Professional Certificate in Pain Sciences

This two course professional certificate is designed for qualified health professionals seeking an opportunity to advance their understanding and skills in the assessment and management of pain. The courses will cover pain models, mechanisms and contributors to pain, clinical assessment and management of pain, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to pain management. 

Who should attend?

This certificate is open to health professionals who have clinical experience with patients in pain. Previous completion of undergraduate courses in anatomy, physiology and neuroscience is assumed.
The professional certificate is composed of two pain-specific courses, Pain Theory and Science and Pain Assessment, Rehabilitation and Management.

Pain Theory and Science

This course provides the background knowledge that guides and rationalises the assessment and management of people in pain. It introduces an applied overview of pain theory, covers important pain–related terminology and explains the biological, psychological and social contributors to pain. It also provides an overview of common pain states and integrates the principles of the pain sciences into clinical decision making frameworks.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to develop an advanced understanding of the biological and psychosocial contributors to the pain experience and the ability to recognise important clinical pain states.

Course content

Current models for the clinical engagement of pain; the biopsychosocial model of pain; working pain definitions; pain mechanisms and contributors; integration of the pain sciences into clinical reasoning models; pain deconstruction into pathobiological mechanisms; clinical pain states.

Course outcomes

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the biological and psychosocial factors that contribute to pain.
  2. Synthesise theoretical models of pain to explain its complexity from a biopsychosocial perspective.
  3. Describe the functions of nociceptive, immune, autonomic, neuroendocrine and motor systems in pain.
  4. Identify clinical signs and symptoms that are associated with pain-related mechanisms
  5. Apply pain sciences principles to the assessment and management of people with pain.
  6. Recognise and differentiate important clinical pain states. 


Pain Theory and Science

Test – 30 minutes

Test – 60 minutes

Assignment – 2000 words

Pain Assessment, Rehabilitation and Management

This course focuses on the application of pain assessment and management strategies. It covers clinical reasoning, the use of assessment/screening tools, effective communication strategies and referral pathways. It provides an overview of physiotherapy, pharmacological, psychosocial, medical and inter-disciplinary management strategies. In relation to the individual reasoning process in managing persistent pain in a primary care setting, specific tuition on techniques including pain education, graded activity and exposure in relation to the client’s pain experience –incorporating consideration of manual and exercise therapy, motivational strategies and management planning will be delivered within the content of this course.

The overarching intent of Pain Assessment, Rehabilitation and Management is that the student is able to apply the knowledge gained in Pain Theory and Science and reflect on their own clinical expertise and enrich their clinical reasoning in the assessment and management of the client with pain. Whether the client presents with acute, subacute or persistent pain – application of pain science knowledge needs to take place in a clinical context in order to be relevant to the client. This course aims to assess the student’s integration of modern pain science knowledge into their clinical practice.

Considering the above statement is it logical that before commencing this course, certificate students must have successfully completed the course in Pain Theory and Science.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to provide students with the advanced theory and associated clinical assessment and management skills for patients with chronic pain states, and patients at risk of progressing to chronicity, within a multidisciplinary biopsychosocial framework.

Course content

Psychological, societal and biological risk factors for developing chronic pain; pain and disability assessment tools; pain education; cognitive behavioural therapy, pharmacotherapy, group therapy and multidisciplinary pain clinic management strategies; referral pathways and interdisciplinary collaboration; reporting and communication strategies for patients with chronic pain; minimizing risk factors for prolonged pain and disability.

Course outcomes

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Apply the Biopsychosocial approach and the various psychological and neurobiological models which underpin the approach.
  2. Demonstrate an appropriate assessment of a patient with chronic pain.
  3. Differentiate the contributing factors (biological and psychosocial) that influence pain behaviours and contribute to the chronicity of pain in a series of clinical examples. Interpret the significance of these findings to the management of patients.
  4. Monitor pain, disability and recovery using valid, reliable and professionally accepted outcome measures.
  5. Formulate an appropriate management plan, based on pathobiological mechanisms, within a multidisciplinary framework. Incorporate chronic pain management strategies across gender, age, culture, disease and various groups in society into clinical practice.
  6. Explain the pathobiological mechanisms responsible for pain to a layperson using jargon-free language.
  7. Effectively communicate with patients and other personnel within the health care profession with respect to prevention of chronic pain and the assessment and management of people with chronic pain.


Pain Assessment, Rehabilitation and Management

Practical Examination – 20 minutes

Presentation – 20 minutes

Online Activities – 3000 words

Course delivery

The courses are conducted entirely online with content delivered via a combination of webinars, modules, tutorials, discussion forums and readings. While the webinars and tutorials are recorded to enable flexibility, we strongly encourage students to attend all sessions where possible.

Pain Theory and Science is a 16 week course which commences Monday 29th June 2020 (course homepage available approximately 4 weeks prior and includes preparatory content).

Pain Assessment, Rehabilitation and Management is a 14 week course which commences Monday 1st March 2021.


Pain Theory and Science                                               AU$2200.00

Pain Assessment, Rehabilitation and Management          AU$2200.00

Total cost of Professional Certificate is                           AU$4400.00

How to enrol

Download the registration form

Enrolments close:

Pain Theory and Science                                               1st June 2020

Pain Assessment, Rehabilitation and Management          1st February 2021

Further information

For more course information and course related queries please contact the School of Health Sciences

Download frequently asked questions