Certificate in Careers Counselling

Study career counselling at home, by distance education to work as a careers officer, employment officer, jobs counsellor or careers counsellor.

Course CodeVPS018
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

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Careers Counselling - Where will this course take you?

  • Work in a school as a careers counsellor
  • Work with unemployed to help them fulfill their potential
  • Work for a private employment agency
  • Work in a government support agency 
  • Work in personal development - help people discover their life path
  • Work in professional development
  • Work in the HR department of a large company

Careers Counselling is an important service that can help clarify an individual's career goals, and the steps they will need to take to get there.
The Certificate of Careers Counselling with ACS Distance Education is a comprehensive course that can be applied to a number of different settings. This course provides you with options to specialise in an area that most interests you.

All these options can be available to you when you study a Certificate of Careers Counselling with ACS Distance Education.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Careers Counselling.
 Careers Counselling BPS202
 Business Coaching BBS304
 Life Coaching BPS305
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 11 modules.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Educational Psychology BPS105
 Industrial Psychology BPS103
 Motivation VBS111
 Stress Management VPS100
 Adolescent Psychology BPS211
 Counselling Techniques BPS206
 Developmental Psychology BPS210
 Entrepreneurship BBS204
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301
 Psychopharmacology (Drugs & Psychology) BPS302

Note that each module in the Certificate in Careers Counselling is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.




Having empathy for other human beings (and animals) is an important skill for anyone working with others. Empathy is the ability to step into the shoes of another person, to imagine how they may be feeling. If we are not able to do that, it is hard to communicate well with others. We can never REALLY know what another person feels and experiences, but we can try to imagine how we would feel, how we think they would feel. We can only find out if we ask them and they tell us truthfully.  But will most people answer us truthfully?  They may not want to tell us how they truly feel? They may be scared we will judge them? They may not want to tell us the truth about how bad they feel?  How many times have you asked someone how they are, only to be told “I’m fine”, when obviously they are not fine? People will often respond in certain ways out of politeness or because they don’t want to divulge how they truly feel.

However, we should try to consider how they might feel.  Imagine a friend has lost her keys and breaks down in tears. If you sit there thinking “What a drama queen, it’s only her keys”, you might not fully appreciate why she is crying. What if she has to pick up her daughter from preschool in ten minutes and she needs her car keys? What if she doesn’t have a spare set of keys? What if the keys are on a sentimental key ring given to her by her mother? What if she has had a really bad day and this is the final straw? A simple example, but by just assuming she is overreacting, we are not really considering WHY she is acting the way she is. OK, there are some people who may cry about something like that, with no other reason, but we need to try to imagine why people feel the way they do.  So when working with others, in a counselling situation or just in our daily lives, we should really try to consider what they are feeling and perhaps why they might be behaving the way they do.

Showing respect to clients and people we deal with is important for successfully counselling and communicating with others.  If we are dismissive, disinterested or do not show respect, why would the person want to talk to us OR respect us?  It is not a good basis for communication. We can show our respect by listening to others, listening what they have to say, trying to understand what they are attempting to say, not being dismissive of what they say, and not putting them down.  All of these things will show a person that we are listening to them and are interested and respectful of what they have to say. We don’t have to agree with everything a person says to show respect, we just need to show that we are willing to listen to them, and what they have to say. We all have different points of view, but that doesn’t mean that WE are always right.

Related to respect is respecting people’s wishes. A client or another person may make a decision we don’t agree with. But it is THEIR decision and no matter what we think, they have the right to make that decision.  Now there are some amendments to this, obviously if a client or another person tells us that they are going to harm another person or themselves, we might have to take action about this, perhaps tell the police, call an ambulance, social services etc.  So we have to use our common sense and ethical standards when considering respecting other people’s wishes. But in general terms, we should respect them.



What is Involved in Providing Careers Guidance?

This is the process of helping a client identify the kind of work or field that most suits them. 

The basic question is "What vocation is this person most suited to?" The answers for this depend upon:

  • What they enjoy doing
  • What they are able to do
  • What they want to contribute and to whom
  • What they can and are willing to learn
  • How much time and effort they are willing or able to commit to developing their vocation
  • The current job-market and existing or anticipated need for their services.

While a client has come to you as an expert, your main role is to empower the client to make their own decisions.  You will, of course, discuss decisions the client and help them understand the likely consequences of their decisions, but in the end, your job is to support their decision making and their decisions. Make sure that you are helping the client develop his or her goals, not what you think their goals should be.

Careers/Vocational Planning


This part of your service refers to the process of establishing clear, realistic career goals and planning how to achieve them. It includes breaking those goals into achievable tasks that will take the client ever closer to the desired outcomes, though not necessarily in a straight line.

When you develop a plan, you need to:

Set goals and objectives  
Establish the outcomes you wish to achieve, first in a broad sense (goals) and then more specifically, in measurable terms (objectives).  For example, a goal may be “to return to work after a maternity leave”. An objective might be “to attend a refresher course”

Estimate and anticipate current and future events & situations …assumptions made become the framework for the career plan

Create an action plan
First, identify your client’s priorities. List all tasks that have to be done to achieve each of the objectives. Then, identify priorities: most important and urgent things first, then most important but less urgent, and so on. For example, for the objective above – “to attend a refresher course”, this may involve the client researching local refresher courses, finding out costs, finding out about child care whilst she attends the course and so on. Once the list of tasks is determined, these should be prioritised. For example, she may sort out childcare first, then find that the course doesn’t run at a time she can access that childcare.   

Develop a Timetable  
After establishing a realistic time frame for the project, and based on the client’s priorities, encourage them to plan to carry out all required activities within the allotted time. Always allow time for contingencies in the timetable.

Setting Goals
First, help the client focus on clear goals, then plan. To have a successful career, a person must match their aspirations to their capabilities, and pursue a series of well thought out and achievable goals. Encourage the client to take a step by step approach to their career. Explain the importance of developing a plan of action, even though it may be changed later.

For a client to formulate appropriate goals, he/she first needs to be aware of the possibilities. The Careers Counsellor can play a big role in broadening the client’s awareness of possibilities. As a counsellor your job should be to reveal possibilities without bias.  Test the client’s understanding of different options, and encourage an unbiased consideration of ALL possibilities by the client.

At this stage, do not attempt to rush the client toward any particular option. Instead, encourage the client to take the time to carefully consider his or her goals, and to evaluate them. A good goal is realistic, achievable, and something the client is willing to commit to.

Job Seeking Support

This service refers to the process of identifying potential or existing positions in industry that are consistent with the person’s career goals. Or the process of finding a position that enables them to meet their living needs as they pursue their career goals. Then taking steps to obtain one of those positions.

Only after the goals have been identified and planning has been carried out to guide the client through the career maze should the client be encouraged to begin the job-seeking process.  This does not mean that clients must make life-long goal and planning decisions, but that they have a working road map for pursuing currently relevant career options.  To proceed without this map means that the client’s career will be based on inconsistent, unfocused, spontaneous and haphazard decisions.

Also, all the research confirms that those people who have the clearest goals and are most persistent and focused in pursuing them are most likely to succeed, even when they lack other assets such as education, experience or a supportive job market.

Therefore, goal-setting and planning skills that will be so valuable to a client in all areas of his or her life, including future career moves. Clients who have not developed them will be at a distinct disadvantage.

How This Course Could Help You

This course is a more complete course than our module in Careers Counselling and provides those wishing to work in this field with a more thorough foundation by exploring related areas of interest. In addition to helping match people to suitable career paths this certificate provides students with skills in business and life coaching which adds to their overall understanding of people and work. A choice of electives allows students to decide how they wish to round out their studies.

This course will be of most value to people working in:

  • Careers guidance
  • Employment offices
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Personnel management  
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human resources


Learn from the professionals!
  • Self paced distance education course
  • Start any time, study anywhere, choose elective modules to differentiate your skill set from other graduates


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Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Jacinda Cole

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo
Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE. Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc. 25 years industry experience in writing,
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