Can I be a Counsellor without a degree?

Where a Diploma of Counselling or Diploma of Mental Health can take your career

Counsellors and Mental Health professionals empower their clients to work through difficult personal (or family, financial, relationship, addiction) issues.

Counselling is a self-regulating profession. That means strictly speaking you do not need a qualification to call yourself a Counsellor. However, a Counsellor without qualifications cannot be registered by professional bodies and is therefore open to all kinds of liability and legal trouble.

It’s not only unethical, but downright dangerous for clients and the fraudster. Let’s look at this in more detail.

Counsellors in Australia

There are many avenues through which Counsellors and Mental Health professionals improve lives:

  • Therapy
  • Peer support
  • Community outreach programs
  • Welfare services
  • Rehabilitation
  • Family support

Only a few clinical roles require a Bachelor of Counselling or Bachelor of Psychology. If you are interested in Counselling but not sure you want to practice as a Counsellor then a Diploma of Counselling or Diploma of Mental Health can have you qualified in 1/3 the time, at a fraction of the cost.

Diploma of Counselling vs Bachelor of Counselling: What’s the difference?

Diploma of Counselling

  • 1-year course
  • Rolling intake
  • Learn online
  • Access to state-of-the-art Purpose Counselling Studio
  • $15,750 maximum tuition fees with loans available

After completing a Diploma of Counselling, you are on your way to a promising Mental Health career. You can expect a starting salary of around $60-65,000 in a role like:

  • Community Services Worker
  • Family Support Worker
  • Case Worker
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Youth Worker
  • Welfare Worker

Alternatively, you might look into a Diploma of Mental Health which includes 160 hours of work placement and readies you for a career in Mental Health Worker, Occupational Therapist or Clinical Psychology.

Bachelor of Counselling

  • 3-year course
  • Annual intake (normally February)
  • Learn in classrooms and/or online
  • $53,760 estimated minimum course fees

With a Bachelor of Counselling, you can work towards becoming a registered Counsellor. You can eventually expect an average salary of around $1,584 per week, working in roles like:

  • Counsellor
  • Rehabilitation Counsellor
  • Relationship Counsellor
  • Telehealth Counsellor

Qualification or registration?

While you don’t necessarily need a qualification to call yourself a Counsellor, you do need one to become a registered member of peak bodies like the Australian Counselling Association (ACA), Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and Australian Register of Counsellors & Psychotherapists (ARCAP).

Registration provides representation, access to cheaper professional insurance, training, and importantly an acknowledgement that their experience meets industry standards.

What’s best for me?

Some TrainSmart Australia Diploma of Counselling and Diploma of Mental Health graduates choose to further their studies at university, while many enter the workforce in roles related to Counselling and Mental Health support.

Whichever path you choose, TrainSmart Australia is the best first step to a successful career in Counselling. Contact us to request course materials or read more about our courses before submitting your application online.

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Ready to learn more?

If you liked this blog post, you’ll love our courses.