Frequently asked questions: practitioners

 

 

Why should I join ARONAH?

ARONAH is a national register for the professions of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine and, as with registers for many other professions, the purpose of ARONAH is to be an independent regulatory body which ensures public safety.  This is achieved by setting educational standards for naturopath and Western herbalist training, and clearly describing minimum professional competencies, a code of conduct and a set of ethics to govern the professions.

Joining ARONAH is less about the direct benefits to members and more about establishing credibility for your profession(s).  This credibility will encourage confidence in the professions from both consumers and other health professional groups.  When we consider that osteopaths, chiropractors, psychologists, lawyers and even architects all have a registering body, why should naturopaths and Western herbalists be any different?

 

When can I register as a practitioner?

ARONAH is now open for registration. Practitioners are able to join as soon as they have completed their training and have acquired all necessary documentation as outlined into the General Registration Requirements including evidence of association membership, professional indemnity insurance, and other relevant documentation as outlined in the  (application form) (PDF).

 

I am a naturopath and don’t have a Bachelor degree. Can I still join the register?

Bachelor level education in naturopathy and Western herbal medicine is still quite a recent development in Australia and currently only 43% of Australian naturopaths have this level of qualification.  A set of grandparenting standards have been established by ARONAH which recognises the varied levels of qualification within naturopathic and Western herbalist professional groups.  These standards allow registration for practitioners with: a bachelor’s degree qualification in naturopathy or Western herbal medicine; an advanced diploma in naturopathy or Western herbal medicine (with some specific course requirements); or another qualification in naturopathy or Western herbal medicine providing they can show evidence that they have been in regular practice in the last ten years. The requirements for joining the register through any of these three pathways is clearly explained in the Grandparenting and General Registration Eligibility Registration Standard Requirements.

These grandparenting standards will be in place until December 31st 2018 at which only bachelor degree qualified naturopath or Western herbal medicine practitioners will be eligible to join the register.

 

I practice both naturopathy and Western herbal medicine. Can I register for both?

ARONAH welcomes practitioners to join the register as both a naturopath and Western herbal medicine practitioner if appropriate. However, eligibility to register in both of these divisions within ARONAH requires you to have a qualification which explicitly names the profession i.e. Bachelor of Naturopathy for the register of naturopaths OR Master of Herbal Medicine for the register of herbalists. If you wish to apply for registration for both divisions you will need to provide clear and sufficient evidence for each.

 

I hold a degree in another health field. Can I still apply for registration?

Any naturopath or Western herbalist may apply to join the register, irrespective of any other qualifications they may have but they must have a qualification which specifically names naturopathy or Western herbal medicine in the title.  If this qualification is less than a bachelor’s degree (i.e. advanced diploma or diploma) they may be required to provide additional information as per the grandparenting guidelines.  Higher levels of education in other fields (related or unrelated) cannot be used as a substitute for profession-specific qualifications and as such will not replace the need to provide the extra evidence of qualification or practice competency as outlined in the grandparenting guidelines.

 

What will this mean for my professional association?

Professional associations will always have a valid and essential role to play in the promotion and continued development of the naturopathic and Western herbal medicine professions.  This register is designed only to ensure minimum standards of education and practice in practitioners and will not advocate on behalf of the professions it registers.  Many professional associations look forward to relinquishing the role of accreditation of practitioners as it will free up more resources to promote their modality and members, and provide more extensive membership services.

 

How is ARONAH different to my association?

The defining difference between ARONAH and a professional association is that ARONAH is in place to protect the public whilst a professional association is primarily established to advocate for the profession. In naturopathy and Western herbal medicine in Australia, the professional associations have attempted to fulfill both of these functions in the absence of a national register.  By ARONAH taking over the public safety and protection component of association activities, professional associations are more able to focus their resources on supporting, promoting and advocating for the professions and their membership.  In addition, whilst professional associations do define minimum standards, the number of associations available to members resulted in an inconsistency in standards required of practitioners.  ARONAH provides a nationally-consistent standard for all naturopathic and Western herbal medicine practitioners irrelevant of the professional association they choose to affiliate with.  These differences have been explained in detail in a recently published journal article.

 

Is this the same as statutory regulation?

No, this is not the same as statutory regulation.  As the register is independent and is not underpinned by government legislation it cannot enforce requirements such as protection of title or barring people who have committed serious breaches from practice.  However, practitioners who act unethically can be removed from the register.  The steering committee and board of the register will be advocating for statutory registration and the register is designed to be subsumed by the government’s national registration process for health practitioners.  The development of the register is designed to mirror statutory regulation processes.