How to become a Counsellor

Counsellors assist people to identify and define their emotional issues and better understand themselves by explaining options, setting goals, providing therapy and helping them to take action. Counsellors may specialise in working with a particular group, such as people from non-English-speaking backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or single parents. Alternatively, they may specialise in a service area such as health, drug and alcohol problems, accommodation, relationships, employment, grief and loss, stress management, child development or abuse issues.

Personal requirements of a Counsellor

  • Empathetic and caring
  • Good communication and listening skills
  • Maturity

Education & Training for a Counsellor

You can work as a counsellor without formal qualifications. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in counselling. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a counsellor by completing a degree in counselling, psychology or a related field. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For further details, visit

Related courses

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:

very strong growth

Employment by state:

ACT 2.5%

NSW 39.7%

NT 1.5%

QLD 17.5%

SA 7.2%

TAS 2.1%

VIC 19.2%

WA 10.3%

Hours worked:




Gender split:

Male 21.3%

Female 78.7%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 0%

Not completed Year 12: 6.3%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 8.4%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 3.8%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 28.5%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 26.8%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 26.4%

Age bracket:

Below 35 years: 21.7%

Above 35 years: 78.3%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
Students and graduates may be eligible for membership of the Australian Counselling Association. Visit their website for more information.
Related careers