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In Australia's mental health world, counsellors play a vital role in society. People in the modern age lead complex lives that cause trauma, stress and anxiety - the kind that requires a professional counsellor to resolve. However, while a good counselling course will help you join and thrive in the industry, it also offers many personal benefits.

In this article, we look at the kinds of roles counsellors can do, the qualifications in counselling available to get you there and how the skills learnt can help you professionally and personally. First, let’s take a closer look at the counselling industry in Oz.

What’s it Like Being a Counsellor In Australia?

That depends on your speciality area and the setting where you offer your services. It can be a challenging job, but also advantageous, no matter the sector, and believe us when we tell you that you can take many career options.

As you’ll learn by taking our Counselling Courses, whether working in your private practice or a paid role, you’ll use your communication skills during counselling sessions to effect positive change in your client'’ lives.

You could choose to be working in:

  • Case management in community services
  • Mental health & crisis counselling
  • Family or relationship counselling
  • Drug & alcohol counselling services
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • School Counsellor services
    Young people counselling
  • A psychotherapists role
  • Healthcare counselling
  • Human resources
  • Career counselling

In the counselling field, you can go in pretty much any direction you want to, and with an average salary of $95k per year (and more in certain sectors), there’s much on offer to ambitious Australians. The question is, what entry-level qualifications in counselling can get you there?

Qualifications in Counselling

To begin with, you’ll need to have the right skill set to work in counselling, which means you’ll be good at active listening, be interested in people and how to help them and have good conflict resolution skills. You’ll also need a keen interest in self-care and personal development.

Regarding full-time learning, the first option you have in the counselling field is to take a bachelor’s degree, which is a 3-year undergraduate option available at various universities across Australia.

A Range of Degree Options Exist

This option will allow you to work as a registered and fully-qualified counsellor and offers important practical experience in a real-world work environment. After this, you can remain on campus for a postgraduate, graduate diploma or Master of Counselling degree.

This will also allow you to join the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), which gives you various benefits, such as credibility with your clients.

The TAFE Route is Another Option

Another way you can begin a career in counselling in Australia is by taking Technical & Further Education Training (TAFE for short). Enrolment doesn’t involve much in terms of entry requirements, only requiring that you have completed up to year 10 or 11 in high school and provides a shorter route to your counselling career.

TAFE counselling course options include:

  • Certificate IV in Counselling
  • CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling

Once you’ve passed your diploma (which can be taken full or part-time), you can apply to join the Australian Counselling Association (ACA), which offers you a range of benefits, such as credibility, representation when needed, and accountability via a national complaints mechanism.

How About a Highly Convenient Short Course Online?

If you’re too busy to dedicate large swathes of your time to an in-person training course, there is a more convenient (and affordable) way to upskill. Micro-credential courses like our Counselling Skills Micro-Credential allow you to gain new counselling skills quickly.

All that’s needed is a smartphone and a spare 10 minutes to take a module, meaning you can get your learning in, even when you’re super busy. Moreover, you get CPD points on your CV, and industry experts have created the course content.

How Qualifications in Counselling Help You Professionally

While you don’t technically need any qualifications to work as a counsellor in Australia, those working in the industry will typically need some training to gain credibility. As such, those people with the right counselling qualifications can enjoy a range of benefits.

  • Career opportunities - you’ll get access to more the higher you go in your training
  • Higher salaries - $95k is for entry-level counsellors, which goes up the more qualified you get
  • Professional development & growth - you become a more rounded pro
  • Enhanced counselling skills - obviously, you’ll get better at your job

Benefits of Counselling Qualifications in Your Personal Life

You also enjoy various personal benefits when you add advanced counselling skills. As such, you’ll get to enjoy the following:

  • Stronger relationships - you’ll gain skills that will help you in your relationships
  • You’ll be more empathetic - your ability to see the other person’s side will improve
  • Become a better listener - active listening will help you in many ways
  • Self-Confidence - as a counsellor, you’ll gain confidence from the people you help

As such, you don’t necessarily have to be trained to become a counsellor to benefit from a counselling course, as the skills are very transferrable to other areas in your life.

Access a Career in Counselling With OCA Short Courses Online

If you want to become a youth counsellor in NSW, a relationship counsellor in Brisbane or improve your counselling skills, our video-based, CPD-endorsed training offers a next-level learning experience that makes professional development easy. You may also want to check out our Aged Care, Counselling & Community Courses. What’s more, you get lifetime access, meaning you can log on and refresh your knowledge whenever you want to!

To get a good feel of what we mean by a ‘next-level’ experience, take a look at our Student Study Demo, in which you’ll see that every OCA student gets their personal expert mentor. However, if you’d like to see our full course library covering more than 20 different sectors, look around our website,

Alternatively, to speak to a team member about your unique learning needs, call 1300 611 404 or email [email protected]. As soon as we hear from you, we’ll do our utmost to reply immediately.

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