How to become a Counsellor

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 for 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.


Additional information

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

Duties & Tasks of a Counsellor

Counsellors:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Contributing information, understanding and advice on the learning and behaviour of students, especially those with special needs, and assisting parents and teachers in dealing with these needs.
  • Presenting alternative approaches and discussing potential for attitude and behaviour change.
  • Conducting counselling interviews with individuals, couples and family groups.
  • Providing information and resources to assist clients with job-seeking skills.
  • May work in a call centre.
  • Assessing client needs in relation to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Consulting with clients to develop rehabilitation plans taking account of vocational and social needs.
  • Working with clients on career, study and employment options by obtaining and examining information relevant to their abilities and needs.
  • Assisting the understanding and adjustment of attitudes, expectations and behaviour to develop more effective interpersonal and marital relationships.

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.


Specializations

Genetic Counsellor

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

Mediator

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mediator

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.

Family Counsellor
Marriage Counsellor
  • Average age
    Average age
    45 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    77% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    41 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,584
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    51% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    25,900 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 2.0%
    NSW: 30.4%
    NT: 1.5%
    QLD: 18.9%
    SA: 7.2%
    TAS: 2.0%
    VIC: 28.1%
    WA: 10.1%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.5%
    20-24: 4.9%
    25-34: 21.3%
    35-44: 22.3%
    45-54: 23.4%
    55-59: 11.6%
    60-64: 9.1%
    65 and Over: 6.9%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 13.4%
    Bachelor degree: 35.5%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 5.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 37.3%
    Year 10 and below: 1.7%
    Year 11: 0.9%
    Year 12: 5.6%
    Years 11 & 10: 3.7%
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