualification requirements for international applicants can be found here.
Recency of Practise Requirements
Once you have obtained registration with the Board, you will then need to apply for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) to be legally allowed to practise as a Physiotherapist in Aotearoa | New Zealand.
As part of the APC application, you will need to give us an indication of when you last legally practised as a Physiotherapist.
If you are currently practising or have legally practised within the last 3 years, your application will proceed through the normal process.
If you are not currently practising and last practised more than 3 years ago, you will be required to undertake a Return to Practice (RTP) programme here in Aotearoa | New Zealand. If you are ineligible for the RTP programme you will need to retrain as a Physiotherapist before you are granted an APC.
For more information about Return to Practise programmes, please see our website here.
Pathways to Registration
Note that there are several different registration pathways for the General Scope available for consideration. Feel free to read through each one or use the button below to figure out which pathway you’re eligible for.