Proficiency Award 2 in Psychology

A broad foundation in behavioural science. With lots of elective options, a unique opportunity to develop specialised knowledge to set you apart and provide an edge over competing professionals.

Course CodeVPS010
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationProficiency Award 2

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Learn more about human behaviour and the mind ...

Psychology is the study of human and animal behaviour and mental processes. Given the scope of psychology, psychologists themselves usually specialise in particular areas of work. 

This course is ideal for you if you would like to: 

  • learn and understand the human mind
  • develop skills for dealing with people - at home, work, or play
  • develop your knowledge of psychology for many different careers
  • enhance your workplace skills in management, communications, teaching, or counselling  
With an appropriate combination of elective modules, you can cultivate skills to work in various industries.

Examples include:   

  • Life Coaching
  • Marketing
  • Human Resource Management
  • Education
  • Social Welfare
  • Leisure Services
  • Counselling
  • Industrial Relations

You might be asking yourself questions like:

  • How well does the career I’m aiming for fit my personality?
  • What training or education opportunities exist to help me reach my goals?
  • What is the average salary can expect to earn once working?
  • What kind of things will I be doing in the job on a daily basis?
  • Will I cope with the responsibilities and challenges of the job?
  • Will I have the motivation to complete this course?  

What makes the ACS Proficiency Award unique?
The proficiency awards offer a tiered award system - so you don't have to wait until the end of your qualification to have an award.

How does that work?
Once you have completed 6 modules, you can receive an ACS Certificate. Complete 8(plus 100hrs work experience), and receive an ACS Advanced Certificate. Complete 10 and receive a ACS Proficiency Award 1. Complete 14 (plus 100hrs work experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 2. Complete 20 modules (plus 100hrs work experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 3. Complete 24 modules (plus 100hrs Work Experience) and receive an ACS Proficiency Award 4.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Proficiency Award 2 in Psychology.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Child Psychology BPS104
 Industrial Psychology BPS103
 Introduction To Psychology BPS101
 Psychology & Counselling BPS102
 Research Project I BGN102
 Starting A Small Business VBS101
 Counselling Techniques BPS206
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 7 of the following 35 modules.
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
 Educational Psychology BPS105
 Food Coaching VRE110
 Leadership BBS110
 Marketing Psychology BPS107
 Motivation VBS111
 Play Leadership VRE101
 Sports Coaching VRE109
 Sports Psychology BPS106
 Stress Management VPS100
 Workshop I BGN103
 Adolescent Psychology BPS211
 Aged Care and Counselling BPS212
 Biopsychology II BPS204
 Child and Adolescent Mental Health BPS214
 Conflict Management BPS201
 Developmental Psychology BPS210
 Developmental, Learning and Behavioural Disorders in Children and Adolescents BPS215
 Ethics BPS217
 Family Counselling BPS213
 Grief Counselling BPS209
 Managing Mental Health in Adults BPS216
 Relationships & Communication Counselling BPS208
 Social Psychology I BPS205
 Therapeutic Nutrition BRE211
 Abnormal Psychology BPS307
 Criminal Psychology BPS309
 Crisis Counselling BPS304
 Life Coaching BPS305
 Multi Cultural Awareness BPS303
 Neuropsychology BPS306
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301
 Psychological Assessment BPS308
 Psychopharmacology (Drugs & Psychology) BPS302

Note that each module in the Proficiency Award 2 in Psychology is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What is your future in psychology ?

Do not confine your thinking to what area you will find work in. Your thoughts and preferences may change with experience.

Broaden your perspective and consider all of the options that are available to you.

Don’t limit your own opportunities – keep an open mind.

Employment options on completion of this course ..

  • Research Assistant
  • Youth worker
  • Writer
  • Social services coordinator
  • Case worker
  • Public relations agent
  • Police officer
  • Probation/parole officer
  • Life coach
  • Counsellor – grief, rehabilitation, addictions (substance abuse), academic/career, crisis, career 
  • Mental health coordinator
  • Family and marriage therapist
  • Recruitment/employment consultant
  • Community counsellor
  • Corrections treatment specialist
  • Art or music therapist
  • Aged care worker

Future career options or to support those already working professionally as…

  • Social worker
  • Psychology professor/lecturer
  • School teacher
  • Psychologist – sports, clinical, forensic, social, military, aviation, industrial, criminal, educational, developmental, comparative, child
  • Psychiatrist or psychiatrist aide
  • General practitioner (GP)
  • Child care worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Mental health nurse
  • Lawyer
  • Human resources manager

What can psychology teach you?

  • Why we act differently when we are in groups and when we are alone
  • How to improve a person's motivation and performance
  • How we develop certain patterns of thought and behaviour, and how to change negative patterns
  • How we learn from the moment we are born
  • How our biological development and environmental conditions affect our thinking
  • How to help children develop desirable behaviours......and that's only the beginning!
  • This course allows for flexible learning through home study, leading to both broad based and "specialist" knowledge and skills in psychology, behavioural management and counselling.

Explore all of your options. Only a small percentage of psychology graduates continue to become professional psychologists. There are many different areas of psychology, such as educational psychology, occupational psychology, criminological and legal psychology, psychology teaching and research. Each of these fields have different careers, pay and prospects within them. Some offer full time work, others only part time. Some offer consultancy and freelance work.

Graduates of this course have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from each other, and from graduates of traditional psychology degrees, by choosing highly practical elective modules that have application in industry, and are in demand in the workplace.

The most common element of work within psychology is problem solving. This may be done as part of a team with other professionals.

Students develop skills in   

  • problem solving
  • objective data gathering
  • skills in statistical analysis & interpreting data
  • interviewing
  • experimental design
  • considering evidence
  • communication

Example potential employment opportunity: Youth Worker

Youth work is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of different jobs working with youths to help develop their educational, social and personal skills. There are many different avenues in this line of work, but the most important aspect is that you enjoy working with young people.

Some job possibilities include working in residential care with children under the guardianship of the Department of Child Safety, working with homeless youths in homeless shelters, working for programs that help disengaged youths engage in some form of education or training, working with youth groups through churches, working in schools as support staff for students, working in group situations to help youths with their personal development, leading outdoor activities to challenge youths… the list goes on.  The important thing to consider here is what experiences and talents do you have that you can share with young people? Use this to guide your decision as to what area of youth work you would like to work in.


There are tremendous opportunities for becoming involved with youth work. There are many programs and organisations that receive government funding and are therefore able to provide employment opportunities. There are also private organisations that offer employment opportunities. Many organisations will make use of volunteers. Whilst this may not be the career you had envisaged for yourself, it may be an excellent place to start developing skills and figuring out if this is the right job for you. Sometimes people embark in roles in youth work and then go on to undertake further study to develop careers in similar fields e.g. child psychologist.

Within organisations that deliver youth services, there are usually several types of roles, and as you gain experience you may progress into different types of roles. Central to youth work is obviously the staff members who interact with the youths. There is usually also a team leader or senior staff member who is also involved with working directly with the young people, but they may also have additional responsibilities such as managing rosters, designing programs, and overseeing the delivery of the service.

Organisations will also often have a case manager, who looks after more of the administration aspects of the young people who are engaged in the program. They will monitor the young people’s progress, and be involved in important decisions in regards to the young person’s placement in the program. They may interact with the young people, but less frequently than other workers. In larger organisations there may also be higher management that oversees the running of the service from a broader perspective.

You can see that there is scope for career advancement within an organisation, as well as salary advancement. Front-line staff members are generally paid less than management staff, however they may have bonuses such as casual loading, or higher rates of pay for weekend, evening, overnight and early morning shifts. 

Risks and Challenges
One of the main challenges of youth work is the emotional and stressful nature of the work. You will generally be working with young people who are going through difficult times. The difficulties may range from fairly mild to incredibly traumatic. This can result in a young person who is very stressed and difficult to deal with – potentially being rude, non-compliant and/or aggressive towards the youth worker. This can be challenging and stressful for the youth worker. Youth workers can also experience secondary traumatic stress or vicarious trauma from caring for people who have been through trauma. Burnout is also common as a result of excessive demand of energy and resources, often with limited or unmeasurable results.  Saying that, there are many different types of youth work, so make sure you find one that suits you.

The thing to be aware of is the signs of burnout, secondary stress, and vicarious trauma, (some symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, stress, anxiety, decrease of pleasure, and social withdrawal) and make sure you take appropriate steps to look after yourself, such as time off, counselling, supervision, self-care (massage, yoga and so on), education and training.

How to become a Youth Worker
There are many different routes to become a youth worker, and it will usually come down to a combination of your personality and your skills and knowledge. Organisations will often look for some form of education in counselling, youth work, psychology, social work, or similar. Experience is also highly regarded, so while you are studying or looking for work it is a good idea to volunteer or undertake work experience so you can demonstrate your ability to work in this area. Starting work in a related job, even if it is not the job that you are aiming for will help to build your experience to be able to get the job that you desire. Because youth work relies heavily on interpersonal skills, your personality and ability to communicate to young people will affect your selection for work. Youth work also often involves introducing young people to activities such as sports, gardening, music, camping, and so on, so experience and abilities in areas outside of youth work are also highly valued. 

ACS Distance Education Student Testimonial

“The notes and study tools encourage me to conduct research to develop my knowledge of components in my course. It is very worthwhile. [My tutor] gives me good feedback and food for thought with her comments and sometimes elaborates on my answers – I really value her input”.

Larissa Kalnins, Australia - Psychology & Counselling Student

So you're interested in studying psychology and working with people ... have a chat now with one of our psychology academics who can tell you more about psychological health and studying with us. Or you could enrol and get started today and take yourself on a new path! 

This course could lead to: 

  • employment in any field working with people  
  • a foundation to working in the expansive field of psychology - have you already thought of an exciting new career? 
  • a first step to further education in psychology and counselling 
  • a basis for starting your business in well-being and mental health - maybe you dream of running a counselling, education or advisory service? 
  • professional development opportunities and networking with other like-minded professionals...




Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching
Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching

ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council
ACS is recognised by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council

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Miriam ter Borg

Youth Worker, Tutor, Author and Natural Therapist. Miriam was previously an Outdoor Pursuits Instructor, Youth Worker, Surfing College Program Coordinator, Massage Therapist, Business Owner/Manager. Miriam's qualifications include B.Sc.(Psych), DipRem.M
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
Gavin Cole

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Gavin has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. He has co-authored several psychology text books and many course
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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