How to become a counsellor

Discover how to become a counsellor in Australia. Help people navigate life’s challenges with the right coping strategies.

Begin your counselling career

  1. Complete a Diploma of Counselling or a relevant undergraduate counselling degree. You can study your counselling course online. 
  2. Develop your knowledge even further by earning a postgraduate degree in counselling or mental health. 
  3. Apply for registration with the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) or the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) to be listed on the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (ARCAP).
  4. Gain relevant work experience in an industry setting or through volunteer roles.
  5. Meet ongoing professional development requirements as determined by your industry registration (25 hours a year for ACA members and 20 hours a year for PACFA members). Abide by the ethical guidelines of the profession.
 

What does a counsellor do?

Counsellors support people facing all sorts of personal issues, including stress, career changes and divorce. Many counsellors choose to specialise in a single area, like grief and trauma, family violence or First Nations youth counselling.

After earning your qualification and becoming  accredited, you’ll be able to teach clients the self-management skills they need to make positive life changes. 

Duties and tasks

  • Meet with families, couples and individuals to discuss the issues they’re facing
  • Identify effective strategies that will help clients address their challenges and set achievable goals
  • Facilitate group counselling sessions or mediate conflict resolutions
  • Refer clients to outside healthcare services and liaise with other healthcare professionals 

 

Industry bodies

Australian Community Counselling Association (ACCA)

ACCA supports professions that promote wellbeing services within the community. Through the organisation, members can earn clinical supervision experience and access professional development courses.

Australian Counselling Association (ACA)

With over 9,000 members, ACA is Australia’s largest industry body for counsellors and psychotherapists. The not-for-profit connects its members with training, professional development and employment opportunities.  

Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (ARCAP)

Established by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia and the Australian Counselling Association, ARCAP is an independent register of qualified counsellors and psychotherapists.

Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)

PACFA is an industry-leading association for counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia. Practising members operate within PACFA’s ethical standards and demonstrate an approved level of training, experience and competence.

 

Counselling jobs

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander counsellor 
  • Alcohol and other drugs (AOD) counsellor
  • Art therapist
  • Community support officer
  • Education counsellor
  • Family and marriage counsellor
  • Guidance officer
  • Mental health support worker
  • Refugee counsellor
  • Rehabilitation counsellor
  • Sexual assault counsellor
  • Student counsellor
  • Suicide and grief counsellor
  • Telephone counsellor

Discover online counselling courses

Undergraduate TAS-COU-DIP-2023

Diploma of Counselling

Undergraduate ECU-COU-DEG-2023

Bachelor of Counselling

Postgraduate TAS-COU-GDI-2023

Graduate Diploma in Counselling

Discover online counselling subjects

Undergraduate SWI-PSY20001-2022

Theories of Counselling

Undergraduate USA-BEHL1026-2023

Counselling Concepts

Undergraduate MAQ-PSYX2201-2023

Counselling Approaches and Principles

Related degrees

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