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.

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. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

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Duties & Tasks of a Counsellor

Counsellors may perform the following tasks:

  • work with clients to find solutions to emotional, mental and lifestyle problems
  • act as facilitators in group sessions
  • work with other professionals such as medical practitioners, psychologists and social workers as part of a health management team
  • act as intermediaries in conflict-resolution.

Employment Opportunities for a Counsellor

Many counsellors are self-employed in their own counselling practices. Counsellors may also be employed by community service organisations, hospitals, schools, clinics and government departments. Large corporations and organisations often employ counsellors who specialise in workplace or organisational counselling. Competition is strong for available work.


Drug and Alcohol Counsellor

A drug and alcohol counsellor provides support and treatment for people with drug and alcohol dependency problems and develops strategies that assist them to set goals and affect and maintain change. They also provide community education.

Genetic Counsellor

A genetic counsellor provides support to individuals, couples and families by helping them understand the contribution of genetics to specific health conditions.


A mediator acts as a neutral third party that helps people to manage disputes and resolve conflict, as well as communicate with each other to achieve agreeable outcomes where appropriate. Mediators provide support to people in decision-making processes, which may include providing expert information and advice.

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