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International AHP registrants into the NHS

HCPC registration for Allied Health Professionals who have trained outside of the UK.

Things to know before you start:

  • The assessment process usually takes about 60 working days. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it may take longer
  • The cost to assess your application is £495 and if successful, the registration fee is £180
  • Read the standards of proficiency for your profession - you will need to show how you meet these, in your application

If you have any questions, contact: international@hcpc-uk.org. Include your application reference number if you have one. 

Stage 1 - Preparation

1. Download the Application for registration - International from the HCPC website

2. Read the guidance for international applicants

3. Remember, your application is based on the information you include, so be as thorough as possible

4. You must not use a protected title e.g. Physiotherapist, until your application is successful

Stage 2 - Application

1. Complete your application form, making sure you give evidence of your training, experience and how you meet the standards of proficiency 

2. Submit your application form

3. If your application is accepted for processing you will be given an application reference number and a link to pay the fee of £495

Stage 3 - Processing

(Approximately 20 working days from application)

1. For initial processing of your application, the HCPC will contact:

a. your education provider

b. any relevant regulatory or professional bodies

c. any professional referees

2. The duration of this depends on how quickly these organisations take to respond. You may be able to contact them to make sure they reply

Stage 4 - Assessment

(Approximately 60 working days from application)

1. Two assessors will review your application, this will include:

a. assessment of your regulated education and training with our standards of proficiency

b. assessment of any other relevant education, training or experience

2. A recommendation to the Education and Training Committee (ETC). They will review and send their decision to you

Case studies

Hear from some successful international AHP registrants into the NHS.

 

Diploma in Occupational Therapy, Torun Medical College, Poland 2006

Having passed my diploma in Occupational Therapy (OT) I looked for a job, but OT isn’t widely used in Poland and I was not able to find anything. Research showed that my best chance to practice as an OT was to move to the UK. Initially I started working as a Care Assistant and Support Worker while I considered how to get a job as an OT. 

I started the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) application process and began gathering the evidence of my work placements etc., but then realised that as a European Citizen I had the option to take an aptitude test to get my HCPC registration. I took the test in April 2019, passed and received my registration in May 2019. A month later I got an OT job in the Spinal Unit at Salisbury District Hospital and have since started working in community settings as an OT with Wiltshire Council Reablement Team.

If you want to get registered to work in the UK, never give up and never lose hope of doing what you worked hard for. Find a job which gives you opportunities to work on your skills, so you don’t lose them, this will definitely motivate you to carry on and it will all be worth it in the end. Good Luck!

Graduate in Physical Therapy, Philippines

I qualified in 1998 following the intense five-year training. I enjoyed working as a physical therapist in the Philippines but it did sometimes require creativity to work around shortages of specialist equipment. I hadn’t planned to the work outside the Philippines, but accompanied some colleagues to a recruitment event for nurses to work in the UK. There I was encouraged to apply and was successful! 

My first role over here was as a care assistant and then as a Band 3 Therapy Assistant. It was great to be able to work in the therapy field and with some very supportive colleagues, while I waited for my Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) application to be processed. For me, it took about a year and a half as I waited for evidence documents to be sent from my University.

I am now a Band 6 senior Physiotherapist in Orthopaedic & Trauma. If you are thinking of working as an HCPC registered Allied Health Professional in the UK, be patient and don’t get discouraged. Gather as many of the required documents as you can and have them translated.  Then try to continue learning, accept the support of colleagues and keep your feet on the ground, whilst you wait.

Graduate in Physiotherapy, University of Reaszow, Poland  2003

My training was a full-time, three-year degree in Physiotherapy and after graduating I started to work in an outpatient clinic whilst completing a Master’s degree.  Unfortunately, funding cuts meant I was made redundant, so I decided to look to work as a physiotherapist in the UK.

I started working as a health care assistant in a nursing home. Meanwhile, I gathered information about the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration process which was necessary for me to work as a physiotherapist. I then worked as a band 2 in local NHS Trust and as a senior therapy assistant in therapy services for four years. 

My HCPC registration assessment required me to complete a five-week cardiorespiratory placement to gain experience in that area, and also to complete a research module. I am now a Band 6, senior Physiotherapist in the acute therapy team and I am also a lecturer for the BSc Physiotherapy program at University of Wolverhampton. Soon I will move to working full time as a lecturer at the University.

It took perseverance and being proactive to succeed and remember that NHS Trusts might not understand the process you are going through to complete your HCPC registration; but it was definitely worth it.

Graduate in Prosthetic/ Orthotics, University of Genoa, 2008

In Italy, a degree in prosthetics and orthotics is a three-year course followed by another year with completion of a thesis and exams. It is taken in the Faculty of Medicine and not Engineering as in UK. Once qualified, you are not employed directly within the National Health Care System like in the UK, you work for a private company which collaborates with hospitals, GPs, consultants and other professionals in the medical field. 

I wanted to work in another country and learn English better; I was also looking for a more stable job than was possible in Italy. I loved Scotland and I decided to move to here. To practice in the UK, I needed Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration which involved translating and providing a lot of documents and answering questions about my knowledge and skills. The process took more than two years for me, but I while I was waiting for my registration I worked as a technician and orthotic clinical assistant.

On the 6th of March 2017, I received the registration and I could finally work as an Orthotist/Prosthetist in the UK. The most important thing for me is that I did not give up.

Degree in Physiotherapy, University of Valparaiso, 2009

Following my degree, I had a varied ten-year career as a Physiotherapist in Chile and went on to complete a Master’s degree in Health and Sports Science and a Diploma in Lecturing allowing me to train other Physiotherapists. 

But I love to travel and, having married an English man, we decided to move to the UK.

I needed to get a work permit and a national insurance number to start with and then apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for UK registration to enable me to apply for jobs as a qualified Physiotherapist. I am currently working as a Band 3 Therapy Support Worker with physios and OTs in an inpatient setting and it is helping me understand the healthcare system and how physios work in the UK. 

I have to undertake a written English test; there are four parts to it and so far, I have completed and passed three. If you want to become registered to practice in the UK, try to get your paperwork and translations for the HCPC sorted prior to arriving here and if you can, make contact with Allied Health Professionals in your local hospital as they might have role to offer you or be able to support you!

Orla, Clinical Lead for Inpatient Therapies & BreathingSpace Therapies (interim), The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

We have always tried to support return to practice (RtP) and with Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) who have trained in the UK we have developed a process using honorary contracts to support them. However, there is no blueprint or established process for helping internationally trained AHPs to practice in the UK.

Pamela contacted us explaining that she wanted to gain her registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to work as a Chartered Physiotherapist in the UK. We decided to use the principles of RtP for UK trained AHPs, as a basis for employing Pamela. We had a vacant Therapy Support Worker post within one of our inpatient therapy teams and Pamela applied for this post and was successful. The role is giving Pamela a greater understanding of the healthcare system in the UK, and how acute inpatient therapy teams work from a day-to-day basis. She works closely with OTs and physios working across Medicine, General Surgery, and Frailty Services as well as within admissions areas in addition to working closely with respiratory physios within critical care environments.

Pamela has very quickly adapted to working within the NHS, she has been an asset to our team and will hopefully gain her HCPC registration soon.