How to become a Counsellor in Australia: Counselling Qualifications and job opportunities

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At TrainSmart Australia, we aim to help people find meaningful careers through our high quality training and nationally recognised Certificate and Diploma courses. With 5 faculties, more than 30 courses, and a team of over 45 staff, you can study your course online or on-campus with confidence, knowing TrainSmart Australia's team of expert trainers and student support staff will be with you every step of the way.

Imagine yourself… when counselling a client… being able to motivate and empower them to discover their own inner wisdom and healing capacity…understanding the relationship between mind, body, spirit and its impact on ‘mental health’ and finding healing through the work you are doing.

Our CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling is a journey of self- discovery, providing deep insight into why you think and behave as you do and how to apply this to others. When you graduate, you will be well prepared to pursue a career in counselling – employed or self-employed – enjoying our strong industry reputation and linkage.

The Diploma is extremely applicable to people from all sorts of backgrounds. Whether you are seeking a fresh start in a rewarding profession; or want to acquire counselling skills as an adjunct to your core profession – such as teachers, nurses, ministers of religion, corrective services officers as well as working in hospitals or other places as administrators care-givers.  This course can enhance every role you will ever play in your life.

You’ll be able to incorporate a range of techniques:

  • Relaxation
  • Life Skills
  • Social relationships
  • Motivational Counselling
  • Cognitive behavioral counselling
  • Voice dialoguing
  • Trauma work
  • Narrative therapy


What technical & professional skills do I need to become a Counsellor?

Before working as a professional Counsellor, you will need to gain a sound level of knowledge around psychological theories and mental health problems.

There are several ways to become a fully qualified Counsellor. The  one-year Diploma is a good option for those working and no time to  attend University.

Substantial and further education and training is required to help people presenting with such a wide range of life issues, from practical questions about life transitions and personal growth to more severe problems like major depression and anxiety disorders. This is a qualification that keeps growing and expanding. Becoming a Counsellor means you can help people learn to overcome problems they face in their everyday lives including giving direction about their relationships, career problems or any other personal set-backs, as well as providing valuable mental health counselling to those in emotional need.

It is a great position to be in because as you train to be a worker in this profession, you might decide to become a Youth WorkerLife CoachMental Health Worker, or even specialise in Psychology.

The Diploma of Counselling meets the requirements you’ll need to apply for full registration as a Counsellor. As part of your course, you will also complete the amount of counselling practice hours and will be given supervision by a trained and accredited Counsellor.

What areas can I specialise in as a Counsellor?

There’s a wide range of specialisations that a Counsellor might choose to focus on, such as:

  • Relationship counselling
  • Crisis & trauma counselling
  • Counselling children & young people
  • Drug & alcohol counselling
  • Conflict resolution
  • Stress management
  • Career counselling or coaching
  • Grief & loss counselling

Considering moving in a slightly different direction? A counselling qualification can also prepare you to work in the community services sector  in a variety of roles. A vocational course such as the Diploma of Counselling (CHC51015) will introduce you to the field of counselling while qualifying you to work in a support role such as a Case Worker or Project Worker in community service organisations.

Counsellors may also choose to continue their training and education to become a Psychologist.

Should I become a Counsellor?

To be a successful Counsellor, you will need to have:

  • Good communication skills
  • Patience and empathy
  • Effective listening skills
  • A trustworthy nature
  • Passion for understanding human behaviours

When speaking to people seeking a career in counselling, SEEK Learning Consultant Sasha Jurac says that an innate care for others is what really shines through as their motivation.

“When I ask what has captivated them about counselling they will usually say it’s because they really want to help people,” she explains.


Counsellor Salary


What can you earn in this job role in Australia? The graph shows historical and projected (to 2020) employment levels (thousands) for this profession.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and projections to 2020.

Over the five years to November 2019, the number of job openings for people in this profession is expected be between 5001 and 10,000. This change in job openings for Counsellors can arise because of employment growth and/or people leaving the occupation.

Employment for workers in this area of heath, a medium-sized occupation, rose strongly in the past five years. This very strong employment growth trend is expected to continue to November 2020.

A full-time role in this profession works an average of 36.7 hours per week. This is below the 40.2 average weekly hours worked by full-time employees in all occupations. Also, in comparison to all occupations, only 48.5% of workers in this profession hold a full-time position, which is relatively low.

The good news is that many people in this profession continue to work well into their later years. In fact, over 9% of the current workforce is over age 65. 5.4% of workers are aged 20-24 years old and the median age of a Counsellor is 47 years.

From an overall perspective, age groups in this profession are split into two main groups: 25-34 years and 45-54 years, providing a diverse mix of youth and experience on the job depending on which area of counselling you are interested in. This is one profession where life experience is of high value.

The main employing industry of people who work in counselling in Australia is health care and social assistance, which hires more than half (56.9%) of all workers. This is followed by Education and Training (31.7%) and Public Administration and Safety (6.4%).

The New South Wales Department of Education implemented in 2015 sponsored training programsto attract and retain teachers in areas of need, including School Counselling. Based on the NSW Government’s 2015 Teaching Workforce Supply and Demand report, School Counsellors is one teaching category which lags behind. Source: HR System, March 2015.

TrainSmart Counselling courses are delivered online as well as face to face, giving you the flexibility to enrol any time of the year and study at your own pace.

Among other things, you will learn about the role of a counsellor, how to develop, facilitate and monitor all aspects of case management, and to recognise and respond to individuals at risk.

You will also learn how to work within a structured counselling framework and to apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills. Other skills include facilitating the counselling relationship and applying personality and development theories.

Your course includes comprehensive student support to help you throughout your study. Once you have finished your course, you will graduate with a government-accredited, nationally recognised qualification that can boost your chances of employment.


Hear what our students of Counselling have to say:

“I started a Diploma of Counselling in August last year after realising that I needed to do something more fulfilling with my life and to give something back to others.  This must be one of the best decisions that I have ever made.  Not only am I getting a qualification, life skills, but above all, this course is life changing and has made me think, feel and see people, life and relationships in a completely new light.  It makes you reflect on your life and realise why you are the person you are, as well as understanding your core beliefs and how they have been formed within you”  says Lorraine Maggs

“The course not only gives me the opportunity to gain knowledge in the counselling field but the confidence to apply for a position where I can use all the theory and practical knowledge.  Good news!  I have been successful in the application.” Anonymous.

Sheree Fitzpatrick wrote “The Diploma of Counselling has enriched my personal relationships by broadening my understanding of verbal and nonverbal communication. I am now able to connect with those that I care about on a deeper, more personal level


Think you’re ready to take the next steps?

If you have been thinking about working in counselling and know that you can personally make a difference to people’s lives,click here to view our course details and fill in your details in the contact form to receive a free consultation with our career consultant  .  Find your awesome day…. today.

Compiled by Valerie Monteiro


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