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Advanced diplomas issued beyond 2019 (August 2023)

The Australian Naturopathic Council (ANC) along with the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) would like to address the recent concerns around Advanced Diplomas and access to practitioner products being discussed on social media.

In July 2014 the Community Services and Health Industries Skills Council (CSHISC) announced the removal of Advanced Diplomas for naturopathy and Western herbal medicine from the health training package. Following a 3 year teach out period, these were formally ceased on December 31st, 2018.

This removal of the Advanced Diploma training brought the education of naturopaths and Western herbalists into alignment with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) which has listed them as Skill Level 1 professions requiring a Bachelor level qualification or higher, since 1997.

The 2014 CSHISC announcement was met with widespread support from most naturopathic associations, education providers, and ARONAH.

To qualify as a naturopath or Western herbalist in Australia, all graduates since 2019 are required to have a Bachelor’s degree. This ensures they have their choice of association to join, and poses no barriers to insurance, TGA exemption certificates, and practitioner-only product access. All new graduate members of ANTA, CMA, and NHAA, since 2019, possess a Bachelor’s degree.

It is important to note that this decision, almost 10 years ago, does not devalue the important role that Advanced Diplomas have played in the education of naturopaths and Western herbalists in the past. The Advanced Diploma was the only qualification available for many years, and there are countless very experienced practitioners who gained this qualification prior to 2018 when the teach out finished. Those who hold these earlier qualifications and are members of a recognised naturopathic and/or Western herbalist association, will not be affected by this notification from product suppliers.

Several practitioner-only product (POP) companies are aligned with this agreed minimum education requirement and are updating their trading terms.  In order to uphold educational rigor, some product companies have decided to restrict product access to Advanced Diploma qualifications issued since 2019, by educational institutions who are not registered training organisations (RTOs). ANTA, CMA, NHAA, and ARONAH thank these POP companies for holding strong standards in this respect. ANTA, CMA, NHAA, and ARONAH do not support or endorse educational institutions currently offering Advanced Diplomas in naturopathy or Western herbal medicine. As practitioner education is, and always has been, a strong focus for ANTA, CMA, NHAA, and ARONAH, we will be continuing to work to ensure education standards are upheld. We have noted concern from members regarding other allied health professionals who may be accessing similar POPs from suppliers. This may include members of professions already registered with AHPRA, and the choice to supply POPs to these other health professionals is at the supplier’s discretion.

For practitioners who are current members of ANTA, CMA, NHAA, and ARONAH, your membership is important. The recognised Advanced Diploma qualifications are a significant part of the landscape of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine, and your membership upholds the importance of this history going forward, as well as making sure eligibility for future POP product supply, and future registration is continued.