Who can become a counsellor?
Anyone who is good at listening and has a passion for the welfare of others can become a counsellor.
Counsellors come from a wide range of fields. Some have a background in caring professions such as aged care or nursing, but others move into counselling from unrelated fields like retail or manufacturing.
What do counsellors do?
Counsellors help people to overcome problems so that they can lead healthier happier lives. They do this by developing a trusting relationship with their clients through listening non-judgementally to their stories. Counsellors enable their clients to explore their issues and come up with their own solutions.
Some things counsellors deal with include relationship problems, stress, life crises, drug and alcohol problems, anger and emotional difficulties, trauma, and mild forms of anxiety and depression.
How do people become counsellors?
The way things currently stand, you don't actually need counselling qualifications to be a counsellor in private practice in Australia. However, most counsellors do hold qualifications. The better qualified you are, the better the service you will be able to provide for your clients.
We advocate studying to at least certificate level. But we also offer higher counselling qualifications.
What about Government jobs?
If you want to work as a counsellor in public roles then you may be asked for a government accredited qualification. These are offered through TAFE or universities. Government positions include roles such as hospital counsellor and school counsellor. But some schools and hospitals are private and may employ the services of privately educated counsellors.
What about membership of professional bodies?
Although you don't necessarily need specific qualifications to practice as a counsellor, if you want to become a member of a professional body then they may ask for specific qualifications. Membership adds to your credibility as a counsellor and some clients might ask you about it. Membership has other benefits too such as raising your profile, helping to get you work, and help with insurance.
Why not get in touch with the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) or the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) to see what they recommend?
How do I get started with ACS Distance Education?
We have a range of study options. If you are unsure, you could always start of with a single 100 hour module. If that goes well you can upgrade to a certificate or higher qualification later.
Alternatively, you could enrol in a larger course from the outset. As stated above, a certificate is probably the minimum level of qualification you should be aiming at for counselling. But as with any other health service, the onus is on the practitioner to continually upgrade and improve upon their skills.
Take a look at our Proficiency Award 3 in Counselling and Psychology.