Australian Community Workers Association Australian Community Workers Association

Registered membership

If you have a relevant qualification (diploma or higher) you can apply for registered membership.

There are two membership categories for qualified practitioners: full and provisional. It is the assessing officer who will determine your category based on your qualification/s and any industry experience you have. However, you can use the information below to get an idea of which category you fit into.

Full registered member

A practitioner who has either:

  • an ACWA accredited qualification or
  • a relevant qualification plus 3 years of industry experience

If you graduated more than 10 years ago you will need show that you are current in your professional knowledge. You can do this by providing evidence of 20 hours of professional development for each of the last 2 years or recent industry experience.

Industry experience means paid community work. For full membership the 3 years should be full-time (or equivalent) and at least 12 months must be post-qualification and at a minimum of a diploma skill level.

Provisional registered member

A practitioner who has:

  • a relevant qualification or
  • a qualification older than 10 years without demonstrable professional currency

This is a transitional category. Provisional members can request an upgrade once they believe they meet the requirements for full membership (industry experience or currency).

Glossary of terms

ACWA accredited qualification

You are deemed to have graduated from an ACWA accredited course if the course and campus was ACWA accredited during the duration of your study. You can check our accredited course finder or previously accredited course lists. Where shortcomings are identified in fieldwork placements ACWA may ask an applicant to reapply after completing 3 months full time or part-time equivalent industry experience.

Relevant qualification

A relevant qualification is one which adequately prepares graduates to perform community work in Australia. It should specialise in community or human services, or a specific service field. Fields of practice include youth work, mental health, applied social science, community development, alcohol and other drugs, disability and counselling.

Please note:

  • Qualifications specialising in nursing, education and child care are not typically deemed relevant as they do not focus on community services.
  • Some courses do not contain the breadth of core content required to prepare graduates for practice e.g., graduate certificates and graduate diplomas. These qualifications must follow a relevant undergraduate or additional related qualification, otherwise they will not be considered sufficient.
  • ACWA will not accept qualifications which are unduly short. Unduly short qualifications do not provide students with sufficient time to gain the required skills and knowledge.
RPL policy

Some students use their prior work experience to gain recognition of prior learning (RPL) towards their qualification. ACWA only accepts up to 40% RPL otherwise a qualification will not be recognised.

Application process

Please submit the online form via the link at the bottom of this page. You will need to upload documentation (see the document checklist below).

The standard fee is $300.

A discounted fee of $100 is available to recent graduates of ACWA accredited courses (last 2 years), and student members upgrading.

Applications take between 2-4 weeks to process.

If you are found suitable you will receive 12 months of membership. You will be asked to renew after this period.

Your profile will also be added to our member register. This register is designed to help people verify your professional standing – it is not a service directory. None of your contact information will be included. However, you can opt out of the register by emailing


If you are pay the standard fee and are found unsuitable or withdraw, you will receive a $200 refund. You can also request an appeal or review. Read the Appeal-and-review-policy carefully before submitting a request: Appeal-or-review-form-membership.

Document checklist

You will need to upload supporting documents to the form. Please note we cannot accept blurry or cropped scans/photos.

Please note: qualification documents must be certified as a true copy of an original document by a recognised person (eg. Justice of the Peace). Police stations, pharmacies and post offices typically offer a certification service. We can accept copies downloaded from an official education portal (e.g. My eQuals) but only if they are digitally certified.

  • Certified copy of qualification certificate (or letter of completion). This is the document that shows that the qualification has been awarded and the date of completion.
  • Certified copy of transcripts of results. This is the document that shows the subjects studied and the results for each unit.
  • If applicable, certified copy of credit/RPL transcript for over 25% RPL
Industry experience
  • If applicable, resume with 2 referees
  • If applicable, position description for most recent industry experience
Other supporting documents